On Thursday, The Daily Beast reported that an internal document from Fox News' research unit sharply criticizes several key pro-Trump commentators on the network as spreading "disinformation," and advises colleagues to treat their claims with skepticism.
The commentators singled out by name in the document include President Donald Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, former federal prosecutor and conspiracy theorist Joseph DiGenova, right-wing lawyer Victoria Toensing, and reporter and opinion columnist John Solomon.
All four of these figures have been implicated in one way or another spreading disinformation about Ukraine, and were involved in Trump's scheme to force the Ukrainian government to announce a political investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden's family.
The document states that Solomon in particular "played an indispensable role in the collection and domestic publication of elements of this disinformation campaign," and that his credulous reporting of propaganda by corrupt former Ukrainian prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko and indicted oligarch Dmitryo Firtash was what originally led Giuliani to start his fishing expedition in Ukraine. It goes on to fault Solomon for "non-disclosure of conflicts, use of unreliable sources, publishing false and misleading stories, misrepresentation of sources, and opaque coordination with involved parties."
DiGenova and Toensing, who have frequently appeared on Fox to trash the impeachment investigation, have also helped Giuliani collect dirt from Ukraine while working for Firtash, without disclosing this financial relationship during their on-air appearances.
According to the Beast, the document was authored by Bryan Murphy, a Fox News senior political affairs specialist who "produces research from what is known as the network’s Brain Room — a newsroom division of researchers who provide information, data, and topic guides for the network’s programming."
Fox complained the report was being politicized.
“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," Mitch Kweit, senior vice president of the "Brainroom," said in a statement. "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.”