ABC News Reporter Peddles Fake News; Markets Tumble Before Channel Retracts Lie, Suspends Journalist

United States President Donald Trump (L) and former national security adviser retired General Michael Flynn at a rally in Colorado. (George Frey/Getty Images)

An ABC News special report claimed on Friday morning (1 December) that Donald Trump had asked former national security adviser Michael Flynn to make contact with the Russians when Trump was still a candidate in the United States presidential election.

Turns out that that report was not accurate.

The channel issued a “clarification” that same evening, making a crucial correction in the report – Trump asked Flynn to contact the Russians when he was president-elect, not when he was a candidate. He had only asked Flynn to find ways to mend relations with Russia and other countries prior to his election victory.

According to CNN, the initial report, based on an anonymous source, had a dramatic effect on the financial markets, and the Dow fell more than 350 points before recovering later in the day.

The channel’s “clarification” drew criticism from different quarters as it was seen as cloaking a serious correction in the report in soft language. Faced with criticism, the channel then decided to use the word “correction’’ on the social media.

Since then, ABC News has suspended the reporter – who is their chief investigative correspondent, Brian Ross, for four weeks without pay over his faulty report. The channel’s statement said:

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.
ABC News

“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.”