As John Hamilton reported, alleged California highway shooter Byron Williams - who reportedly told investigators that "his intention was to start a revolution by traveling to San Francisco and killing people of importance at the Tides Foundation and the ACLU" - repeatedly assailed financier George Soros. Fox News host Glenn Beck, whose show Williams touted, has also attacked "evil" Soros and Tides, often weaving them into his conspiracy theories.
Beck frequently attacked Tides and Soros
Tides Foundation and Soros frequently mentioned by Beck. From the first day of Beck's Fox News program to July 18, the day Williams was arrested, the Tides Foundation has been mentioned on 29 editions of his show. In most of those instances, Beck attacked Tides, often weaving the organization into his conspiracy theories. Two of those mentions occurred during the week before Williams' shootout, and three occurred during June -- the month of programming Williams highlighted to journalist John Hamilton. Since the start of his Fox News program to July 18, "Soros" has been mentioned on 85 programs - nine times in June alone, according to a Nexis search.
In vilifying Soros, Beck has claimed that the Tides Foundation acts as a vehicle for Soros' ruinous plans to enact an extremist left-wing agenda.
Following Williams' arrest, Beck continued to discuss and vilify Tides and Soros. For instance:
- On the July 26 edition of his radio program, Beck acknowledged his role in "turn[ing] the light of day" on Tides by putting it on his blackboard.
- During the July 29 edition of his Fox News program, Beck vilified Tides by linking the group to his Weather Underground conspiracy theory.
- On the July 29 edition of his radio program, Beck said, "I stand by" my attacks on Tides while denying being "responsible" for Williams' planned attack.
- On the August 13 edition of his radio program, Beck said Tides is "made specifically to launder the money."
- On the August 17 edition of his radio program, Beck said that Soros and Tides "got the left to all stand together, all the people that hate America."
- On the September 28 radio program, Beck warned Tides: "I'm coming for ya on the battlefield of ideas."
- On the September 28 edition of his Fox News program, Beck said, "Soros and the Tides Foundation have been trying to indoctrinate our kids."
- On the October 6 edition of his Fox News program, Beck advanced former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's anti-Semitic claim that Soros was "helped trigger the economic meltdown" of Southeast Asian currencies in 1997, which Mahathir had reportedly suggested was part of a Jewish "agenda." In fact, Soros and other hedge funds were found not to be primarily responsible for the currency crisis, and Mahathir later retracted the claim.
Beck vilifies "evil" Soros
Beck ties Soros to his $2 billion Brazilian oil conspiracy. On his June 17 Fox News show, Beck pushed a conspiracy theory that the Obama administration's drilling moratorium is part of a plot to enrich Soros through increased oil drilling in Brazil. Beck said that if "your job isn't more secure and your energy isn't cheaper, who wins? Because you're not. Who does? Well, the usual suspects." Beck mentioned drilling offshore in Brazil and claimed:
Again, George Soros has nothing to gain from this. He's just telling the president what to do through the Center for American Progress. The Soros Fund Management LLC, I guess we should tell you this, holds a stake in Petrobas [sic], that is the oil company of Brazil, in the amount of $900 million as of December 31, 2009. Petrobas, theBrazilian oil company that the Obama administration -- get this -- the Obamaadministration is now lending $2 billion to. You ready? Wait for it. What is the $2 billion going for? To perform offshore drilling in Brazil.
On June 21, Beck again questioned whether Soros "knew that the administration would be making a $2 billion preliminary commitment" to Petrobras "just days after he strengthened his investment. Isn't that weird?" Beck further said that "in a completely unrelated story, BP has the oil spill," later saying, "Then Obama suspends the deepwater drilling at 1,500 meters. He says 'Hey, hey, that's dangerous! Fifteen hundred meters, that's crazy.' Petrobras is drilling at 2,777 meters. Obama knows it and loans $2 billion to Petrobras. Last stop, Petrobras shareholders get rich," and "You, getting screwed."
Beck's theory is based on the false claim that Obama issued a loan to Brazil's Petrobras oil company; in reality, the loan was approved by appointees of the Bush administration to the Export-Import Bank of the United States. Kevin Varney, senior vice president and chief of staff of the bank has reportedly said that the decision to approve the loan "did not even rise to the level of presidential awareness." Furthermore, Soros decreased his stake in Petrobras before the funds for the loan in question were distributed.
Williams echoes oil conspiracy. As John Hamilton reported in "Progressive Hunter":
But my interviews show how Byron was motivated by his belief in a grand conspiracy involving George Soros, Barack Obama, Petrobras, and the Gulf oil spill -- a theory for which he frequently cites Beck and Alex Jones.
Like Beck, Byron insists -- falsely -- that Tides is a front group for Soros to fund radical activities.
Byron says that he had researched Tides on his own before seeing Beck attack the foundation on television. In his letter to me, he singled out Beck and DiscoverTheNetworks as key sources of information on Soros and Tides.
At one point Byron told me, "I haven't seen any programs with Tides and Beck," before reconsidering a moment later. "He mentions it, you know, just as a footnote or a side note in his programs."
Indeed, I hunted down the June shows on the Soros-Obama-Petrobras conspiracy that Byron insisted I watch and found Beck attacking Soros and the Tides Foundation.
Having seen Beck raise the conspiracy, Williams says he became enraged when Fox News didn't pursue it further. Asked by Examiner.com's Walsh if he still would have concocted the plot "if it hadn't been for Fox News," Byron said: "I'm actually mad at Fox. I'm mad at them because they go on to something else. It's like they drop the issue, and it lands on a shelf somewhere to collect dust, and that's what's happening to the truth, it's going out and collecting dust. And I'm saying you're not going to let these people get away with this stuff. You can't let them get away with it. So this is my action because of Fox's neglect."
Beck: Soros is "looking to replace the capitalist system once it's been destroyed." On June 21, Beck said, "I don't know if [George Soros] is a radical that's been trying to implement the Cloward and Piven strategy on collapsing the system." Beck went on to claim that Soros is "one of the guys looking to replace the capitalist system once it has been destroyed." This accusation is based on a distortion of a Soros quote. Soros said that the international currency system -- not the capitalist system -- is "broken and needs to be reconstituted."
Beck suggests Soros will try to have him killed. On June 21, while detailing his Petrobras conspiracy theory, Beck said, "Gasoline Brazil. Now why am I telling you about this? Have you heard of another word? Soros. George Soros.I do have a bulletproof car, George. I just want you to know." Later on the same program (retrieved from Nexis), Beck also called Soros a "spooky dude."
Beck: Soros is "evil." On his June 7 show, Beck said: "Who are the elites? I mean, you could put a billion people up here. But Al Gore, he's just trying to help the planet. That's all he's trying to do. That's all he's -- George Soros, he is just -- I don't know what -- he's evil. Well, I am just trying to tell you that it's all unsustainable and we got to raise taxes. And here are some more elites. OK? They are taking from you. You can't afford it. They are taking it from you and giving it under the guise of giving it to the poor, to their elites. That is what is happening. Hello?"
Beck ties Soros and Tides together
Beck connects Soros and Tides on conspiracy theory chart. On the September 21, 2009, edition of his Fox News program, Beck put George Soros at the top of a chart he used to attack The Tides Foundation, The Apollo Alliance, Health Care For America Now, ACORN, the Apollo Alliance, and SEIU. From the program:
Beck connects Tides to Soros during oil conspiracy rant. On his June 22 show (retrieved from Nexis), while discussing his oil conspiracy, Beck said: "But there is something in it for the players of Crime Inc. At one time, George Soros had $900 million invested in this company. Now before you dismiss the connection, look how much influence the Soros' Center for American Progress has on this administration." Beck later mentioned Tides, stating:
How about the Center for American Progress? The influence of this man on this man, with your money, through the Center for American Progress.
How about Tides? How about indoctrination? Forget God. It's in George Soros we trust. Oh, he's going to get his. He is going to get his. I don't mean -- I don't mean he is going to get his, like he may get his from God, but he's going to get his money. He's invested in the president. He signed all this up.
Beck: Tides, through backing from Soros, responsible "for some of the most extreme groups on the left." On his May 21, 2009, program (from Nexis), Beck said:
So who is Drummond Pike, and what is the Tides Foundation? Well, the Tides Foundation is a major source of revenue for some of the most extreme groups on the left. Tides was set up as a public charity that receives money from their donors to be funneled to the recipients of their choice.
Because many of these recipient groups are quite radical, the donors reportedly don't want to be publicly linked with them. So Tides can pass their money along to the intended beneficiaries without the paper trail.
One of Tides' most generous donors, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry's wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry. She has reportedly giving the foundation more than $8 million over the years.
Also, liberal giant George Soros, and California mortgage billionaires Herb and Marion Sandler.
Beck: "Soros has the Tides Foundation." On January 25, Beck said that "Soros has the Tides Foundation. He heavily donates to this."
Beck: "George Soros money" being used for "indoctrination" through Tides. On June 21, Beck said that Soros also "helped start the Tides Foundation, which among its many super, super classics are the anti-capitalist 'Story of Stuff,' indoctrination video. Yes, George Soros money. Isn't that great? Shown in schools all across America to warp your children's brains and make sure they know how evil capitalism is."
Beck: "George Soros-funded Tides Foundation" behind "capitalism is evil" video. On his March 5 show, Beck said:
Our children are being indoctrinated and it must be exposed. It must end because history has shown us where it can lead. Kids in elementary schools are being taught about cross-dressing, that they shouldn't listen to their parents all the time because their parents don't always know what's best.
They're taught capitalism is evil. Videos like this one are being played in classrooms cross country, made by the George Soros-funded Tides Foundation.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (video clip): It's the government's job to watch out for us, to take care of us. That's their job.
Beck also referenced the "video made by the George Soros-funded Tides Foundation" on October 29, 2009.
Beck fearmongers about Tides
In addition to fearmongering about Tides and Soros together, Beck regularly fearmongered about Tides' supposed ruinous agenda against the country.
Beck: Tides trying to destroy capitalism. On July 13, Beck said:
Well, they have the education system. They have the media. They have the capitalist system. What do you think the Tides Foundation was? They infiltrate and they saw under Ronald Reagan that capitalists were not for all of this nonsense, so they infiltrated. Now, they are using failing capitalism to destroy it.
Beck: Tides trying to "infiltrate and gain control of big businesses. On June 24, while discussing the "1963 communist goals," Beck said: "Thirty-seven: Infiltrate and gain control of big businesses. What do you think the Tides Foundation is?"
Beck says Tides is a "really shady organization." From the May 11 edition of Beck's program:
You know, last week, I couldn't believe that -- that answer I gave on FOX last week about the Miranda rights, that was off the top of my head. I didn't -- I just got up. I mean, I was up for about 20 minutes while I did this episode.
And even the founders of -- the founder of Tides, remember that? The really shady organization that I'm like -- run for your life, it's Drummond Pike!
Drummond Pike wrote this, "Why I love Glenn Beck." He says, "Beck has just done the right thing, and he deserves praise, even from his rhetorical enemies."
Are you kidding me? It's Tides! I mean, I read that one, I'm like, I should rethink this whole thing.
Beck: They have a "Trojan horse" "called members of the Tides Foundation." From Beck's October 5, 2009, show:
I don't have a stealthy agenda, but, I'm still called a conspiracy theorist. Isn't that weird? You know, they have a stealthy agenda, but they're not called conspiracy theorists. They're just called community organizers.
How about this? If I had an idea that I cloaked and made it a Trojan horse, I'd be a nutjob or a conspiracy theorist. But when they have a Trojan horse -- no, no, they're not called that. They're called members of the Tides Foundation.
Tides debunks Beck's conspiracy theory
John Hamilton reported in "Progressive Hunter" on the Tides Foundation debunking Beck's conspiracy theory about the organization:
I share with Pike the transcript of my jailhouse interview with Byron, noting how Byron echoed the theory advanced on Beck's chalkboard when he said that "Soros has the Tides Foundation and the Tides fund. He funnels billions of donated dollars into the fund, which he uses for all kinds of nefarious activities."
Pike is incredulous. "Where does that come from? I mean, what evidence is there?"
George Soros, Pike tells me, has only provided funding to the Tides Foundation relatively recently.
"I finally met him maybe three years ago for the first time," Pike explains. "Tides is 35 years old."
Pike says Soros' philanthropic groups may have lent a comparatively small amount of support to Tides but that "George Soros doesn't own us. He's not on our board. He's not a major donor to us. We have hundreds of foundations and many corporations that have supported our projects."
Spokeswoman Christine Coleman would later tell me that only a small fraction of the Tides Foundation's funding came from Soros' charitable organization, the Open Society Institute. "The percentage of funds that have come to Tides from OSI," she wrote, "is well under five percent of our total contributions."
I ask Pike about the most visible proponent of the Tides-Soros conspiracy theory.
"I wish Glenn Beck would grow up and learn that he has real responsibilities," Pike says. "He has a very magnified voice in the media landscape of the U.S., and Fox -- the network that carries his show -- bears responsibility as well."