Yesterday, ABC news ran a story that clearly implied that, before November 8, 2017, Donald Trump had ordered Michael Flynn to contact the Russians for some unknown purpose. The purpose was hinted at as being nefarious as, according to the story, Flynn was going to squeal to Mueller about it.
This was not just any story. The Dow Jones noticed immediately, dropping 300 points following the time this story aired.
The story began to unravel very quickly but it took some seven hours for ABC to make a retraction…or rather, as they call it, a “clarification.”
The error was so egregious that even the media noticed:
Astonishing. The story moved markets, set off a media frenzy, suggested worst possible outcome. This is called a massive correction, or retraction, not clarification. https://t.co/uVUamf4jYY
— Jim VandeHei (@JimVandeHei) December 2, 2017
Now the hammer has come down:
New: ABC News has suspended Brian Ross for four weeks, without pay, for his erroneous report about General Michael Flynn.
— Yashar Ali ? (@yashar) December 2, 2017
— ABC News (@ABC) December 2, 2017
This is well trod ground for Brian Ross. If you recall, back in 2012 there was a shooting in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. Brian Ross was on the scene identifying the shooter as a Tea Party member.
Editor’s Note: An earlier ABC News broadcast report suggested that a Jim Holmes of a Colorado Tea Party organization might be the suspect, but that report was incorrect. ABC News and Brian Ross apologize for the mistake, and for disseminating that information before it was properly vetted.
Brian Ross reported Saddam Hussein was behind the 2001 anthrax attacks.
I explicitly told ABC News not to go with the anthrax story because it was wrong. Brian Ross went with it anyway – and one week later issued a murky, hard to understand correction. https://t.co/JKB5Wtepwq
— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) December 2, 2017
In an episode very similar to yesterday’s, Ross portrayed Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan’s contacts with a radical cleric as him “reaching out to al Qaeda.”
ABC retracted a Brian Ross story in which he claimed that a guy released from Guantanamo was behind the 2009 “underwear bomber” when he was actually in Saudi custody.
And remember the time he staged footage of a “runaway” Toyota?
Brian Ross is a dangerous man. Four weeks off, playing golf with Brian Williams and Dan Rather, is nothing.
So, Brian Ross is getting December off for totally screwing pooch on the scoop of the century, tanking market, lying & calling it a clarification.
— Mary Katharine Ham (@mkhammer) December 2, 2017