So this was awkward. Newt Gingrich was of Fox News today and was asked for his final thought about riot damage in U.S. cities. Gingrich talked about progressive District Attorneys and mentioned George Soros: “The number one problem in almost all the cities is George Soros-elected, left-wing, anti-police, pro-criminal district attorneys who refuse to keep people locked up.” He added, “Both Harris and Biden have talked very proudly about what they call progressive district attorneys. Progressive district attorneys are anti-police, pro criminal and overwhelmingly elected with George Soros’ money and they are a major cause of the violence we are seeing because they keep putting the violent criminals back on the street.”
Suddenly, the show came to a halt. Host Harris Faulkner was about to wrap up when Melissa Harris, who was off-camera said, “I’m not sure we need to bring George Soros into this.” Gingrich shrugged and replied, “He paid for it.”
“No he didn’t,” Marie Harf said (also from off-screen). She added, “I agree with Melissa, George Soros doesn’t need to be a part of this conversation.”
“Okay. So it’s verboten.” Gingrich said. And then there was awkward silence for several seconds.
“Okay, we’re going to move on,” Faulkner finally said. Here’s the clip:
This is one of the weirdest exchanges I’ve ever seen on TV. @newtgingrich correctly points out that George Soros threw an unprecedented amount of money into DA races all over the country to elect radicals and Fox News basically told him to shut up. WTF? pic.twitter.com/IxwcLG2gOH
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) September 16, 2020
The Daily Beast appears to be the first site to post a story about this. It’s headlined, “Fox News Hosts Get Real Awkward When Newt Gingrich Tries to Do a Soros Dog-Whistle.” The story doesn’t ever address the central claim made by Gingrich about Soros funding progressive DA’s across the country, but it does note a history of Fox News being criticized after some on air guests mentioned Soros in the past:
Fox has had issues over the years with a number of its guests and hosts peddling anti-Semitic tropes about the billionaire investor. The network banned Judicial Watch’s Chris Farrell in late 2018 after he baselessly claimed on Lou Dobbs’ program migrant caravans were funded by the “Soros-occupied State Department.” (Dobbs himself has a lengthy history of trafficking in Soros-related conspiracies.) Fox News also apologized after Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) falsely accused Soros of collaborating with the Nazis during World War II.
The network came under fire last year when frequent Fox guest and Trump ally Joe diGenova accused Soros of controlling “very large parts” of the State Department during an appearance on Dobbs’ show, echoing Farrell’s remarks. Several Jewish organizations demanded the network ban diGenova and issue a public apology.
I don’t know where those claims were coming from but the idea that Soros is funding progressive DA races is not a conspiracy theory. Here’s the NY Times last November:
One district attorney race on the banks of Lake Ontario has become an unlikely big-money referendum on traditional law-and-order prosecutors, much like similar battles in Boston, Philadelphia and Queens, N.Y.
The race in Monroe County pits a Republican incumbent, Sandra Doorley, against an insurgent challenger, Shani Curry Mitchell, a progressive newcomer who has drawn the attention and backing from the billionaire George Soros.
Since early October, Mr. Soros has spent more than $800,000 on ads supporting Ms. Mitchell through one of his political action committees, helping to bring visibility to a candidate pledging to stop “the overprosecution of the poor” and minority groups, and restore trust between law enforcement and communities in the county.
Here’s the Philadelphia Inquirer, also last year:
George Soros is back in Pennsylvania politics with a new $1 million investment, and $100,000 of that is being spent in support of another Democrat seeking to become a district attorney — Jack Stollsteimer in Delaware County.
The liberal New York billionaire and his team are using a scaled-back version of the same playbook they used two years ago to help Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner win a seven-candidate Democratic primary, spending $1.7 million on pro-Krasner television ads via an independent political action committee.
Soros also spent money on DA races in Virginia. Going back to 2016, Politico published a story about Soros’ desire to reform the criminal justice system by spending money to elect progressive prosecutors:
While America’s political kingmakers inject their millions into high-profile presidential and congressional contests, Democratic mega-donor George Soros has directed his wealth into an under-the-radar 2016 campaign to advance one of the progressive movement’s core goals — reshaping the American justice system.
The billionaire financier has channeled more than $3 million into seven local district-attorney campaigns in six states over the past year — a sum that exceeds the total spent on the 2016 presidential campaign by all but a handful of rival super-donors…
Soros has spent on district attorney campaigns in Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas through a network of state-level super PACs and a national “527” unlimited-money group, each named a variation on “Safety and Justice.” (Soros has also funded a federal super PAC with the same name.) Each organization received most of its money directly from Soros, according to public state and federal financial records, though some groups also got donations from nonprofits like the Civic Participation Action Fund, which gave to the Safety and Justice group in Illinois.
In St. Louis, Soros has donated money to Kim Gardner, who recently chose to prosecute the McCloskeys. However, Soros was not involved in the recent election of Multnomah County DA (Portland) Mike Schmidt who is one of the people criticized for dropping charges against protesters.
On the other hand, Soros gave $2 million to help reelect Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, the DA who dropped the case against Jussie Smollett. This summer both Mayor Lightfoot and Police Superintendent Brown took aim at Foxx after a 2nd round of looting broke out in the city. Brown was pretty clear about why he believed it was happening: “We made a lot of arrests during May and June and not many of those cases were prosecuted to the fullest extent.” He added, “We have to have consequences for the arrests that Chicago police officers make through great threat to their own safety. They’re being shot at to make these arrests. And these looters, these thieves, these criminals they are being emboldened by no consequences in the criminal system. They get released. Many charges get dropped.”
You can argue back and forth over whether Soros-supported DAs impacted the riots and looting in various cities. In places like Chicago, the mayor and police sup. seem to back up what Gingrich said. In places like Portland, you couldn’t really make that case. But the bottom line is that it shouldn’t be verboten to discuss it because Soros really has devoted a lot of money to trying to effect change by electing these progressive DAs. That’s not a conspiracy theory, it’s a fact which many mainstream papers have commented on in the past few years. He wouldn’t be doing that if he didn’t think it would have an impact, so we need to be free to discuss what impact that might be having.