Lou Dobbs Misidentifies John Solomon as ‘Reporter’ Despite The Hill’s Public Rebuke for Writing Deceptive Op-Eds
Just two days after John Solomon’s former employer, The Hill, publicly rebuked him for publishing opinion pieces deceptively framed as objective journalism Fox Business’ Lou Dobbs continued to misidentify Solomon as a “reporter” to his viewers on Friday.
Solomon, a Fox contributor, is a frequent guest of Dobbs’ and Sean Hannity’s, and was brought on to discuss Trump’s recent personnel moves in the office of the Director of National Intelligence. But, in introducing Solomon, Dobbs failed to tell his viewers that more than a dozen of Solomon’s past pieces had just undergone an extensive autopsy and that numerous editor’s notes had been appended to them to clarify missing context or address glaring conflicts of interest. Nor did the Fox Business host give his audience any inkling that The Hill had specifically warned cable TV networks not to label Solomon as someone who does “investigative reporting,” instead of writing opinion articles.
Instead, Dobbs hailed Solomon as an “award-winning investigative reporter” and went on to further tout Solomon’s bona fides, saying he was “editor-in-chief of his new media outlet, Just the News,” — at which point a promo card appeared with the words “John Solomon Reports” above the site name — “and, as always, intrepid reporting throughout.”
In the span of 10 seconds, Dobbs’s show had given Fox Business viewers no less than three different plugs of Solomon as an independent reporter. At no point, did Dobbs provide any transparency about all the evidence disputing Solomon’s objectivity or his recent, checkered past. Mediaite reached out to Fox Business for comment about Dobbs’ misleading framing of his guest but did not receive comment.
In 2017, Solomon was hired to be the top executive in charge of Hill.TV, but he also began to publish numerous articles under his own byline. In May 2018, the site took the notable step of labeling all of Solomon’s pieces as opinion. Starting in March of last year, Solomon began to write a series of long, highly disputed columns about alleged corruption in Ukraine, which led to many on-air stints with Dobbs and Hannity. Then, as calls for Trump’s impeachment began last September, Solomon abruptly announced he was leaving The Hill to start his own, as-yet-unnamed media site.
Solomon continued to appear on Fox News and Fox Business throughout the impeachment hearings last fall, even after sworn testimony from Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman called out his “reporting” on Ukraine as painting a “false narrative.” Then, just a few weeks after a damning ProPublica report in October raised serious questions about Solomon’s personal role in pushing conspiracy theories as part of Trump’s shadow foreign policy, The Hill announced it would re-examine all of his past, published pieces on Ukraine.
After an extensive review of Solomon’s work while at The Hill, the site added editorial clarifications to 14 of his columns and found that he “failed to identify important details about key Ukrainian sources” in his pieces and, at other times, failed to disclose that some of his sources “were his own attorneys.” Just as notably, the site also issued a specific warning to TV networks who fail to properly identify Solomon as being an opinion writer.
While Solomon’s columns on Ukraine were labeled as opinion, they largely read like news stories. Adding to the potential confusion between opinion and news, Solomon was identified as “an award-winning journalist” in his column tagline. When appearing on television to discuss his Ukraine columns, Solomon was not typically labeled an opinion writer by the broadcast programs. The Hill did not contact television producers to label Solomon as an opinion columnist. It should have.
That a news organization would so singularly call out its former executive for distorting the news is, in itself, stunning. That this same news organization would issue such a stark warning toward Solomon’s current and future employers should also be enough for any of them to seriously reappraise their relationships with him. But, at the very minimum, it should prompt Fox Business and Fox News to be honest about Solomon’s compromised stance and recognize that they cannot keep bestowing upon him with the veneer of good-faith “investigative reporting” when his track record shows that he’s more likely just feeding dubiously-sourced opinion pieces to their audiences.
Watch the video above, via Fox Business.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.