So, where’s veteran ABC News reporter Brian Ross? The embattled reporter who went off half-cocked in December over a Trump-Russia story has not returned to work. Earlier last month, Ross reported that Michael Flynn, who later became Donald Trumps’ short-lived national security adviser, was instructed to make contact with the Russians during the 2016 campaign. It was actually after Trump won the election and was part of your typical laying of a diplomatic groundwork game that’s part of every transition for an incoming administration.
The news tanked the markets by 350 points on December 1 as a result. It was a total disaster. First, it took the network several hours to issue a correction that they botched the dates in their story. ABC News president, James Goldston, reportedly torched the news division, adding that the sloppy work will only make their jobs harder for the future. That and his anger over the larger point that they failed to make sure that this information was factually accurate. It was a tongue lashing that was warranted.
My job is to hold people accountable and that’s why I agree with being held accountable myself.
— Brian Ross (@BrianRoss) December 3, 2017
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) January 2, 2018
As for Ross, ABC News suspended him for four weeks without pay. And this isn’t his first foul-up. Ross has done this before. In 2012, after the tragic Aurora shooting, he said that the shooter, James Holmes, might be a member of the Tea Party. That was not accurate either. Those are the most recent flubs. He’s stepped on quite a few rakes throughout his career. As of today, his suspension is over. So, where is he? Well, ABC News is mum on the subject about Ross returning to ABC News (via Fox News):
Ross was placed on a four-week, unpaid suspension after he reported incorrectly on live television that fired National Security Adviser Michael Flynn would testify that Trump had ordered him to make contact with Russians about foreign policy while Trump was still a candidate. The report raised the specter of Trump’s impeachment and sent the stock market plummeting.
After ABC was forced to retract the report, ABC News President James Goldston said on a staff conference call that he’d never felt more “rage, disappointment and frustration” in his entire career, and that Ross would never cover Trump again.
Today, an ABC News spokesperson declined to comment on whether Ross will ever be returning to work at all.
“Sounds like separation negotiations,” an industry insider told Fox News.
Ross’ gaffe was the latest in a series of black marks for the multi-award winning reporter, who has been at ABC News since 1994 after spending nearly two decades at NBC. He has not been sanctioned for past errors.
In 2001, Ross incorrectly reported that Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi dictatorship may have been responsible for anthrax attacks that terrorized the United States in the months after 9/11. Then-White House press secretary Ari Fleischer tweeted last month that he “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 2006, Ross reported that then-House Speaker Dennis Hastert was a target of a federal corruption probe involving former lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Despite the Justice Department’s denial, Ross insisted that Hastert was “very much in the mix” of the investigation. Hastert was never approached by prosecutors.
In 2010, Ross fronted a report called “Taking on Toyota,” which claimed that some of the Japanese automaker’s cars contained a defect that caused “unintended acceleration.” The report included footage of a tachometer shooting from 1,000 to 6,200 RPM in seconds while Ross sat behind the wheel. However, the same footage showed that the car Ross was inside was parked with the doors open at the time.
The future sounds quite shaky for Mr. Ross.