People wave flags and chant slogans while a man carries a protest sign reading "SOROS Go Home" during a demonstration against a deal between Social Democrats and the Albanian Democratic Union for Integration, for a law making Albanian the second official language, on March 15, 2017 in Skopje.
The Macedonian president, who has accused neighbouring Albania of trying to influence political developments across the border, referred to minority ethnic Albanian parties' decision to back opposition chief Zoran Zaev if he accepted their controversial demand to make Albanian an official language across Macedonia.  / AFP PHOTO / Robert ATANASOVSKI        (Photo credit should read ROBERT ATANASOVSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Soros rep.: Fox News refuses to have us on
01:13 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

When the Financial Times pronounced Wednesday that the philanthropist George Soros was its “Person of the Year,” Twitter ignited with partisan congratulation and animosity.

The announcement seemed to sum up 2018: an elite, metropolitan and global publication honoring a man loathed by populist, nationalist and indeed anti-Semitic adversaries.

The FT described the 88-year old Soros as “the standard bearer of liberal democracy and open society,” which is precisely why populists love to hate him. One tweet said the FT’s definition of liberal democracy was “aka one world government under globalist socialism.”

Since 1979, the Hungarian-born billionaire has poured $32 billion of the money he made as a hedge-fund manager into liberal, democratic causes through his Open Society Foundations. Even before the fall of the Berlin Wall, he was sending copy-machines to Hungary to help the sprouting reform movement.

In the US he has supported liberal causes, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, and he’s delved into the partisan snake-pit. He used millions of his own money in 2004 to try to prevent the re-election of George W. Bush, telling the New Yorker that Bush was “just chosen as a figurehead, an acceptable face for a sinister group” that ran his administration.

In the past decade Soros has earned the animosity of the emergent “illiberal elite” – Presidents Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Russia and Turkey, and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, to name but three. And he’s become the bogeyman of the far right in the United States.

George Soros is often called a "globalist" by his enemies, one of a cabal involved in a plot to destroy US sovereignty.

Targeted by the right

Both in the US and abroad, Soros’s immense wealth (not least through currency trading), his Jewish heritage and patronage of liberal causes have fed conspiracy theories. He is often called a “globalist” by his enemies, one of a cabal involved in a plot to destroy US sovereignty.

Former Fox News host Glenn Beck has described him as a “puppet-master” aiming “to bring America to her knees financially.”

Right-wing radio host Michael Savage has told his audience, which averages 10 million listeners, that Soros should be arrested for meddling in elections.

Little wonder perhaps that Russian troll factories seeking to influence the 2016 US election generated “dozens of posts blaming George Soros for a myriad of complaints across dozens of the right-targeted Instagram accounts and Facebook Pages,” according to a recent report prepared for the US Senate.

President Donald Trump himself has embraced some of the conspiracy theories about Soros. In his closing campaign ad in 2016, Trump featured video of Soros over the words “…for those who control the levers of power in Washington and the global special interests.”