Several months after being suspended by ABC News for a fake news report on President Donald Trump, reporter Brian Ross announced Monday that he and the network are parting ways.
The New York Times dubbed the departure “an ignominious end to Mr. Ross’s 24-year run at ABC News.”
Ross, 69, was in the middle of a contract when he and ABC announced that the network was parting ways with both Ross and Rhonda Schwartz, Ross’s producer.
Once a headliner, Ross had been shunted away from the spotlight for the past seven months after he incorrectly reported that Trump had ordered former national security advisor Michael Flynn to contact Russian officials during the 2016 campaign. The reports sent the stock markets tumbling.
The bogus claim humiliated ABC, which had to issue a retraction.
The report also earned Ross a one-month suspension. When he returned, ABC refused to allow him near the subjects of Trump or Russia. It also banned him from appearing on live broadcasts.
Trump, who has repeatedly attacked the media over fake news reporting, said Ross got off lightly.
“They took this fraudster from ABC,” Trump said during a December rally, Fox News reported. “They suspended him for a month. They should have fired him for what he wrote. He drove the stock market down 350 points in minutes, which by the way, tells you they really like me, right? When you think of it, and you know what he cost people? And I said to everybody: ‘get yourself a lawyer and sue ABC News, sue them.'”
Good riddance, Brian Ross. And take CNN’s clown Jim Acosta with you. https://t.co/VkZCBgCyux
— Mark R. Levin (@marklevinshow) July 3, 2018
— Dinesh D'Souza (@DineshDSouza) July 2, 2018
Ross and Schwartz released a statement on their departure Monday.
“After a great run of 24 years, we have decided to pack up and move on from ABC News, an organization that has meant so much to us,” they said. “While we are signing off from ABC News, we are hardly leaving investigative journalism. There is much more to do.”
ABC News president James Goldston praised them as they left.
“Their work has led repeatedly to real changes in policy in the U.S. and around the world. Over the years they have built a team of the best investigative journalists in our industry, and they leave behind an outstanding group that will continue to break stories for many years to come. … We wish them well in their next chapter,” he said.
Despite Goldston’s praise, his anger at the time of the incident was revealed in a recording of a conference call, CNN reported.
“I don’t think ever in my career have I felt more rage and disappointment and frustration that I felt through this weekend and through the last half of Friday,” he said.
“I don’t even know how many times we’ve talked about this, how many times we have talked about the need to get it right,” he added. “That how we have to be right and not first. About how in this particular moment, with the stakes as high as these stakes are right now, we cannot afford to get it wrong.”
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