Solomon came under FBI scrutiny after he picketed for the desegregation of a Maryland apartment complex at age 14. As a high school senior, he drew further FBI surveillance for his efforts on behalf of the Montgomery County Student Alliance activist group. He became aware of their surveillance later, through a Freedom of Information request. He attended Reed College, but left before graduating. In Portland, Oregon, he was an activist against nuclear power and nuclear weapons and was a researcher for the Committee for U.S. Veterans of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
In September 1984, Solomon served 10 days in jail for obstructing railroad tracks in Vancouver, Washington, to block a train carrying U.S. Department of Energy cargo bound for the U.S. Naval submarine base in Bangor, Washington. USNAVSUBASE Bangor was a home port for submarines armed with Trident D-5 missiles. Soon afterward, Solomon became "disarmament director" for the interfaith Fellowship of Reconciliation, working at its headquarters in Nyack, New York until 1986.
As a freelance reporter, Solomon worked for Pacific News Service and Pacifica Radio. He made eight trips to Moscow during the 1980s. In February 1986, he and U.S. military veteran Anthony Guarisco engaged in a sit-in at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, demanding that the U.S. join the Soviet Union in a nuclear test ban. In 1988, Solomon worked briefly as a spokesperson for the Alliance of Atomic Veterans in Washington, D.C. In August 1988, Solomon was hired to run the new Washington, D.C. office of FAIR.
His book Target Iraq: What the News Media Didn’t Tell You (co-authored with Reese Erlich) was published in 2003 and translated into German, Italian, Hungarian, Portuguese, and Korean. War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death appeared in 2005. The Los Angeles Times called the book "brutally persuasive." A documentary based on the book was released in 2007.
A collection of Solomon’s columns won the George Orwell Award for Distinguished Contribution to Honesty and Clarity in Public Language. The award, presented by the National Council of Teachers of English, honored Solomon’s book The Habits of Highly Deceptive Media. In the introduction to that book, Jonathan Kozol wrote: "The tradition of Upton Sinclair, Lincoln Steffens, and I.F. Stone does not get much attention these days in the mainstream press ... but that tradition is alive and well in this collection of courageously irreverent columns on the media by Norman Solomon. ... He fights the good fight without fear of consequence. He courts no favors. He writes responsibly and is meticulous on details, but he does not choke on false civility."
Solomon is the founder and executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, a national consortium of policy researchers and analysts. Barbara Ehrenreich has called him "one of the sharpest media-watchers in the business."
Book Review: 'Easy' takes hard look at wartime PR.('War Made Easy' by Norman Solomon)(public relation)(Brief Article)(Book Review)
Jul 18, 2005; Title War Made Easy Author Norman Solomon Publisher John Wiley & Sons (July 2005), 314 pages Reviewed by Hamilton Nolan If so,...