If “John Solomon Sour Grapes Syndrome” were in the DSM as a psychological disorder, it might be described like this: The affliction occurs when you try to bullshit or smear a reporter so much that you no longer grasp fact from fiction.
John Solomon, the newly reinstalled executive at The Washington Times who left his editorial post in 2009, is plotting an award for yours truly — something along the lines of Poor Journalism Award. “The moron thinks this is very clever without realizing it makes TWT look adolescent,” said a TWT insider familiar with Solomon’s plot to smear FBDC. Solomon, now Chief Digital Officer, was recently discussing the matter with a couple of overpaid suits and apparently has a piece written about my alleged mistakes in reporting on TWT as of late, stories that included writeups on executives monitoring employee phone calls and bulking up security as impending layoffs loomed. So we thought we’d get out in front of him and give him an award first, because he’s that special.
Today we officially bestow on Solomon the FBDC Truthiness Award, given to the Washington, D.C. journalist who has a loose and goofy grasp on the truth.
For example, for months before he was reappointed, Solomon told friends in the industry that he wasn’t coming back to TWT, had no interest in going back to TWT, had too many of his own projects cooking to get involved in “the mess here” and that he was only doing a couple projects for TWT Chairman Tom McDevitt because TWT owed him a lot of money. But once that was paid, he would happily move on and be gone. Oh, really, John? Guess that yarn worked to keep interested parties off your trail for a little until the ink was dry on your new employment agreement.
After we reported on Dec. 17 that Solomon was reviewing all departments to help determine which TWT staffers would be among those given pink slips, he reached out wanting to talk. No matter that none of the executives at TWT have agreed to speak with me for any of my stories, despite reaching out to them repeatedly on basic and more intricate facts, the detail on Solomon was minor. It was, nonetheless, triple-sourced.
On Dec. 19, 2012, Solomon wrote by email, “John Solomon here. Is there a good number and time to reach you at?” We flinched at the poor grammar of a former TWT Executive Editor-turned consultant, but returned his email. On Dec. 20, I wrote, “Got your note. I’m a bit swamped today. But yes, of course, can chat with you after 2. Why don’t you give me your number so I can call you when I’m off deadline?”
After 2 p.m. we had that conversation… in which I felt blessed as Solomon schooled me on the finer points of journalism. The conversation was off the record — he reiterated this numerous times throughout our chat. I can share with you that at one point I had to explain “off the record” to Solomon, saying that while I was not permitted to report what he said to me in the course of the phone call, I was able to take the information and verify it elsewhere without using his name. This is when he ended the call.
Memo to Solomon: Hope you’re feeling well these days because if you so much as sneeze I will likely hear about it. Enjoy your week. And congratulations on your truthiness award! If you’re wondering about your competition, you were the clear frontrunner.