‘Soros’ looks at the life and activism of the right’s favorite bogeyman


(CNN)George Soros remains a favorite target of conservative conspiracy theorists, seeing his corrupting influence behind every liberal movement and within every nook and cranny. As such, it’s significant to hear directly from the 90-year-old billionaire, who speaks frankly about his life, career and activism in the new documentary “Soros.”

Director Jesse Dylan interviews a number of friends, associates and family members in addition to Soros himself, beginning with his early years and the German occupation of Hungary, before he fled to the west and earned his fortune.

In an earlier news clip, Soros discusses his embrace of the freedom that the US offered, before adding, “To be frank, I came to America to make money.”

Soros earned a lot of it, but it’s what he chose to do with his wealth that has led to his vilification by the likes of Bill O’Reilly, Alex Jones and Steve Bannon, all shown citing Soros as a shadowy puppet master. Specifically, Soros has used his billions to support causes in which he believes — initially working against Communism behind the scenes — calling himself “a political philanthropist” and adding, “I’m happy that I irritate some people.”

    As allies note, Soros stands apart from much of the conservative billionaire donor class not just because of his political bent, but the fact that while he acknowledges using money to magnify his voice, he doesn’t do so to benefit his interests directly.

    If there’s a down side to the film, it’s that “Soros” probably doesn’t devote enough time to the way its subject has become a favorite bogeyman to conservatives that paint him as the guiding hand behind grassroots campaigns by those intent on discrediting them.

    As CNN noted in a 2018 profile, Soros’ Jewish heritage, wealth and politics have fueled conspiracy theories, with his enemies frequently labeling him a “globalist,” plotting to undermine US sovereignty. In one clip in the documentary, a C-SPAN caller parrots lies about Soros’ collaboration with the Nazis back to him, underscoring how such disinformation can take hold.

    “Soros” addresses and debunks those assertions, but in a way that feels a bit too much like simply waving them off. Then again, the prevailing sense is if Soros didn’t exist, Fox News and talk radio would have had to invent him.

    Great wealth “gives you a degree of power,” Soros admits, and he has clearly leveraged that to pursue the change that he seeks, not just in the US but around the world.

      If nothing else, “Soros” helps demystify the man and what motivates him, separating the myth from reality. In an age where money talks louder than ever in politics, it’s worth clearly understanding what Soros has tried to say with his.

      “Soros” is offering a live streaming premiere on Nov. 18 and will be available on demand beginning Nov. 20.