Accuracy in Media

ABC News investigative reporter Brian Ross suggested on Good Morning America on Friday that James Holmes, the man accused of committing mass murder in a crowded movie theater earlier that morning, might be a member of the Colorado Tea Party Patriots. For Ross, it was just the latest in a series of blunders, as Politico calls them.

According to Politico, Ross has made some big mistakes in other stories as well.

  • In 2001, Ross reported that Iraq and Saddam Hussein may have been responsible for anthrax attacks on the United States, citing four anonymous high-level sources who claimed there was bentonite in the anthrax. The White House later stated that “no tests ever found or even suggested the presence of bentonite” and that “the claim was concocted from the start.”
  • In 2006, Ross reported that Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert was a target in the federal corruption investigation involving then-lobbyist Jack Abramoff. After the Justice Department denied the story, Ross stood by his reporting and stated that Hastert was ‘very much in the mix’ of the probe, despite the fact that Hastert had never been approached by prosecutors.
  • In 2010, Ross reported that a defect in Toyota cars was responsible for “unintended acceleration.” As part of his report, he showed video footage of the Toyota’s tachometer going from 1,000 RPMs to 6,000 RPMs in a single second. But the same footage revealed that the car was actually parked with the doors open when Ross claimed it was moving. ABC News confirmed that the staged footage had been spliced into Ross’s video.

ABC apologized for Friday’s inaccurate report and admitted that it hadn’t been properly vetted. But given the fact that Ross has erred on more than one occasion, one would think that ABC would have tried to verify Ross’ report before letting him go on the air and turn a tragic event into a politically motivated smear against the Tea Party.

Despite this spectacular “blunder,” Ross will continue to report on the Aurora, Colorado shootings, proving that ABC isn’t all that sorry after all.

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