NEW YORK (AP) – ABC News apologized Saturday for a “serious error” and suspended investigative reporter Brian Ross for four weeks without pay for the network’s incorrect Michael Flynn report.
Ross had initially reported Friday that during the presidential campaign, then-candidate Donald Trump had directed Flynn to make contact with the Russians. Ross later clarified the report, saying his source had actually said that Trump asked Flynn to contact the Russians as president-elect, not before the election, about issues including working together to fight ISIS. The network was widely criticized for not immediately correcting the report. It issued a correction later in the evening.
“We deeply regret and apologize for the serious error we made yesterday,” ABC News said in a statement from Heather Riley, its vice president of communications. “The reporting conveyed by Brian Ross during the special report had not been fully vetted through our editorial standards process. 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. We fell far short of that yesterday.”
Flynn, who is the former national security adviser, has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.