ABC News Suspends Brian Ross for Four Weeks Following Michael Flynn Gaffe; Trump Responds
"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," the network said in a statement.
ABC News has suspended anchor Brian Ross for four weeks without pay following an on-air error the journalist made on Friday in which he reported that Donald Trump had instructed Michael Flynn to make contact with the Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign. The network issued a clarification hours later on Twitter which said Trump was in fact president-elect at the time and "directed Flynn to contact Russian officials on topics that included working jointly against ISIS."
The former National Security Adviser on Friday pleaded guilty to lying to FBI officials in the special council's Russia investigation.
On Saturday, ABC News once again apologized for Ross' error and issued a statement that it would be suspending the anchor for four weeks without pay, "effective immediately."
Hours after ABC News announced Ross' suspension, the anchor responded on Twitter, saying, "My job is to hold people accountable and that's why I agree with being held accountable myself."
On Sunday morning, Trump suggested in a tweet that ABC should be sued over the story.
"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!" he wrote.
This followed a tweet from Saturday night in which Trump praised ABC News for suspending Ross.
"Congratulations to @ABC News for suspending Brian Ross for his horrendously inaccurate and dishonest report on the Russia, Russia, Russia Witch Hunt. More Networks and 'papers' should do the same with their Fake News!" he wrote.
Read ABC News' full statement on Ross' suspension, below.
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.
Dec. 3, 8:47 a.m. Updated with Trump's tweets.