To hear investigative journalist John Solomon tell it, he started down the road of investigating the Russia collusion hoax when, like something from a movie, two agents showed up in his driveway and told him to keep pushing on his work covering procedural anomalies he was noticing at the FISA court.
He has, in the years since that motivating event, done arguably some of the best investigative work on what would become one of the biggest stories about political malfeasance this country has seen, writing many of his reports in his column at The Hill.
But that is not what is being printed about him in the impeachment-friendly news media at present who see him as a conspiracy theory peddler with a checkered reporting history — even though these same outlets count him as a contributor.
The Daily Beast has the newest smear, in an opinion piece disguised as a “news” report because it’s ostensibly about how Solomon’s colleagues at the generally progressive-friendly The Hill are filled with anxiety due to his reporting.
The headline itself speaks volumes: “Leaked Memo: Colleagues Unload on John Solomon, the Journo Who Kicked Off Trump’s Ukraine Conspiracy”
Over the past several months, and with the benefit of substantial airtime from Fox News primetime host Sean Hannity, Solomon has peddled a series of Ukraine-based conspiracy theories and allegations that have primarily taken aim at two of Trumpworld’s biggest targets: Biden and Hillary Clinton.
In the process, his questionable reporting, which often seems specifically tailored to stoke the flames of right-wing paranoia, has enraged many of his colleagues at The Hill who have for years seen his tactics and reporting as overtly ideological, convoluted, and often lacking in crucial context.
“He’s a lightning rod of anxiety for us,” one Hill insider told The Daily Beast.
It’s unclear why Solomon’s colleagues disliking him is really much of a news story beyond just office politics and gossip, although The Beast does try to offer weak suggestions that Solomon might have incorrectly sourced or reported elements of his stories.
His response: I include all documents and source material in my stories. Feel free to take a deep dive and catch me foisting bad journalism on you.
Lots of reporters calling me after reference to my reporting in whistleblower complaint. Here's my response. I stand by my stories 100 percent, all of which are completely accurate and transparent. We embedded the documents and videos we collected in each story for all to see.
— John Solomon (@jsolomonReports) September 26, 2019
But The Beast is not alone in their condemnation. The Washington Post, in the Lifestyle section of all places, gives us a harrowing tale of how Solomon is promoting a tale of corruption involving Joe Biden and his son Hunter that might be “flawed.”
What’s clear is that Solomon — a former Washington Post investigative reporter who later became editor of the conservative Washington Times — has played an important role in advancing a flawed, Trump-friendly tale of corruption in Ukraine, particularly involving Biden and his son Hunter. The younger Biden was a director of a Ukrainian energy company at the time his father, the vice president, was beseeching Ukrainian officials to crack down on corruption.
The problem for The Washington Post, however, is that much of the Biden story is already out there and has been for years. Furthermore, and you’ll have to read the Post’s piece, they’re using the word of someone who was eventually replaced as a prosecutor by the new president of Ukraine — and who it seems may have been pressured by the State Department — as a way to prove Solomon was incorrect in his reporting. Again, you’ll have to read the WaPo piece and decide for yourselves.
But the effort to go after Solomon as a poor and partisan journalist is not a subtle one. Here are two more recent news pieces:
“How a D.C. News Site Amplified Dubious Ukraine Claims” – Foreign Policy
“The Rot On The Hill” – The New Republic
Both of those pieces are aimed squarely at The Hill. No wonder Solomon’s colleagues were anxious. They’re reacting to that pressure the way these outlets are hoping Solomon reacts: caving and admitting he was wrong to run afoul of groupthink.
To his credit, Solomon not only is standing by his reporting, he’s also leaving The Hill newsroom and starting his own media company.
Which is the proper move for someone who has done some of the best investigative work we’ve seen since Trump was elected and has been rewarded with contempt.
They’re watching you John Solomon. Let them watch you from afar.