Special Report: Columbia University

Soros Funds Next Generation of Liberal Journalism

Columbia University is home to the only Ivy League graduate journalism school, and one of only three graduate journalism programs in the United States. The iconic brick and stone buildings house a program envisioned by legendary wizard of journalism Joseph Pulitzer. The students who are accepted know that they are getting one of the most respected journalism educations in the world. Their school is also the custodian of the Pulitzer Prize, the most coveted award in the field.

The influence of the Columbia University School of Journalism (CUSJ) is extensive. Alumni have gone on to hold significant jobs at prominent media outlets including all three broadcast news networks (ABC, NBC and CBS), CNN, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Bloomberg and NPR.

And that fact should worry anyone who values objectivity and balance in journalism. The school uses its position as a leading journalism institution to promote a liberal agenda that has sweeping impact on the news Americans consume.

Columbia recently saw a change of leadership when Steve Coll, former president of the liberal, Soros-funded New America Foundation, was named the new president of the Journalism School. He takes over the presidency for New Republic writer Nicholas Lemman. Coll has big plans for the school. “The Journalism School has a chance across the next decade to extend its leadership as an institution with worldwide influence,” he said in the press release for his appointment at the school.

But Coll’s résumé is mild compared to some of the professors on the staff. Todd Gitlin, a professor and chair of the journalism Ph.D. program, was one of the founders and first presidents of the radical left-wing group Students for a Democratic Society. Lately, Gitlin has been an outspoken supporter of the “amazingly intense,” “sweet tempered” Occupy movement. He is also listed on the journalism school’s site as a “faculty expert” on both ethics and American politics.

Victor Navasky, head of the prestigious Columbia Journalism Review, came to the school from The Nation. Navasky worked as editor of the hard-left magazine, where he still serves as Publisher Emeritus. Professor Betsy West was fired from CBS for her involvement in “Rathergate.” She now teaches “Video Storytelling” at Columbia.

Columbia rewards those who share a similar bias. Al Jazeera was not only presented with the highest award the school could give, but granted a fellowship as well. The pro-terror news network has repeatedly criticized Israel and even threw a birthday party for a Palestinian terrorist. To add to its blatant endorsement of the Qatari royal family-owned news network, Columbia hired an Al Jazeera anchor as an adjunct journalism professor. It also has invited several other Al Jazeera employees to speak as guest lecturers.

The rest of Columbia shares the ideology of the Journalism School. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spewed his Holocaust denial in the university’s lecture halls, and left-wing billionaire George Soros delivered an anti-Bush, anti-American rant at in the form of a commencement speech. Columbia’s obvious embrace of liberal views reinforces that proclivity in the journalism school, which promises to offer “a curriculum as pluralistic and polyphonic as New York itself.”

The Media Research Center’s Business and Media Institute has extensively researched Columbia University School of Journalism, including its faculty, alumni, student publications, funding, guest lecturers, influence, endorsements and awards. BMI found that there was a significant left-wing bias prevalent at the school.