ABC News on Saturday apologized and suspended Brian Ross over a bombshell — but incorrect — report on President Donald Trump and former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s previous outreach to Russian officials.
“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,” ABC News said in a statement.
Ross will be suspended for four weeks without pay.
As news of Flynn’s plea deal for lying to the FBI was breaking Friday, Ross incorrectly reported based on an unnamed source that Flynn would testify then-candidate Trump “directed him to make contact with the Russians.”
The network later issued an on-air “clarification” that their source had explained it was only after the election, and during the transition period, that “President-elect Trump asked [Flynn] to contact Russia on issues including working together to fight ISIS.”
Conservatives and prominent commentators lambasted ABC News for taking hours to correct its report. The network then issued a full correction.
This is not the first time that Ross has had to walk back a report. After the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colo. in 2012, Ross reported that the shooter, James Holmes, may have had connections to the Tea Party, based on a single web page listing the name of a man named “Jim Holmes.”