JOE SCARBOROUGH (HOST): So if you watched any of the House Intelligence Committee impeachment hearings last month, you likely heard the name John Solomon, particularly coming from Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-CA). Solomon is a columnist for The Hill, whose pieces have served as fodder for the likes of Nunes and Rudy Giuliani in their defense of Donald Trump. But in this age of Trump, one man's source is another's conspiracy theorist, and Media Matters this morning has named Solomon their Misinformer of the Year. Let's bring in right now the president and the CEO of Media Matters for America, Angelo Carusone, and Karine is with us and has the first question. Karine?
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE (CHIEF PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICER, MOVEON): Hey, Angelo.
ANGELO CARUSONE (PRESIDENT AND CEO, MEDIA MATTERS): Good morning.
JEAN-PIERRE: Good morning. My first question to you -- I actually have two -- can you tell the audience a little about who John Solomon is? And also why did he get this wonderful honor this year by you guys?
CARUSONE: So, John Solomon is somebody that used to work in the mainstream media, The Washington Post, the AP, many, many years ago. And then he got a job at Sinclair Broadcasting. And since then, even at the time when he was a reporter in the mainstream media, he was often sort of dinged for pushing out sort of fabricated stories that oftentimes were later debunked or had to have fact checks. But these days, he is probably the single proximate cause for why Donald Trump ultimately got impeached. He was the person that laundered sort of an amalgamation of the Russian deception campaign with sort of right-wing conspiracy theories that openly sort of made their way into Trump's mind and led him to not just make those threats with Ukraine, but really dig in on it. And that ultimately kicked off the impeachment hearings. So -- that's who he is, and I think it's the big reason why we named him Misinformer of the Year, because he's really at the center of all of this. It's not just that he helped push a lot of these attacks against [former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch] and others, it's that he really launders a combination of Russian deceptions and right-wing misinformation, and ultimately is a really important part of this story and that's why we named him Misinformer of the Year.
DAVID IGNATIUS (WASHINGTON POST COLUMNIST): Angelo, this is David Ignatius. I, like you, read Solomon with fascination. He seems to be generating as much of the controversy as the principles, but there's one area where Solomon might argue that he got it right. I just want to ask you about that. Now that we have the inspector general Michael Horowitz's report on the process that led to the FISA warrant against Carter Page and other aspects of the early investigation, Solomon and company argued, well, their critics got that wrong, that there were more abuses by the FBI than people were aware of. I want to ask you what you make of that. You look at the news carefully. Do you think that criticism is right, that maybe we overstated -- underestimated the degree to which the FBI was manipulating this information?
CARUSONE: I think there's almost total consensus around that, right, and I would say that's one of the examples where Solomon was piling on where it wasn't originating with John Solomon. That's really an important distinction to draw here.
Because since March, he's published 45 articles in The Hill, he now works for Fox News, which I also think is very significant. The Hill is actually investigating his reporting. A lot of that reporting lines up directly with the result of the investigation that Rudy Giuliani ultimately sent to the State Department. I sort of separate out between the stuff that Solomon did over the years, especially in the last few years, that sort of defended Trump but were aligned with I think legitimate critiques, especially around FISA.
But then there's this separate bucket, the real core of his work, which is him sort of laundering regurgitated Russian disinformation into the right-wing ecosystem in order to not just get it into Trump's mind, but I mean Giuliani was giving him disinformation that he had openly had gotten from Russia. Solomon was writing it up. It was being amplified by Fox News and the rest of the right-wing media and in some instances even being amplified by known Russian disinformation networks like we saw during the committee investigations. And then, Giuliani would circle around and then praise it and celebrate it. And I think that's really what Solomon is known for in terms of his use and his role in all of this. You're right about that. There are definitely some legitimate things he sort of piled on and reinforced that are very valid.
SCARBOROUGH: And Angelo, you say The Hill is investigating his past work?
CARUSONE: That's correct. And he no longer works for The Hill. He was an executive vice president there up until October, and now he works for Fox News. But, they are currently investigating, at least according to The Hill, all of his work during this time period because, you know, when you publish 45 articles there and they all line up with a lot of the disinformation, especially like we heard during those committee hearings, it's more than just criticizing it, they need to dig in as to how they became sort of complicit or a part of a larger deception and disinformation operation.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. Thank you so much, president and CEO of Media Matters for America, Angelo Carusone. Greatly appreciate it.