I happened to be watching ABC news this morning when "crack" investigative reporter, Brian Ross, said that he noticed on Facebook that a "Jim Holmes" was a member of the Colorado Tea Party.
Imagine that! He's dropped that little bomb just to tarnish the Tea Party and to link it with domestic terrorism. He didn't care if it was true or not. He did it with absolutely no facts to back up his allegation! He just wanted to make the connection in the viewer's minds. In the process, he tarnished every person who happens to be named James or Jim Holmes.
A number of people who were watching the news began to Tweet about this strange un-backed-up comment made by Ross.
It didn't take long for ABC to issue a wee little retraction in the Editor's Notes of a much longer article Aurora Suspect James Holmes' Mother: 'You Have the Right Person'
Here's the lame retraction:
By MATTHEW MOSK (@mattmosk) , BRIAN ROSS (@brianross) , PIERRE THOMAS (@PierreTABC) , RICHARD ESPOSITO and MEGAN CHUCHMACH (@megcourtney)That report was "incorrect"??? That one sentence above constitutes an apology??? No. A mistake. Hardly!
July 20, 2012
Editor's Note: An earlier ABC News broadcast report suggested that a Jim Holmes of a Colorado Tea Party organization might be the suspect, but that report was incorrect. ABC News and Brian Ross apologize for the mistake, and for disseminating that information before it was properly vetted.
What Ross did was intended as a hatchet job and Ross rushed it to the airwaves so he could be first just on the off chance it might be true. He obviously took that chance because he knew he wouldn't get into much trouble - a little hand slap or less? Perhaps even a congratulatory slap on the back from his bosses at ABC?
If ABC was sincere they'd fire Ross. The least they should do is a descent feature on tonight's news with a very penitent Brian Ross offering more than just a few mea culpas!
How sad that journalistic standards have fallen so low.
[Update- Susan Duclos- 7/21/12] "Colorado tea partier describes ‘surreal’ day of wrongly being linked to theater massacre"
Money quote from the wrongly identified Holmes: "What kind of idiot makes that kind of statement? Really, seriously, how do we take a journalist seriously when it’s pretty clear they really haven’t done any sort of check on their facts?"