Fox News’ Own Researcher Warned That Contributors Were Spreading Misinformation On Ukraine

As Fox News covered the fast-moving impeachment inquiry and trial of Donald Trump, the network was accused of hosting contributors who actively spread disinformation regarding Ukraine — and it was the cable network’s own internal research team that reportedly blew the whistle.

A new report from The Daily Beast claims that internal researchers were concerned that some guests — namely contributor John Solomon and Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani — were playing an “indispensable role” in a disinformation campaign. The Daily Beast obtained the 162-page report compiled by Fox News senior political affairs specialist Bryan S. Murphy, which laid out the many unsubstantiated claims being spread on the network regarding allegations that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The report took aim at Solomon, who had worked as an opinion columnist for The Hill and spread the claims regarding election interference. Solomon’s work eventually led Giuliani to investigate Ukraine further, a project he pressed to Trump that eventually led the president to pressure Ukraine into investigating both the election interference and Joe Biden.

“John Solomon played an indispensable role in the collection and domestic publication of elements of this disinformation campaign,” the document read, via The Daily Beast.

The document warned against bringing Solomon on as a contributor and called on Fox News employees to dig into journalistic ethics concerns regarding Solomon, including undisclosed conflicts of interests and stories that published false and misleading information. At the same time, other journalists and experts were publicly raising concerns about Solomon’s work. A fact check by Politifact noted that Solomon was using his column to spread false claims from Yuriy Lutsenko, who at the time was the top prosecutor in Ukraine.

This work pushed for the ouster of U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, the report noted.

“The column quoted Lutsenko falsely claiming that Yovanovitch gave him a list of people he should not prosecute, a charge the State Department denied and Lutsenko has since retracted,” the report said. “The column also claimed Yovanovitch had privately bad-mouthed Trump, citing a letter from former Rep. Pete Sessions, a Texas Republican, to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.”

The concerns did get through to Solomon’s former employer. After impeachment witness Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman said in hearings that “all elements” of Solomon’s reporting on Ukraine were false, The Hill announced it was conducting a full review of his work.

But it did not appear to have much of an impact at Fox News. As The Daily Beast noted, Solomon has continued to appear as a contributor, last appearing on Friday on Laura Ingraham’s primetime show.

Editor’s note: Fox News’ public relations department reached out to The Inquisitr asking that the following statement from Mitch Kweit, Senior Vice President of the Brainroom, be included.

“The research division of FOX News produces a briefing book for all major stories, which serves as a standing collection of extensive data on major topics for internal use by all those in editorial functions. The Ukraine briefing book is nothing more than a comprehensive chronological account of what every person involved in the Ukraine controversy was doing at any identifiable point in time, including tracking media appearances of major players who appeared on FOX News and in many other outlets. The 200 page document has thousands of data points and the vast majority have no relation to FOX News – instead it’s now being taken out of context and politicized to damage the network.”

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