ABC News announced Saturday it had imposed a month-long suspension on veteran chief investigative reporter Brian Ross for an inaccurate story delivered on Friday morning.
In a statement released Saturday, the network admitted Ross’ error, explained it occurred as a result of failure to observe proper vetting procedures and announced Ross had been suspended without pay.
“We deeply regret and apologize for the serious error we made yesterday. The reporting . . . had not been fully vetted through our editorial 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,” ABC’s statement over the matter read.
The controversy revolves around a Friday story by Ross and two fellow ABC reporters, Matthew Mosk and Josh Margolin. In their original story, the trio reported former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn was preparing to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
During an on-air special report Friday morning, Ross broadcast Flynn, who had entered a plea of guilty for one count of lying to the FBI earlier in the day, was prepared to testify then-candidate Trump had instructed Flynn to enter into conversation with Russian officials over foreign policy matters.
A statement with a devastating implication, the report asserted then-candidate Trump had cooperated with Russia during the 2016 presidential election, fueling theories Mr. Trump’s impeachment was imminent.
Ross’ false reporting had staggering effects as it inspired numerous media reports and triggered a plunge in U.S. stock prices as the Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled over 300 points.
Hours later, Ross returned to the air on World News Tonight to offer a correction, saying an associate of Flynn told ABC Flynn was told to work on repairing relations with the Kremlin and to contact Russian officials regarding foreign policy, notably the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS), only after he had been elected to the White House.
Ross later shared on Twitter he agreed with the suspension, but offered no apology to Trump or Flynn.
Following the report, its retraction, and Ross’ suspension, President Trump blasted Ross and the network, saying investors should file litigation against ABC for “False and Dishonest” reporting which shook the markets and caused investors to lose millions.
People who lost money when the Stock Market went down 350 points based on the False and Dishonest reporting of Brian Ross of @ABC News (he has been suspended), should consider hiring a lawyer and suing ABC for the damages this bad reporting has caused – many millions of dollars!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 3, 2017
The Walt Disney Company, ABC’s parent, declined to comment on Trump’s tweet.
[NBC News] [ABC News] [Bloomberg] [Photo courtesy Breitbart]