ABC News Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross was issued a four-week suspension without pay on Saturday by the leftist news hub as punishment for delivering an “exclusive” report riddled with “fake news” about former U.S. National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
ABC News Spokeswoman Heather Riley announced that Ross will begin serving his suspension effective immediately, but she would not divulge details as to whether or not any other news staff was slated for suspension concerning the falsified report on Flynn.
“We deeply regret and apologize for the serious error we made yesterday,” ABC News’ statement on the matter read Saturday, according to Fox News. “The reporting conveyed by Brian Ross during the special report had not been fully vetted through our traditional standards process. As a result of our continued reporting over the next several hours, ultimately, we determined the information was wrong and we corrected the mistake on air and online.”
A formal apology was included in the announcement.
“It is vital we get the story right and retain the trust we have built with our audience – these are our core principles,” the statement added. “We fell far short of that yesterday. Effective immediately, Brian Ross will be suspended for four weeks without pay.”
The “fake news” delivered by Ross also attempted to incriminate President Donald Trump in the so-called “Russia collusion scandal” that the left-leaning news media has been relentlessly trying to push on the American public for months and months.
“During a live ‘special report’ Friday morning, Ross reported that Flynn would testify that Donald Trump had ordered him to make contact with Russians about foreign policy while Trump was still a candidate,” Fox News’ Samuel Chamberlain reported. “The report raised the specter of Trump's impeachment and sent the stock market plummeting [nearly 400 points].”
Ross made no attempt to defend his reporting error and immediately admitted his guilt in delivering fake news via social media.
“My job is to hold people accountable, and that’s why I agree with being held accountable myself,” Ross tweeted yesterday.
ABC News wasted little time to set the record straight on television to its viewership and reveal the inaccuracy.
“Later in the day, ABC News – part of the reliably liberal Disney ABC Television Network – issued a ‘clarification’ to Ross's report, saying that Trump's alleged directive came after he'd been elected president,” Chamberlain informed. “That's a key distinction in any investigation of Russian actions during the campaign. Ross himself appeared on World News Tonight several hours after the initial report to clarify his error.”
Trump commended ABC News for setting the story straight.
“Congratulations to @ABC News for suspending Brian Ross for his horrendously inaccurate and dishonest report on the Russia, Russia, Russia Witch Hunt.” Trump posted on Twitter last night. “More Networks and ‘papers’ should do the same with their Fake News!”
The tweet came after Trump more explicitly addressed the left-leaning new slant coming out of the mainstream media.
“Just before his ABC News tweet, Trump called attention to what he views as double standard between how Hillary Clinton's email scandal was handled by the FBI versus the controversy surrounding Flynn, who pleaded guilty in federal court Friday to lying to the FBI about his talks with Russian officials,” the Washington Examiner reported. “Flynn also agreed to cooperate with Mueller's team, which is investigating Russian meddling [in] the 2016 election and possible ties between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.”
Trump showed little concern that the leftist mainstream media would succeed in its drawn-out smear campaign of his administration.
“Trump – who is reportedly saying he expects to wrap up by the year's end – was asked by reporters Saturday morning if he was worried about what Flynn might tell Mueller, [and he] said, ‘No, I am not,’" the Examiner’s Daniel Chaitin divulged. “Trump also insisted that ‘there has been absolutely no collusion’ between his campaign and Russia during the 2016 campaign.”
Exposing the war on Trump
Flynn is one of many on the list of Republicans who have been falsely portrayed by the leftist media.
“This is not the first time that a major network has had a disastrous report during the Trump administration that led to disciplinary action,” Townhall reported. “Earlier, it was noted that – to the network's credit – numerous people at CNN resigned after their news team ran a false report linking former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci with Russian operatives.”
Speculation now abounds as to whether ABC News’ attempt to regain trust with its viewership has only just begun.
“It will be interesting to see what steps ABC makes to repair their relationship with the public – and for that matter with the truth," Townhall’s Timothy Meads anticipated. “It appears these ‘steps’ are suspending their lead anchor, but the episode doesn't sit easy with all ABC staffers.”
CNN's Oliver Darcy was told by a number of sources working at ABC News – who wished to remain anonymous because they were not permitted to discuss the situation publicly – that they are extremely uncomfortable and embarrassed about Ross’s error.
"It's a major embarrassment," an ABC News employee told CNNMoney on Saturday.
Another ABC News staffer felt the same way.
"It makes me cringe," one employee at ABC News expressed. "This is not what any networks needs when people are so quick to say 'fake news' to you. It makes me sick to my stomach."
Consistent false reporting
Since Ross joined ABC in 1994 after nearly two decades with NBC, his news coverage has been regularly marred with false reporting.
“In 2001, Ross incorrectly reported that Saddam Hussein's Iraqi dictatorship may have been responsible for anthrax attacks that terrorized the United States in the months after 9/11,” Fox News informed.
Then-White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer tweeted about Ross’ concerted act of deceit.
“I explicitly told ABC News not to go with the anthrax story because it was wrong,” Fleischer posted on Twitter Saturday. "Brian Ross went with it anyway – and one week later, issued a murky, hard-to-understand correction."
Another major fake news report was aired by Ross five years later.
“In 2006, Ross reported that then-House Speaker Dennis Hastert was a target of a federal corruption probe involving former lobbyist Jack Abramoff,” Chamberlain noted.” Despite the Justice Department's denial, Ross insisted that Hastert was ‘very much in the mix’ of the investigation. Hastert was never approached by prosecutors.”
And Ross’ falsified reports extend outside the world of politics, as well – into the automotive industry.
“In 2010, Ross fronted a report called ‘Taking on Toyota,’ which claimed that some of the Japanese automaker's cars contained a defect that caused ‘unintended acceleration.’" Chamberlain continued. “The report included footage of a tachometer shooting from 1,000 to 6,200 RPM in seconds while Ross sat behind the wheel. However, the same footage showed that the car Ross was sitting in was parked with the doors open at the time.”
Toyota did not stand by to let Ross get away with his smear campaign aimed at bringing Japan’s largest automaker down in court.
“In a letter to ABC News at the time, Toyota complained that the work by a key expert Ross cited in his report was funded by ‘a paid advocate for trial lawyers involved in litigation against Toyota,’" Chamberlin noted. “The carmaker added that the expert's demonstrations were carried out ‘under conditions that are virtually impossible to occur in real-world conditions.’"
Ross endured the most negative exposure over his 2012 false report attempting to connect James Holmes – the Colorado movie theater shooter – to the conservative Tea Party movement.
"There is a Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado, page on the Colorado Tea Party site as well, talking about him joining the tea party last year," Ross expressed on Good Morning America five years ago. "Now, we don’t know if this is the same Jim Holmes – but this is Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado."
After apologizing for the false connection, blogger John Cook declared Ross “America’s Wrongest Reporter” on the now-defunct Gawker website.
"When there's breaking news – especially about terrorism and national security – ABC News' Brian Ross is there," Cook proclaimed on the gossip blog. "And under no circumstances should you listen to anything he says."
Sorry, but not stopping?
Even though the apologies abounded yesterday, it is reported that ABC News is showing no signs of deviating from its leftward slant in its news coverage – despite its attempt to save face with its handling of Ross.
“Sources tell Fox News that ABC has cut the size of Ross' team of producers and provided him with fewer on-air platforms for his reporting,” Chamberlain maintained. “An ABC insider said, however, that this had less to do with Ross' errors than with ABC's diminished interest in hard news and investigative reporting.”
Favoring Democrats over Republicans has been the tradition at ABC News for many years.
“Reliably liberal ABC News has, however, continued its drumbeat of anti-Trump reporting, employing former Clinton operative George Stephanopoulos as its principal anchor,” Chamberlin pointed out. “ABC's Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz was called out by then-President elect Trump for crying on air on election night (she denies this), and former President Obama attended her second of three weddings.”
In fact, drawing in anti-Trump sentiment and proclaiming allegiance to the Democratic Party are anything but concealed at the Disney-owned ABC network.
“ABC's beleaguered entertainment programming is also notoriously liberal, with the network recently shelling out an eye-popping $25 million to employ Clinton activist Katy Perry as a judge for a rebooted season of American Idol,” Fox News explained. “Meanwhile, Disney CEO Bob Iger is widely reported to have ambitions to run for the White House himself and plans to step down prior to the 2020, and could challenge Trump as the Democratic nominee.”