Lies, Damned Lies And ABC ‘Clarifications’: Brian Ross Jumps The Shark

Lies, Damned Lies And ABC ‘Clarifications’: Brian Ross Jumps The Shark

Lies, damned lies, and statistics.

Or in this case, lies, damned lies, and “clarifications.”

Turns out, ABC’s Brian Ross fucked up a little bit. And you know, something told us when this first hit that we should download the video instead of just embedding the tweet because one way or another, this was going to be a handy one to have in the archive.


Here’s Ross “explaining” how, according to his one source, Michael Flynn is ready to testify against Trump “the candidate”:


Ok, so that would have been bad. Because you know, that’s Trump “the candidate.” And as we and everyone else on the planet noted when that hit, markets careened lower, the VIX spiked and gold surged:


Well later on Friday, CNN started asking some questions about that story – presumably because they tried to source it themselves and couldn’t.

Specifically, CNN called ABC News early in the afternoon asking why Ross’ initial reporting wasn’t in the network’s online story about Flynn.

A couple of hours later, CNN’s Oliver Darcy made it official: ABC had jumped the gun (or maybe “jumped the shark” is better):

Here’s the actual “clarification”:

And here’s the text:

So that’s dumber than a bag of hammers for obvious reasons, but I guess you can’t blame them for getting excited. What you can blame them for though, it getting excited and then reporting it.

When you’re a major news network in the post-truth world where “fake news” is a trending topic nearly every single day, you don’t want to run with a story of this magnitude based on a single source. Something CNN’s Darcy reminded ABC:

Needless to say, this set off a frenzy on social media, notably from other media outlets who are now basically blaming ABC for their own lost credibility. Here’s one example:

The worst part about this was calling it a “clarification” rather than a “retraction.” I mean technically, that is correct. Flynn is willing to testify against Trump, but this is one of those cases where the second part of the sentence was more important than the first part and even if it wasn’t, ABC had to have know that calling it a “clarification” was going to create a veritable firestorm. Here are some of the notables:

You’ve got to hand it to Steve Bannon, that last one is pretty goddamn funny.

To be sure, this was a completely ridiculous thing to do. This story was going to dominate the news cycle for at least the entire weekend, and “Flynn willing to testify” would have been big on its own without the “mistake.” So there was absolutely no reason to run with a story that relied on a single source.

As Politico reminds you, this isn’t the first time Ross as made a high profile error. Here are two more:

  • In 2012 he faced a firestorm of criticism after mistakenly reporting that the shooter responsible for the massacre in Aurora, Colorado, may have had ties to the Tea Party.
  • Over a decade prior, in 2001, Ross reported that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein may have been behind anthrax attacks on the U.S. The White House later said there was no evidence to back up those claims.

So now, thanks to ABC, the narrative will temporarily shift to the media and away from Flynn, until the next indictment which we can only hope will not be accompanied by shoddy reporting.

4 thoughts on “Lies, Damned Lies And ABC ‘Clarifications’: Brian Ross Jumps The Shark

  1. Regardless of ABC’s stupid move, I still have to say……What, no Tweet? The Donald’s Twitter silence represents a panicked scream. His security blanket just got shrunk by Mueller’s laundry service to such an extent that he can’t even fit his own family on it anymore (certainly not his son in-law). In fact, pretty soon, even Donald himself might not fit on it. Robert Mueller has been working his way from the outer fringes of the White House circle, leveraging the peripheral actors and slowly making his way inward toward the truth. On Friday it was revealed that he has reached-in as far as Trump’s extended family and implicated Jared Kushner in actions that could be considered treason…..pause it while I get more popcorn…..

  2. None of this matters. None of this relates to the rest of the story. If you read the clarification it basically is a source who feeds Ross information that seeks to make Flynn’s contact with the Russians days after winning the election part of his directed portfolio from Trump. This “may all be true.” But the question is, given Trump’s utter failure to establish himself as a policy genius, or having any framework whatsoever for the contact, what was the true motivation for having all the contact even before Trump was sworn in? Now that we have seen this love affair that Trump has had with Putin, that he had and has zero policy bases, and we have proof that Putin in fact interfered with the election, that Trump conspired with and worked with Putin’s man at wikileaks, Julian Assange, that there multitude of contacts with Russia during the election at all levels of their government, it’s abundantly clear that Flynn can testify as a first hand witness, having been at Trump’s side, to all of these facts.

    Flynn was with Trump everywhere, because he was one of his most trusted Generals, a Russia expert, and even brought him to his first intellgince briefing after being nominated by the republicans.

    Mueller had Flynn so very dead to rights – AND THIS IS CRITICAL – that Mueller promised Flynn nothing zip nada in return for his guily plea. Not as to his son or as to any of the “””””other”””” criminal matters that are known that caused Flynn to roll over in the first place.

    The only thing that Flynn received in return for his guily plea is found in the plea agreement on page 2, paragraph, 3 (Mueller will not prosecute further on lying to the FBI on the charge he pled guilty to) and page 12, paragraph 12 (regarding sentencing and cooperation). That’s it.

    Flynn has a ton of reasons to testify and cooperate fully and completely. He has been filleted. Next stop: Kushner, Jr., perhaps Bannon, Mercer, Conway, Ivanka, and many more whom we’ve not seen in the headlines.

    When the facts are before you, it’s simple. Quite simple.
    For those living in the world of Factless Fox, delusion is equally simple.

Speak your mind

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.