"We deeply regret and apologize for the serious error we made yesterday," said ABC in a statement over the weekend. "The reporting conveyed by Brian Ross during the special report had not been fully vetted through our editorial standards process."
ABC's statement ultimately conveyed that reporter Brian Ross, the chief investigative correspondent for ABC News, has been suspended for four weeks without pay. The suspension came after Ross inaccurately reported that Michael T. Flynn, the former national security adviser to President Trump, would soon testify that then-candidate Trump ordered him to make contact with Russian officials.
Ross's inaccurate report, which he said came from an anonymous "confidant" of Flynn, was part of a larger and ongoing media effort to prove that Trump colluded with the Russian government while he was still a candidate. The network's official tweet about this report was shared more than 25,000 times. It quickly became one of the biggest news stories of the week.
The mainstream media weren't the only ones spreading this news. Talk shows and alternative media outlets also began reporting on the news, claiming that this was it for President Trump. One host on "The View," for instance, could be heard chanting "Lock him up!" after hearing the news. Other mainstream media outlets could be heard reporting that this was only the "tip of the iceberg."
The New York Times now reports that the false media report only fuels the fire of President Trump and other conservatives who have attacked the credibility of mainstream news organizations, particularly those who have reported negatively about the current administration. And in many ways, the New York Times is right. President Trump will surely bring this up during his upcoming appearances, and this will certainly chip away at the remaining trust that Trump supporters have in the mainstream news media.
Hours after ABC's statement, President Trump went to Twitter in order to congratulate the network for suspending Ross.
In particular, Trump remarked that Ross had reported "horrendously inaccurate and dishonest" news. It was a "dishonest report on the Russia, Russia, Russia Witch Hunt" that represented a prime example of what the president so often calls "Fake News."
He then encouraged his supporters to sue ABC News for whatever money they lost as a result of the news report.
On Friday, the market took a dive, in part due to Ross' report. As a result, Trump went to Twitter on Sunday to make the recommendation to anyone who lost money in the markets on Friday to sue ABC and Ross.
Ari Fleischer, the former press secretary for President W. Bush, remarked that this is only the latest in a series of major high-profile reporting mistakes by Ross.
Back in 2001, Ross falsely reported that there was a connection between Iraq and the dictator Saddam Hussein, particularly in relation to an anthrax attack on the United States. Then, in 2012, Ross and ABC issued an apology for incorrectly claiming that a shooter in Colorado was involved with a Tea Party organization.
CNBC News writes that Trump's war with the media has become more personal and more intense than ever before. As a result, it has caused many conservatives to view the mainstream media with an unhealthy suspicion. At the same time, however, they claim that it has caused many reporters to "abandon journalistic ethics and safeguards that make journalism a profession in the first place."
"Professionalism in journalism means more than just sticking to facts and fairness," writes CNBC.
They continue, "We want a vigilant and skeptical news media to keep the White House and all our elected leaders honest. But Trump's first 10 months in office have exposed a news media that seems more like an opposing party hopeful for a chance to bring him down at any cost."
President Trump's former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, pleaded guilty on Friday morning for lying to the FBI about conversations with the Russians last December. The conversation occurred with a Russian ambassador during the presidential transition.
Despite Flynn's guilty plea, this weekend was a major political victory for President Trump, considering the backlash and confusion caused by this inaccurate media report.
In breaking news, Chelsea Handler blasts Trump and other Republicans in reaction to the recent accusations against Roy Moore.