ABC News has suspended anchor Brian Ross after having to correct what initially seemed to be a bombshell story on President Trump and former national security adviser Michael Flynn that sent markets tumbling.
The veteran newsman has a long history of erroneous reports.
“We deeply regret and apologize for the serious error we made yesterday. The reporting conveyed by Brian Ross during the special report had not been fully vetted through our editorial standards process,” the network said in a statement. “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.”
Ross, citing a single anonymous source, falsely reported that Flynn was prepared to testify that Trump ordered him to make contacts with the Russians during the campaign. ABC News later corrected the report, saying the still-unnamed source had “clarified” that Trump’s order took place after the election, during his administration’s transition phase into power.
“It was shortly after the election, that President-elect Trump directed Flynn to contact Russian officials on topics that included working jointly against ISIS,” ABC News said in their correction.
That correction turned a bombshell story — which appeared to undercut Trump’s longstanding claim that he never ordered anyone to contact the Russians during the campaign — into a relatively benign one. (RELATED: ABC’s Flynn-Trump Report Caused Panic In The Stock Market — Then They Corrected The Story [VIDEO])
“It is vital we get the story right and retain the trust we have built with our audience –- these are our core principles. We fell far short of that yesterday. Effective immediately, Brian Ross will be suspended for four weeks without pay,” the network said in its statement.
Ross has a history of spreading fake news.
In 2012, Politico described Ross as responsible for “more high-level haphazard reporting than perhaps any other reporter on television.”
That came after Ross incorrectly linked Aurora, Colorado mass shooter James Holmes to the Tea Party movement.
“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 said in a statement at the time. “ABC News and Brian Ross apologize for the mistake, and for disseminating that information before it was properly vetted.”