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ABC's President Admits Brian Ross' Tea Party Flub 'Detracted' From Their Coverage


"The network will be taking steps to ensure it does not happen again."

When news of the Aurora shooting first broke, ABC made a judgment call that has since become arguably the low point of journalism pertaining to the shooting - namely, ABC correspondent Brian Ross concluded that, based solely on the shooter's (fairly common name), he might have had connections to the Tea Party.

This example of Google Search-style journalism was, needless to say, refuted almost immediately, but the embarrassment has lingered, and produced reams of criticism. In fact, even the Daily Show's Jon Stewart, who usually reserves his most pointed barbs for his ideological opponents at Fox News, has done a blistering segment on ABC's mistake.

Fortunately, it appears that ABC's top brass has realized this mistake was, in fact, a mistake, and has impeded their ability to cover the story. Politico reports:

ABC News president Ben Sherwood told staff today that last Friday's incorrect report by Brian Ross detracts from the network's otherwise excellent coverage of the Colarado theater shooting, network sources tell POLITICO.

Sherwood's remarks, made on the network's daily editorial conference call, came the morning after Ross's report was picked up by late night comedians John Stewart and Stephen Colbert of Comedy Central, both of whom used Ross's erroneous suggestion of a Tea Party link to the Colorado theater shooting as fodder for their Monday night routines.

On Monday's conference call, ABC News SVP James Goldston also commended the staff for its work, noted the incorrect report, and said that the network was taking steps to ensure it did not happen again.

The steps that will be taken to ensure this will not happen again are not detailed in the story. However, with the likes of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert calling for Ross' suspension, that eventuality may be on the table. For now, Ross's fate at ABC is still an open question, though his (and the network's) apology for the mistake is a good start.

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