Ross incorrectly reported when Trump told Flynn to contact the Russians. Photo: Rainmaker Photo/MediaPunch/IPX
ABC News investigative reporter Brian Ross was suspended for four weeks without pay tonight over his incorrect report that Michael Flynn was prepared to testify that Donald Trump told him to contact the Russians during his presidential campaign.
Why it matters: It was a huge error that moved markets and damaged the network's credibility. The report was also passed along by Axios and other news outlets. In a statement, ABC News apologized and said the report "had not been fully vetted through our editorial standards process."
The network later corrected the report to say that Trump gave him that instruction as president-elect — which is a big difference, since there's nothing unusual about newly elected presidents contacting foreign governments.
The full text of ABC's statement:
"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. 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. Effective immediately, Brian Ross will be suspended for four weeks without pay."