George Soros conspiracy theories
Many conspiracy theories have been created about Hungarian-American financier and philanthropist George Soros since his rise to economic wealth. Many of them deal with the intersection between his political beliefs and his financial wealth; author Michael Wolraich has deemed the phenomenon "Anti-Sorosism".
Anti-Sorosism has come under increasing scrutiny due to the growing political currency of anti-Soros conspiracy theories in conservative and nationalist circles, with Wolraich comparing anti-Sorosism to long-running conspiracy theories about the Rothschild family in 19th century Europe.
Soros draws a distinction between being a participant in the market and working to change the rules that market participants must follow. According to Mahathir bin Mohamed, Prime Minister of Malaysia from July 1981 to October 2003, Soros — as the hedge fund chief of Quantum — may have been partially responsible for the economic crash in 1997 of East Asian markets when the Thai currency relinquished its peg to the US dollar. According to Mahathir, in the three years leading to the crash, Soros invested in short-term speculative investment in East Asian stock markets and real estate, then divested with "indecent haste" at the first signs of currency devaluation. Soros replied, saying that Mahathir was using him "as a scapegoat for his own mistakes", that Mahathir's promises to ban currency trading (which Malaysian finance officials hastily retracted) were "a recipe for disaster" and that Mahathir "is a menace to his own country".
The two traded angry barbs against each other in various newspapers and broadcast interviews over the next nine years. The nominal US dollar GDP of ASEAN fell by US$9.2 billion in 1997 and $218.2 billion (31.7%) in 1998.
In 2006, during a visit by Soros to Malaysia on his book tour in the region, he met with Mahathir for the first time, and Mahathir conceded that he did not view Soros as responsible for the financial crisis.
Glenn Beck's conspiracy theory
On November 9, 2010 American conservative television host Glenn Beck aired an hour-long television program, titled The Puppet Master, dedicated to Soros (which he had announced as “D-Day for George Soros”). Accusations he made during this program, specifically that Soros collaborated with the Nazis as a child and that “many people would call him an antisemite”, have met with condemnation from groups including the Anti-Defamation League and The American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants. Beck continued discussing Soros in his programs of November 10, 2010 and November 11, 2010, making additional claims including that Soros, with the help of others, is attempting to collapse the United States economy in order to help create a new world order.
Beck's statements also drew ridicule from The Daily Show host Jon Stewart in a November 18, 2010 skit titled 'The Manchurian Lunatic', taking aim at Beck by utilizing many tropes which often appear in segments of Beck's eponymous television broadcast. While the skit was praised by various major media outlets, Beck replied on November 25, 2010 by insinuating that Stewart and fellow Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert are keeping people as "sheep".
LaRouche's "drug trade" conspiracy theory
Perennial American presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche and his movement have also published a body of literature which claims Soros is a leader of the international illegal drug trade. LaRouche's anti-Soros stance dates back to the 1990s, with Michael Lewis of The New Republic citing an anti-Soros protest by members of the LaRouche movement in a January 10, 1994 profile; the charge has been repeated in the years since by Dennis Hastert, and Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid.
Some Soros-backed pro-democracy initiatives have been banned in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. Ercis Kurtulus, head of the Social Transparency Movement Association (TSHD) in Turkey, said in an interview that "Soros carried out his will in Ukraine and Georgia by using these NGOs... Last year Russia passed a special law prohibiting NGOs from taking money from foreigners. I think this should be banned in Turkey as well."
2011 Forbes article
In 2011, Forbes magazine published an extensive article about George Soros, his activism, and U.S. foreign policy. From the article: "Soros is hated because many Eastern Europeans and Central Asians believe that he is using his money to subvert their political systems. Rightly or wrongly, this view tends to promote anti-Americanism. And it gives dictators a talking point to use against American diplomats."
- Michael Wolraich (14 November 2010). "Beck's bizarre, dangerous hit at Soros". CNN.
- chapter 10 "The Developmental States of East Asia." Hoogvelt, Ankie. 2001. in Globalization and the Postcolonial World: The New Political Economy of Development. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Press.
- Maggie Farley: Malaysian Leader, Soros Trade Barbs, Los Angeles Times, September 22, 1997
- "Malaysian ex-premier Mahathir and billionaire Soros end feud". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 15 December 2006.
- The Glenn Beck Program, Fox News Channel: Glenn Beck: The Puppet Master. November 10, 2010.
- Jack Mirkinson: ADL Condemns Glenn Beck For 'Offensive,' 'Horrific' Attacks On George Soros. The Huffington Post, November 11, 2010
- James Besser: Glenn Beck's "monstrous" Soros accusations rile Holocaust survivors, Jewish groups “The Jewish Week”, November 11, 2010
- "Glenn Beck: Five Step Plan". Glennbeck.com. November 11, 2010.
- Jon Stewart (November 18, 2010). "The Manchurian Lunatic". Comedy Central's The Daily Show.
- Jon Bershad (November 25, 2010). "Glenn Beck On Stewart/Colbert: "That’s Not News" And It Keeps People As "Sheep"". Mediaite.
- Michael Lewis, "The Speculator: What on earth is multibillionaire George Soros doing throwing wads of money around in Eastern Europe?", The New Republic, January 10, 1994. See also Kaufman, Michael T., Soros: The Life and Times of a Messianic Billionaire, Alfred A. Knopf: 2002, p. 32-33
- Jack Shafer (September 1, 2004). "Dennis Hastert on Dope".
- Cliff Kincaid (October 27, 2004). "The Hidden Soros Agenda: Drugs, Money, the Media, and Political Power". Accuracy in Media.
- Fred Weir: Democracy rising in ex-Soviet states, Christian Science Monitor, February 10, 2005
- "Does Foreign Funding Make NGOs into Puppets?". Globalpolicy.org. October 11, 2006. Retrieved October 16, 2009.
- Miniter, Richard (9 September 2011). "Are George Soros' Billions Compromising U.S. Foreign Policy?". Forbes. Retrieved 29 October 2015.