Journalist of many blunders Brian Ross leaves ABC News
Veteran ABC News anchor Brian Ross, who was suspended last year after airing a false story about former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, is leaving the network, along with his producer.
Ross was suspended for a month last December following an inaccurate report about the former national security advisor. The report claimed that Donald Trump had directed Flynn to make contact with Russian officials during his 2016 presidential campaign.
It was later clarified that, in fact, Trump had asked Flynn to contact Russian officials when he was president-elect – a not-unusual request for an incoming president. The bombshell ‘news’ was so explosive that it even caused the stock market to tumble and ABC was forced to apologize for its “serious” error.
Ross returned to ABC after his suspension but was moved to a different unit within the network and focused more on “long-term projects” than breaking news.
But on Monday Ross announced that he would be leaving the network for good, along with his longtime producer Rhonda Schwartz. In a letter to staff, the pair wrote that “the time has come to say goodbye”.
Ross and Schwartz said that they leave with “enormous gratitude” to those who helped build what they called a “robust and honored investigative unit” but said it was time to “pack up and move on” after a “great run of 24 years”.
It wasn’t always great, however. In fact, Ross had a long history of breaking explosive stories that later turned out to be inaccurate.
Among his many blunders, in 2001 Ross famously erroneously reported that a series of anthrax attacks in the US were likely the work of Iraq and Saddam Hussein. The FBI later concluded that the attacks were carried out by US Army biodefense expert Bruce Ivins.
In 2012, following the shooting at a movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado, Ross suggested that the shooter had been a member of the Colorado Tea Party. In reality, it had simply been another person of the same name found on a Tea Party Patriots website.
ABC News president James Goldston praised the duo in a statement, saying they had “exposed government corruption at every level” and that their work had led to policy changes in the US and around the world.