ABC News suspends Brian Ross for “serious error” in the Flynn report –

ABC News suspends Brian Ross for “serious error” in the Flynn report


  Brian Ross appears at the Republican National Convention last year in Cleveland.

Brian Ross appears at the Republican National Convention last year in Cleveland.

(Ida Mae Astute / ABC)

ABC News announced on Saturday that Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross had been suspended for four weeks without payment for a failed "exclusive" about former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

The Ross suspension goes into effect immediately. ABC News spokeswoman Heather Riley did not comment on whether anyone else had been suspended in connection with the error.

During a live "special report" on Friday morning, Ross reported that Flynn would testify that Donald Trump had ordered him to contact Russians about foreign policy while Trump was still a candidate. The report raised the specter of Trump's impeachment and caused a collapse in the stock market.

Later, ABC News, part of the reliably liberal Disney ABC television network, issued a "clarification" of Ross's report, saying that Trump's supposed directive came after he had been elected president. That is a key distinction in any investigation of Russian actions during the campaign. Ross himself appeared in "World News Tonight" several hours after the initial report to clarify his error.

In a statement, ABC News said Ross' report "had not been completely revised through our editorial standards process."

It is vital that we have the right story and that we maintain the trust we have built with our audience, "the ABC statement added." These are our basic principles. We were short of that yesterday. "

Friday's fumble was another of a series of black marks for Ross, who has been on ABC News since 1994 after spending nearly two decades on NBC. [19659007] In 2001, Ross incorrectly reported that the Iraqi dictatorship of Saddam Hussein may have been responsible for the anthrax attacks that terrorized the United States in the months after September 11. The then White House press secretary, Ari Fleischer, tweeted on Saturday that "He explicitly told ABC News that he would not accept the anthrax story because he was wrong.

"Brian Ross did it anyway, and a week later he issued a cloudy tone, difficult to understand the correction," Fleischer added.

In 2006, Ross reported that then Speaker of the House of Representatives Dennis Hastert was the target of a federal corruption investigation involving former lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Despite denial from the Justice Department, Ross insisted that Hastert was "much in the mix" of the investigation. Prosecutors never approached Hastert.

In 2010, Ross presented a report entitled "Taking Toyota," which claimed that some of the cars of the Japanese automaker contained a defect that caused "involuntary acceleration." "The report included images of a tachometer that fired from 1,000 to 6,200 RPM in seconds while Ross sat behind the wheel, but the same footage showed that the car Ross was sitting in was parked with the doors open in time.

In a letter to ABC News at the time, Toyota complained that the work of a key Ross expert quoted in his report was funded by "a paid advocate for litigation attorneys involved in litigation against Toyota." The manufacturer added that the expert's demonstrations were carried out "in conditions virtually impossible to occur under real conditions."

Perhaps more infamous, Ross reported in 2012 that Colorado film shooter James Holmes may have had links to the Tea Party movement

"There is also a Jim Holmes page from Aurora, Colorado on the Colorado Tea Party site, talking about who joined the tea party last year," Ross reported on "Good Morning America." "Now, we do not do it." "If this is Jim Holmes himself, but this is Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado."

Ross later apologized for the report, but received outrageous criticism, including the fact that he was rated "America's Wrongest Reporter" by the now defunct Gawker website.

"When t Here's the breaking news, especially about terrorism and national security, Brian Ross of ABC News is there," wrote John Cook in a post on the gossip blog, before adding, " and under no circumstances should you hear anything he says. "

Sources tell Fox News that ABC has reduced the size of the Ross producer team and provided fewer on-air platforms for their reports. However, a connoisseur at ABC said this had less to do with Ross' mistakes than ABC's less interest in hard news and research reports.

The reliably liberal ABC News has continued to repeat anti-Trump reports, employing former operative Clinton George Stephanopoulos as its main anchor. ABC Chief Global Affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz was called by then-President-elect Trump to mourn the night of the election (she denies it), and former President Obama attended his second of three weddings.

ABC's scheduled entertainment programming is also notoriously liberal, with the network recently spending $ 25 million to employ Clinton activist Katy Perry as judge for a rebooted "American Idol" season.

Meanwhile, it has been reported that Disney CEO Bob Iger has ambitions to run for the White House and plans to retire before 2020 and could challenge Trump as the Democratic candidate.

Brian Flood of Fox News contributed to this report.

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