BOZELL: Brian Ross Should Be Fired
When you’re the source for “breaking news” but it turns out to be “faking news,” you’re in trouble.
ABC News “chief investigative correspondent” Brian Ross reported on retired Army Gen. Michael Flynn’s plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller by claiming that Flynn is “prepared to testify that President Trump, as a candidate, Donald Trump, ordered him, directed him to make contact with the Russians which contradicts all that Donald Trump has said to this point.”
It was a nuclear explosion. Within minutes, the stock market plunged 350 points.
It quickly became clear that was flat-out wrong. Later, ABC News added on the evening news what it disingenuously called a “clarification” — actually, it said, Trump directed Flynn to contact the Russians after the election. Not only is that not scandalous but it is also completely expected for a new president. After more uproar, ABC finally found the reporting to be a “serious error” and suspended Ross for four weeks without pay.
It’s a classic journalistic mistake to try and be first to report something before it’s verified. But in the Trump era, when liberals believe the president is a uniquely dangerous threat to America — and even the world — any news that could lead to speculation about Trump’s impeachment or resignation is like catnip. Journalists are prone to overhype anything that could spell “The End.”
This suspension might have been an adequate punishment … if Ross hadn’t already made a long line of whoppers. Conservatives remember the 2012 movie theater mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado, by James Holmes and how Ross came on in breaking-news mode to announce that there was a “Jim Holmes” on a Colorado Tea Party Patriots website … as if that were a perfect starting point to identifying a mass shooter. It wasn’t.
But there are more.
In 2001, Ross claimed that the anthrax used in deadly attacks after 9/11 in Washington, D.C., and New York was coated with bentonite, a chemical compound found only in biological weapons made by then-Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s henchmen. Former President George W. Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer remembers the event. He tweeted: “I explicitly told ABC News not to go with the anthrax story because it was wrong. Brian Ross went with it anyway — and one week later issued a murky, hard to understand correction.”
In the first month of the Iraq War in 2003, Ross reported that Hussein’s cousin Ali Hassan al-Majid (or “Chemical Ali”), an Iraqi general, had been killed. Several media outlets forwarded that report. Six months later, U.S. officials announced that they had him in custody.
In 2006, Ross claimed that Pakistani officials had arrested al-Qaida explosives expert Matiur Rehman, who had an “official” list of terrorist recruits and could lead to then-al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. A Pakistani official denounced the report as “fictitious.” Then-ABC consultant Alexis Debat warned ABC that the report was not true a day after it was initially broadcast.
In that same year, Ross breathlessly relayed that the FBI was investigating then-House Speaker Dennis Hastert for bribery in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal. “Justice Department officials describe the 64-year-old Illinois Republican as very much in the mix of the corruption investigation,” he said. This prompted the Justice Department to deny that there was any federal probe of Hastert, and Hastert demanded a retraction of the statement and threatened to sue ABC.
None of these whoppers ever led to any suspension of Ross, who’s been at ABC since 1994. His liberal colleagues have given him six Peabody awards and six George Polk awards, so his reputation inside the network was apparently unscathed by his large errors.
It’s a little bizarre that these days, alleged sexual harassers like Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer are dumped abruptly, while Brian Williams has an hourlong nightly show on MSNBC, and Brian Ross gets a slap on the wrist. These supposed guardians against “fake news” make it look like fact mangling isn’t really a serious offense. Brian Ross should be fired.
L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center. Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org. To find out more about Brent Bozell III and Tim Graham, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.
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Last Updated: Tuesday, Dec 05, 2017 16:03:19 -0800
Founder and president of the Media Research Center, Mr. Bozell runs the largest media watchdog organization in America. Established in 1987, the MRC has made “media bias” a household term, tracking it daily and printing the compiled evidence biweekly in its well-known Notable Quotables, as well as the daily CyberAlert intelligence report on the Internet. His most recent book, Whitewash: What the Media Won’t Tell You About Hillary Clinton, but Conservatives Will, was released in November 2007. His previous book, Weapons of Mass Distortion: The Coming Meltdown of the Liberal Media, was released in July 2004.
In 1998, Mr. Bozell launched CNSNews.com, an online news service with an emphasis on investigative journalism. CNSNews.com has become a major Internet news source with a full staff of journalists in its Washington, D.C. metro bureau, with other correspondents around the world. In October 2006, Mr. Bozell founded the Culture and Media Institute (CMI), whose mission is to thwart the efforts of the liberal media to subvert America’s culture, character, traditional moral values and religious liberty. CMI complements the MRC’s Business and Media Institute (BMI), founded in 1992 to bring balance to economic reporting and to promote fair portrayal of the business community in the media.
Mr. Bozell has also launched a number of other websites under the MRC umbrella including www.mediaresearch.org, www.timeswatch.org, www.mrcaction.org and www.Newsbusters.org, a “blog” site that became one of the top 15 blog sites in America within two months of its launch in 2005.
Founder and former president of the Parents Television Council, Mr. Bozell established the largest Hollywood-based organization dedicated to restoring responsibility to the entertainment industry. The PTC at http://www.parentstv.org features the “Family Guide to Prime Time Television,” which aids parents in making informed viewing decisions for their children. PTC conducted the largest national newspaper ad campaign in history with late Honorary Chairman Steve Allen, and has mobilized almost one million parents and other concerned members behind its efforts.
Mr. Bozell is a nationally syndicated columnist whose work appears in publications such as Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The New York Post, The Los Angeles Times, Investors Business Daily and National Review. He is regularly invited to provide media expertise on news programs by all the major networks and cable affiliates. He is frequently invited to appear on Fox News Channel shows such as Fox & Friends, Hannity & Colmes and The O’Reilly Factor, and other appearances include NBC's Today show, CNN's Inside Politics and Larry King Live, ABC's Good Morning America, C-SPAN, CBN and Entertainment Tonight. He has appeared as a guest and guest host on hundreds of radio shows, from local talk shows to ABC Radio, NPR’s Morning Edition, the Michael Reagan Show and the Rush Limbaugh Show.
Named the 1998 Pew Memorial Lecturer by Grove City College, Mr. Bozell is a frequent speaking guest on school campuses and for civic and political organizations around the country.
Mr. Bozell received his B.A. in History from the University of Dallas, where he was named the 1998 Alumnus of the Year. He is married, with five children and two grandchildren.
Originally posted at http://get.creators.com/content/release/217859.