These media sources are moderately to strongly biased toward liberal causes through story selection and/or political affiliation. They may utilize strong loaded words (wording that attempts to influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes), publish misleading reports and omit reporting of information that may damage liberal causes. Some sources in this category may be untrustworthy. See all Left Bias sources.
- Overall, we rate Open Society Foundations Left Biased based on funding and support for political causes that align with the progressive left. We also rate them Mixed for factual reporting due to occasionally funding sources that have poor track records with facts as well as a lack of transparency in regards to funding US-based media organizations.
Factual Reporting: MIXED
World Press Freedom Rank: USA 45/180
Founded in 1993 by Billionaire investor George Soros, Open Society Foundations (formerly Open Society Institute) is an international grant-making network. According to their about page they give “thousands of grants every year towards building inclusive and vibrant democracies.” They further state that they are the “world’s largest private funder of independent groups working for justice, democratic governance, and human rights.” Finally, they report “For over three decades, the Open Society Foundations have had expenditures of more than $16 billion dollars.”
Open Society Foundations is based in New York City, with offices all around the world. According to Forbes, in 2020, George Soros’s wealth is estimated to be around 8.3 billion dollars. To learn more about George Soros and his history see here: How George Soros Got Rich.
George Soros was mentored by philosopher Karl Popper who coined the term “Open Society”, meaning the opposite of authoritarian dictatorship and in support of democracy. Popper’s influence led to Soros eventually creating his foundations to fight for the principles of an open democratic society.
Due to the amount of money and the vast amount of organizations and causes George Soros supports, he has become a target of conservatives and conspiracy theorists who frequently promote conspiracy theories against him. For example, one conspiracy goes that George Soros was a Nazi, even though he is Jewish, hid from the Nazis, and was a child at the time. Currently, Soros has been accused of funding just about anything that conservatives view as negative. For example, he was accused of being a part of alleged election fraud during the 2020 Presidential Election, and anytime there is a protest by the left he is accused of either funding it or orchestrating it. None of this has ever been proven to be true.
Funded by / Ownership
Open Society Foundations is a nonprofit that is primarily funded by George Soros and his connected corporations such as Geosor and Soros Fund Management LLC. To date, George Soros and his family have contributed 32 billion dollars and have a budget of 1.2 billion in 2020. They also receive donations from outside individuals and organizations, but these amount to a small percentage of the total. Further, in 2020, Open Society Foundations individuals donated to Democratic politicians and causes. For example, they donated $35,660 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and $22,677 to President Joe Biden. Finally, Soros donated 28 million to Democratic affiliated groups during the 2020 election cycle.
Analysis / Bias
In review, Open Society Foundations primarily gives grants to media and other organizations/foundations that advocate for “democracy, transparency, and freedom of speech.” They also provide scholarships to 300 students and academics per year. On the website, they list the causes they support as:
In general, Open Society Foundations supports organizations and causes that align with the progressive left. For each of the above causes, they clearly state how much they spent on each, but not specifically which organization received funds.
The website for Open Society Foundations publishes press releases such as this Open Society Foundations Announce 2020 Puerto Rico Youth Fellows. Under the “Voices” section they publish news and commentary that aligns with the left. There is the frequent use of loaded emotional language such as this Carnage and Triumph: American Democracy on the Spot and this Tax Injustice Goes Well Beyond Trump. This first story is not sourced at all, while the second is properly sourced to credible media outlets such as ProPublica, New York Times, and Public Integrity. In summary, Open Society Foundations donates to numerous left-leaning media outlets and political organization with many rated as High factual sources such as ProPublica and the Brennan Center for Justice, however, some are listed as Questionable such as MoveOn.org, which has failed numerous fact checks. In general, they hold a progressive left bias and while the news they report is factual, some of the sources they fund are questionable.
Failed Fact Checks
- None to date
Overall, we rate Open Society Foundations Left Biased based on funding and support for political causes that align with the progressive left. We also rate them Mixed for factual reporting due to occasionally funding sources that have poor track records with facts as well as a lack of transparency in regards to funding US-based media organizations. (D. Van Zandt 1/25/2021)