ABC News has announced the suspension of the correspondent behind an erroneous report that led to a 350-point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and forced the network to issue several embarrassing corrections.
Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross has been suspended without pay for four weeks, according to Fox News.
In a statement cited by Fox, ABC said Ross’ report “had not been fully vetted through our editorial standards process.”
ABC News was widely criticized Friday for inaccurately reporting a key detail involving special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
It was hours later that the network finally corrected its story.
Flynn pleaded guilty Friday to “willfully and knowingly” making “false, fictitious and fraudulent statements” regarding conversations he had with former Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak.
During a live “Special Report,” Ross reported that Flynn was getting ready to testify that while Donald Trump was a candidate for president, he instructed Flynn to make contact with the Russians.
To back up his report, Ross cited an anonymous confidant of Flynn.
Such testimony, if true, could support claims that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in order to win the 2016 presidential election.
In light of this news, the stock market immediately suffered that afternoon, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropping more than 350 points.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) December 1, 2017
Ross’ report, however, turned out to be false. It was during the transition period, after Trump had already been elected president, that the then-president-elect told Flynn to contact the Russians, according to the Flynn confidant.
Trump’s instruction to Flynn, then, could not have influenced the election, given that Election Day had already passed and Trump was set to be inaugurated.
ABC deleted the tweet in which they had cited Ross’ original tweet.
— 🇺🇸 NewUSCitizen (@TrumpUSCitizen) December 2, 2017
Hours after the original report came out, Ross had to correct what he had said on “ABC World News Tonight.”
“(A) clarification tonight on something one of Flynn’s confidants told us and we reported earlier today,” he said, according to CNN.
“He said the president had asked Flynn to contact Russia during the campaign. He’s now clarifying that saying, according to Flynn, candidate Trump asked him during the campaign to find ways to repair relations with Russia and other world hot spots. And then after the election, the president-elect asked him to contact Russia on issues including working together to fight ISIS.”
That evening, the network also took to Twitter to issue a “clarification” on its inaccurate reporting.
However, many people, including well-known conservative figures, still criticized the network, claiming that a “clarification” was not enough to remedy the issue.
.@ABC “news” owes it viewers an apology. Calling false reporting a “clarification” is a cop out and just another reason for the decline in trust of the media
— Sean Spicer (@seanspicer) December 2, 2017
What makes it worse is that ABC won’t admit its error and now tries to sugar coat it with now calling their correction just a ‘clarification’ – (and other news organizations of course repeated ABC original story) https://t.co/bgZhtK40wB
— Greta Van Susteren (@greta) December 2, 2017
However, as pointed out by many users on social media, ABC’s incorrect reporting had consequences.
— Eric Bolling (@ericbolling) December 2, 2017
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) December 1, 2017
The stock market eventually recovered most of its losses on the day. When the closing bell rung, the Dow had only lost 40.76 points, according to Reuters.
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