Investigative reporter Brian Ross and his producer Rhonda Schwartz are parting ways with ABC News months in the wake of their false December 2017 reporting that President Trump told national security adviser Michael Flynn to make contact with Russian officials during the 2016 presidential campaign. Ross’ exit echoes the forced departure of Dan Rather from CBS News for his flawed reporting against George W. Bush.
ABC News issued an apology for the flawed Ross reporting and retracted the story. Ross was suspended for four weeks and permanently pulled off stories about Trump. The New York Post reported that Ross kept the kept the same title but moved to another unit of ABC, Lincoln Square Productions, with offices blocks from the news division, to work on “long-term projects,” plus “20/20” and “Nightline.”
“The time has come to say good-bye,” said Ross and Schwartz said a letter to staff with an announcement by ABC News president James Goldston in the Monday memo to staff reported by The New York Post. “They’ve exposed government corruption at every level, international human rights abuses and fraud, uncovered dangerous working conditions, sexual abuse cover-ups and dishonest business practices,” it said. “Their work has led repeatedly to real changes in policy in the U.S. and around the world.”
Immediately after the flawed reporting, which ABC News later said had “not been fully vetted through our editorial standards process,” the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 350 points.
Trump retweeted a scolding of Ross on December 3 after the reporting was retracted: “People who lost money when the Stock Market went down 350 points based on the False and Dishonest reporting of Brian Ross of @ABC News (he has been suspended), should consider hiring a lawyer and suing ABC for the damages this bad reporting has caused – many millions of dollars!”