ABC News' Brian Ross Suspended Without Pay for Fake News

Posted: Dec 02, 2017 8:00 PM

CNN's Oliver Darcy reports that Brian Ross has been suspended by ABC News for four weeks without pay due to his negligent reporting yesterday on General Michael Flynn and Donald Trump. 

"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 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."

"It is vital we get the story right and retain the trust we have built with our audience -- these are our core principles," the statement added. "We fell far short of that yesterday."

As reported earlier, this "serious error" had a major impact on the economy. The stock market dropped nearly 400 points after it was initially reported that "candidate" Trump instructed Michael Flynn to speak with Russian operatives when in reality it was "president-elect" Donald Trump. 

This is not the first time that a major network has had a disastrous report during the Trump administration that led to disciplinary action. Earlier it was noted that "to the network's credit, numerous people at CNN resigned after their news team ran a false report linking former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci with Russian operatives. It will be interesting to see what steps ABC makes to repair their relationship with the public, and for that matter with the truth." 

It appears these "steps" are suspending their lead anchor, but the episode doesn't sit easy with all ABC staffers. Several anonymous sources told Darcy they feel uneasy about the error. 

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Multiple ABC News employees, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they weren't publicly authorized to discuss the matter, told CNNMoney on Saturday there was internal embarrassment over the blunder.

"It's a major embarrassment," one ABC News employee said.

"It makes me cringe," echoed another. "This is not what any networks needs when people are so quick to say 'fake news' to you. It makes me sick to my stomach."

This is not the first high-profile mistake by Ross. In a 2012 piece for which he apologized, he suggested that the Aurora shooter may have had a connection to the Tea Party.