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O'Reilly's silly web of financing chart, de-spun by Media Matters

Reported by Chrish - May 6, 2007 -

Last Thursday night Bill O'Reilly told his viewers that the Indiana University study that found "O'Reilly is a heavier and less-nuanced user of the propaganda devices than (Father Charles) Coughlin," was to be disregarded because IU, like Media Matters, is funded by organizations linked to billionaire George Soros. Using his simplistic chart he made a couple of fuzzy connections and told viewers to assume the rest (that Soros is manipulating the mainstream media). But Media Matters have debunked O'Reilly yet again with a few pesky truths.

First, here's the chart in case you missed it. I just can't ridicule it enough:

ssBORchartMM042307.jpg

From Media Matters:

On the May 3 show, O'Reilly filled viewers in on what he called "the back story" on the Indiana University study: "Last week we showed you this chart detailing where far-left billionaire George Soros contributes money and how his propaganda machine works its way through the Internet and into the mainstream media. Soros and his gang were furious with that exposition. So we knew blowback was coming. Thus, the Indiana/Media Matters nonsense."

O'Reilly's self-proclaimed "exposition" was the utterly false claim that Media Matters received money from Soros. After Media Matters noted that Soros had never given the organization money, O'Reilly claimed that Soros funneled money to Media Matters through the Tides Foundation. As Media Matters documented, on the April 26 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly accused Media Matters of lying about its funding and noted that Tides donated over $1 million to Media Matters in 2005, "[a]nd just by coincidence Soros' Open Society Institute [OSI] donated more than a million dollars to Tides in 2005." He then added: "Figure it out."

But O'Reilly's conclusion that Soros donated $1 million to Media Matters through the Tides Foundation is false. OSI's donations to Tides were earmarked for several specific programs, and Media Matters was not included on this list. O'Reilly's reference on May 3 to Media Matters as "the smear Internet site partly funded by enterprises connected to George Soros" represents a complete -- though unacknowledged -- abandonment of his previous claim that Media Matters has received money from Soros. While O'Reilly made that claim, however, on-screen text described Media Matters as "party [sic] funded by George Soros."

O'Reilly purported to complete the Soros-Indiana-Media Matters connection with the following: "By the way, did you know that Soros' Open Society Institute [OSI] donated $5 million to Indiana University? I'm sure that was just a coincidence," suggesting that the study was the result of the donation.

O'Reilly is presumably referring to a $5 million donation by the OSI to the school in 2005; in fact, that donation was directed to establish an endowment for the American University of Central Asia in Kyrgyzstan, with the U.S. Agency for International Development providing another $10 million. OSI has partnered with IU in other ventures, such as higher education curriculum development in Azerbaijan, preparing Burmese refugees for college, and a degree program for teaching second languages in Kazakhstan.

Further, according to the IU press release on the O'Reilly study, "The researchers received no grant funding for this study."

So the link that O'Reilly was purporting to expose amounts to the following: Soros gave Indiana University $5 million for a project in Kyrgyzstan; researchers in IU's journalism and communications departments produced a study on O'Reilly that has no connection to Kyrgyzstan and received no grant money; and Media Matters learned of the study through the means by which presumably everyone else did -- a press release.

Hm, research, logic, and calm sanity - like water on a wicked witch, Media Matters destroys O'Reilly's delusions again.