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ABC suspends journalist Brian Ross over erroneous Trump report

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The New York Times reports that Brian Ross, a veteran investigative journalist for ABC News, has been suspended today over mis-reporting on yesterday’s Michael Flynn conviction. (Meanwhile, permit us a personal note: While we don’t want to suggest that we’re taking journalistic mis-steps lightly here, it’s hard to overemphasize how incredibly refreshing it is to start a sentence about a prominent man being suspended for something in late 2017 that doesn’t end in words like “sexual harassment or assault.”)

Ross was heavily chastised for reporting that took place yesterday, in which he stated that Flynn—the former National Security Adviser who plead guilty yesterday to one charge of lying to the FBI about his dealings with Russian diplomats—had talked to foreign governments on behalf of “candidate” Donald Trump. The incident in question actually happened in December, after the election, meaning that Trump was already president-elect; an admittedly important distinction, given that Trump has been repeatedly accused of inviting the Russian government to tamper with the 2016 election campaign.


ABC issued a “clarification” that evolved into a “correction,” along with an apology, over the last 24 hours:

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.


Meanwhile, Trump himself—beholden to the far less rigorous standard of honesty we hold our elected officials to as a matter of course—is still president, and will remain so for the foreseeable future.