ABC suspends Brian Ross for his Flynn/Russia fake news fiasco

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Published by: Dan Calabrese on Saturday December 02nd, 2017

Four weeks without pay, which is a few dollars for a guy with a seven-figure salary.

He deserves to be fired, not only for this screwup but also because it's far from his first. Ross is astoundingly reckless when he thinks he's got himself a scoop and can't wait to get it on the air.

But I guess it's something:

ABC News announced Saturday that Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross would be suspended for four weeks without pay over a botched "exclusive" about former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

During a live "special report" Friday morning, Ross reported that Flynn would testify that Donald Trump had ordered him to make contact with Russians about foreign policy while he was still a candidate. The report raised the specter of Trump's impeachment and sent the stock market plummeting.

Later in the day, ABC issued a "clarification" to Ross's report, saying that Trump's alleged directive came after he'd been elected president. Ross himself appeared on "World News Tonight," several hours after the initial report, to clarify his error.

Ross probably figured that within the anti-Trump culture of ABC News he had little to lose by exaggerating the information he had, or by erring on the side of spectacle. And if not for the fact that the mistake ended up being so consequential, he might have been right. 

This is not the sort of error that would earn you a month's suspension if it didn't get so much external attention. ABC probably felt it had little choice because, after so many people became aware of Ross's inaccurate report, the network would have appeared to be completely disinterested in the truth if it had simply let Ross skate or given him a handslap.

Ross reportedly makes a seven-figure salary, so the four weeks without pay is not insignificant money. Then again, because he earns seven figures, I doubt he has to worry about where his next meal is coming from. The travesty here is that Ross has a job to come back to. Airing fake news will cost you only so much.

Dan's new novel, BACKSTOP, is a story of spiritual warfare and baseball. Download it from Amazon here!