Not surprisingly, the first malicious attack on the new book Richard Poe and I have written about George Soros’s Shadow Party comes from the George Soros-funded smear site MediaMatters, which is -- not surprisingly -- run by nationally famous and self-confessed liar, David Brock. Their “review” of The Shadow Party consists of 7,000 plus words of distortions, misrepresentations, fabrications and tendentious guilt-by-associations, without the slightest effort made to understand the book or reflect seriously on the information it provides.
What follows is not a full-blown response to these slanders – that will come – but a sampling of one particular set of charges that provides a glimpse of the not surprisingly low level of the MediaMatters myrmidons. (Full disclosure: to avoid boring the reader I have focused on only the first three examples as they appear in sequence in one section of the attack. There are others.) The text that follows is verbatim from the MediaMatters website with my own comments interspersed in blue type:
Doctored, misrepresented quotes
Horowitz and Poe doctored or misrepresented at least two references to the biography Soros: The Life and Times of a Messianic Billionaire by Michael Kaufman (Alfred A. Knopf, 2002).
On one page, the authors accused Soros of "assimilating to Nazism"; on another, they suggested a hidden affinity for Communism. They wrote on page 81: "He insists to this day that Communism repelled him, yet he admits that he told his father in 1946, 'I'd like to go to Moscow to find out about Communism. I mean that's where the power is. I'd like to know more about it.'" The endnotes refer to page 52 of the Kaufman book, where Soros is quoted as having said to his father at age 16, "I said I'd like to go to Moscow, to find out about Communism. I mean that's where the power is. Or maybe go to England because of the BBC, which we listened to." (Soros, in fact, moved to England).
Nowhere in our book do Richard Poe and I suggest that Soros was or is a Communist or a Nazi. The MediaMatters’s statement to this effect is a characteristic misrepresentation of what we actually say.
Contrary to the calculated misimpression given by MediaMatters, Poe and I, in fact, tell readers that Soros went to England, as in the very next sentence (p.82): “Tividar (Soros’s father) persuaded his son to go to England instead.” More importantly, in the passage of our text MediaMatters cites we do not describe Soros as having a “hidden affinity for Communism,” but merely point out that he was not so repelled by Communism as not to be interested in finding out what it was. And also that he was interested because he was interested in power. A big difference from what MediaMatters implies we said.
Similarly MediaMatters’ commentary leaves a reader with the impression that we present Soros as having an affinity for Nazism or as actually having been a Nazi. In fact, we say nothing of the kind. Our focus in this passage is on Soros’ strategy of assimilation in connection with his identity as a Jew. Soros himself explains (as we quote him in our text) “I come from an assimilationist family.” He makes this statement in the context of discussing his Jewish identity. His father changed the family name from Schwartz to Soros in 1936. The family was living in fascist Hungary. Not very many Jews survived the Nazi era in Hungary. The full quote from our book referred to (doctored?) by MediaMatters is “Soros survived by assimilating to Nazism.” In fact, by Soros’ own account given during an interview on a public television program and again in a 60 Minutes interview with Steve Kroft, Soros came under the protection of an official in the Nazi government of Hungary: “I was adopted by an official of the ministry of agriculture, whose job was to take over Jewish properties, so I actually went with him and we took possession of these large estates. That was my identity.” We do not say – as the MediaMatters snippet implies -- that Soros was a Nazi or approved of Nazism, and we note that he was only 14 years old at the time, which also would exculpate him from any charge like that. Our purpose was to discuss his lifelong strategy of assimilation as a Jew. This purpose is very clear in our text, yet MediaMatters deliberately misreads it in order to falsely claim that we misrepresent and “doctor” quotes.
On page 76, Horowitz and Poe wrote, " 'My goal is to become the conscience of the world,' Soros immodestly confessed to his biographer Michael Kaufman, in a moment of candor that would give megalomania a bad name." On page 293 of his book, Kaufman wrote: "He continued in an outburst of confessional candor: 'Yes, I do have a foreign policy, and now I have it more consciously. My goal is to become the conscience of the world.' The words sounded less pompous in conversation than they appear in print. Perhaps the hubris was modulated by a wink or a smile. 'When I talk about being engaged in policy issues, that's really what I mean. I think that creating a global open society should be our goal. There ought to be a development strategy that is clearly guided by the striving for an open society. And that is what is missing. I mean there is plenty of money for waging war, and there is absolutely no money for waging peace."
In other words, because we didn’t cite Kaufman's after-the-fact attempt to distance Soros from his own words by claiming they “sounded less pompous in conversation” (did they really?) we are alleged to have doctored the quote. By this standard, one could say any quote that wasn’t the whole text was doctored. (The biographer, Kaufman, by the way, is a fawning employee of Soros.)
Horowitz and Poe also doctored a quote from a Soros speech delivered at the 2004 Take Back America Conference, where he commented on the abuses at Abu Ghraib. One page 53, they report that Soros said: "I think that the picture of torture in Abu Ghraib, in Saddam's prison, was the moment of truth for us,...I think that those pictures hit us in the same way as the terrorist attack itself, not quite with the same force because in the terrorist attack we were the victims. In the pictures we were the perpetrators, others were the victims. But there is, I'm afraid, a direct connection between those two events, because the way President Bush conducted the war on terror converted us from victims into perpetrators." The authors cite the text of Soros's speech as their source. Yet they use an ellipsis to cut out 10 words in the first sentence, altering the meaning of the passage. The sentence reads in full (with the text Horowitz and Poe deleted in italics): "I think that the picture of torture at Abu Ghraib, in Saddam's prison, was the moment of truth for us, because that is not who we are as a nation."
The phrase that is not quoted in our text -- “because that is not who we are as a nation” -- clearly means in this context “because that is not who we were or should be as a nation.” In other words, the phrase we didn’t quote doesn’t alter one iota the claim that “Abu Ghraib was a moment of truth for us,” i.e., a moment of truth for Americans in the era of the Bush Administration. The unquoted phrase is by no stretch of the imagination a doctored quote – that is a quote which is altered to misrepresent what the author intends -- except for the Soros shills at MediaMatters who are apparently desperate for a case to make against our book. Unfortunately, lazy leftists will read the headline MediaMatters has used to describe these pathetic examples -- “Doctored, misrepresented quotes” -- and repeat the calumny across the web and beyond.
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