John Solomon (political commentator)
John F. Solomon is an American who has worked as an investigative reporter, a media executive, and as a conservative political commentator. He is an editorialist and executive vice president of digital video for The Hill. He was formerly employed as an executive and as editor-in-chief at The Washington Times. He has a reputation for magnifying small scandals and creating fake controversy.
From May 1987 to December 2006, Solomon worked at the Associated Press, where he became the assistant bureau chief in Washington, helping to develop some of the organization's first digital products, such as its online elections offering.
In 2007, he served as The Washington Post's national investigative correspondent.
The Washington TimesEdit
In February 2008, Solomon became editor-in-chief of The Washington Times. During this time, Solomon made a mission to make the paper's coverage more objective while expanding its reach. Under Solomon, the Times changed some of its style guide to conform to more mainstream media usage. The Times announced that it would no longer use words like "illegal aliens" and "homosexual," and instead opt for "more neutral terminology" such as "illegal immigrants" and "gay," respectively. The paper also decided to stop using "Hillary" when referring to Senator Hillary Clinton, and to stop putting the word "marriage" in the expression "gay marriage" in quotes. He also oversaw the redesign of the paper's website and the launch of the paper's national weekly edition. A new television studio was built in the paper’s Washington DC headquarters, and the paper also launched a syndicated three-hour morning-drive radio news program.
Solomon left the paper in November 2009 after internal shakeups and financial uncertainty among the paper's ownership.
After a three-and-a-half-year hiatus, most of which was spent at Circa News, Solomon returned to the paper in July 2013 to oversee the newspaper's content, digital and business strategies. He helped to craft digital strategies to expand online traffic, created new products and partnerships, and led a reorganization of the company's advertising and sales team. He also helped launch a new subscription-only national edition targeted for tablets, cellphones and other mobile devices, and helped push a redesign of the paper's website.
Packard Media GroupEdit
Solomon was president of Packard Media Group from November 2009 to December 2015. Solomon also served as journalist in residence at the Center for Public Integrity, a non-profit organization that specializes in investigative journalism, from March 2010 to June 2011. He was also named executive editor of the Center for Public Integrity in November 2010 and helped oversee the launch of iWatch News, but resigned quickly after to join Newsweek/The Daily Beast in May 2011.
In 2012, Solomon and former Associated Press executives Jim Williams and Brad Kalbfeld created the Washington Guardian, an online investigative news portal. It was acquired by The Washington Times when Solomon returned to the paper in July 2013.
After leaving The Washington Times, Solomon became chief creative officer for Circa News. Circa is a mobile news application founded in 2011 that streams updates on big news events to users. In June 2015, it shut down, but its relaunch was announced after its acquisition by Sinclair Broadcast Group.
Upon leaving Circa, Solomon become executive vice president of digital video for The Hill. Until May 2018, he worked on news and investigative pieces for The Hill. In October 2017, Solomon published an article in The Hill about the Uranium One controversy where he insinuated that Russia made payments to the Clinton Foundation at the time when the Obama administration approved the sale of Uranium One to Rosatom. Solomon's story also focused on the alleged failures of the Department of Justice to investigate and report on the controversy, suggesting a cover-up. Subsequent to Solomon's reporting, the story "took off like wildfire in the right-wing media ecosystem," according to a 2018 study by scholars at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, Harvard University. No evidence of any quid pro quo or other wrongdoing has surfaced.
In May 2018, the editor-in-chief of The Hill, announced that Solomon would become an "opinion contributor" at The Hill (he would remain executive vice president of digital video). This came in the wake of reports that Solomon's colleagues at The Hill criticized Solomon's news reporting as lacking rigor and context.
Paul McCleary, writing for the Columbia Journalism Review in 2007, wrote that Solomon had earned a reputation for hyping stories without solid foundation. In 2012, Mariah Blake, writing for the Columbia Journalism Review, wrote that Solomon "has a history of bending the truth to his storyline," and that he "was notorious for massaging facts to conjure phantom scandals." During the 2004 presidential election between George W. Bush and John Kerry, Thomas Lang wrote for the Columbia Journalism Review that a Solomon story for the Associated Press covered criticism of John Kerry's record on national security appeared to mirror a research report released by the Republican National Committee. Lang wrote that Solomon's story was "a clear demonstration of the influence opposition research is already having on coverage of the [presidential] campaign."
In 2007, Deborah Howell, then-ombudsman at The Washington Post criticized a story that Solomon wrote for The Post which had suggested impropriety by Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards in a real estate purchase; Solomon's reporting omitted context which would have made clear that there was no impropriety. Progressive news outlets ThinkProgress, Media Matters for America and Crooked Media have argued that Solomon's reporting has a conservative bias and that there are multiple instances of inaccuracies. Independent journalist Marcy Wheeler accused Solomon of manufacturing fake scandals which suggested wrongdoing by those conducting probes into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Reporters who worked under Solomon as an editor have said that he encouraged them to bend the truth to fit a pre-existing narrative.
In January 2018, Solomon published a report for The Hill suggesting that Peter Strzok and Lisa Page had foreknowledge of a Wall Street Journal article and that they themselves had leaked to the Wall Street Journal. According to the Huffington Post, Solomon's reporting omitted that the Wall Street Journal article Strzok and Page were discussing was critical of Hillary Clinton and the FBI, Strzok and Page expressed dismay at the fallout from the article, and Strzok and Page criticized unauthorized leaks from the FBI. According to the Huffington Post, "Solomon told HuffPost he was not authorized to speak and does not comment on his reporting. He may simply have been unaware of these three facts when he published his story. But they provide crucial context to an incomplete narrative that has been bouncing around the right-wing echo chamber all week."
That same month, Erik Wemple of The Washington Post said that newsroom staffers at The Hill had complained about Solomon's reporting for the publication. The staffers reportedly criticized Solomon's reporting as having a conservative bias and missing important context, and that this undermined The Hill's reputation. They also expressed concerns over Solomon's close relationship with Sean Hannity, whose TV show he appeared on more than a dozen times over a span of three months.
- "John Solomon Joins The Hill as Executive Vice President, Digital Video". Retrieved 2017-08-04.
- Wemple, Erik (2015-12-07). "John Solomon leaves Washington Times, joins Circa re-launch". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2016-02-07.
- "John Solomon Gives Us Less Than Meets the Eye -- Again". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved 2017-11-01.
- "Something fishy?". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved 2018-05-15.
- "John Solomon | LinkedIn". www.linkedin.com. Retrieved 2016-02-07.
- "Ex-Washington Post Reporter to Lead a Rival: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance". biz.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2016-02-07.
- "Playing Center: John Solomon is pushing evenhandedness at the Washington Times. - Washington City Paper". Washington City Paper. Retrieved 2016-02-07.
- "Something fishy?". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved 2016-02-07.
- Kurtz, Howard (2009-11-13). "Washington Times editor John Solomon resigns". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2016-02-07.
- "Solomon returns to lead content, business strategies at The Washington Times". The Washingtion Times. Retrieved 2016-02-07.
- "John Solomon | PACKARD MEDIA GROUP LLC | ZoomInfo.com". ZoomInfo. Retrieved 2016-02-07.
- "Solomon named executive editor of Center for Public Integrity". Poynter. 2010-11-04. Retrieved 2017-07-11.
- Media, On. "John Solomon to NewsBeast - On Media". POLITICO. Retrieved 2017-07-11.
- Mariah Blake (July–August 2012). "Something fishy?". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved 2018-12-24.CS1 maint: Date format (link)
- Wemple, Erik (2018-05-14). "Opinion | The Hill's John Solomon moves to new spot as 'opinion contributor'". Washington Post. Retrieved 2018-05-14.
- Benkler, Yochai; Faris, Robert; Roberts, Hal (2018-11-22). Network Propaganda: Manipulation, Disinformation, and Radicalization in American Politics. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 173–176. ISBN 9780190923631.
- "Solomon's Stenography". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved 2019-07-26.
- "Votes, Quotes (and Dirt), Fresh from the Oven". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved 2019-07-26.
- Howell, Deborah (2007-01-28). "Deborah Howell - Accurate, but Not the Whole Story". ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2018-05-15.
- "Washington Times Names Controversial Reporter John Solomon As New 'Executive Editor'". Retrieved 2017-12-16.
- "Wash. Times' new executive editor, John Solomon, has history of distortion". Media Matters for America. 2008-01-15. Retrieved 2017-12-16.
- "The Makings of a GOP Pseudo-Scandal | Crooked Media". Crooked Media. Retrieved 2017-12-16.
- emptywheel (2019-06-20). "Konstantin Kilimnik Shared Stolen Data Laundered Through Bannon's Propaganda with State Department". emptywheel. Archived from the original on 2019. Retrieved 2019-07-01.
- Reilly, Ryan J.; Baumann, Nick (2018-01-15). "Here's What The FBI Lovers' Secret Texts Actually Say About Trump, Clinton And Leaks". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2018-01-15.
- Wemple, Erik (2018-01-17). "Opinion | Staffers at The Hill press management about the work of John Solomon". Washington Post. Retrieved 2018-01-23.