Stewart: So what does a guy have to do to get fired at ABC?

posted at 10:41 am on July 24, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

That’s a very good question, and one that — so far — ABC News hasn’t answered. Brian Ross went to air within hours of the Aurora shooting to tell George Stephanopoulos and the Good Morning America audience on Friday morning that Ross had found something “significant” about the suspect.

Stephanopoulos: I’m going to go to Brian Ross. You’ve been investigating the background of Jim Holmes here. You found something that might be significant.

Ross: There’s a Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado, page on the Colorado Tea party site as well, talking about him joining the Tea Party last year. Now, we don’t know if this is the same Jim Holmes. But it’s Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado.

Stephanopoulos: Okay, we’ll keep looking at that. Brian Ross, thanks very much.

Apparently, Ross had performed an overwhelming amount of research into this report, which consisted of … looking on Tea Party sites for “James Holmes” or a derivative. Never mind that the phone book lists more than 30 such entries for the Aurora and Denver areas — Ross had found a connection between gun violence and the Tea Party! Pulitzers awaited! There was only one inconvenient fact standing in the way of Ross’ immortalization into the Hall of Shame Fame, which was that the Tea Party activist was not the man who killed and wounded dozens of people in the theater. The Holmes listed on the Tea Party site was in fact a middle-aged former law-enforcement officer.

Jon Stewart wonders aloud what someone has to do to get fired at ABC:

Well, Jon, I hate to tell you this, but this kind of reporting — while appalling — is nothing new. Gabriel Malor put together a list of famous conclusion jumps from the media about supposed Tea Party involvement in gun violence that later turned out to be just as solid as Ross’ reporting:

* September 2009: The discovery of hanged census-taker Bill Sparkman in rural Kentucky fueled media speculation that he’d been killed by anti-government Tea Partiers. In fact, he’d killed himself and staged his corpse to look like a homicide so his family could collect on life insurance.

* February 2010: Joe Stack flew his small plane into an IRS building in Austin, Texas. The media immediately suggested that the anti-tax rhetoric of the Tea Party led to the attack. In fact, Stack’s suicide note quoted the Communist Manifesto.

* That same month, a professor at the University of Alabama, Amy Bishop, shot and killed three colleagues at a faculty meeting. The gun-loving Tea Party came under immediate suspicion. But Bishop was a lifelong Democrat and Obama donor.

* March 2010: John Patrick Bedell shot two Pentagon security officers at close range. The media went wild with speculation that a right-wing extremist had reached the end of his rope. Bedell turned out to be a registered Democrat and 9/11 Truther.

* May 2010: New York authorities disarmed a massive car bomb in Times Square. Mayor Bloomberg immediately speculated that the bomber was someone upset about the president’s new health-care law. The media trumpeted the idea that crazed conservatives had (again, they implied) turned to violence. In fact, the perp was Faisal Shahzad, an Islamic extremist.

There’s more, including the case of Jared Loughner and the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson and the media’s rush to blame … Sarah Palin.  Until Gabriel started floating this list yesterday, I’d forgotten about some of these.  Keep the link and the list handy, because Ross’ rush to smear the Tea Party won’t be the last entry on it.

That brings us back to our original question.  Just what does a reporter have to do to get fired from ABC News?  So far, it doesn’t look like spreading false and malicious rumors on air in order to tie an innocent and legitimate political movement to a massacre meets the criteria.

Update: Deacon Greg Kandra notes that  Ross’ report wasn’t the only facepalm moment for the media in this incident.  It’s a good reminder that speculation in the absence of fact usually embarrasses the person speculating in short order.

Update II: Mickey Kaus wonders whether ABC might be protecting itself from acknowledging malfeasance by keeping Ross on board, just in case they get sued.  I’m not sure, but wouldn’t ABC have a better case to argue absence of malice if they fired Ross rather than kept him?


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Comment pages: 1 2

BuckeyeSam on July 24, 2012 at 11:37 AM

I saw that, they mentioned numerous times what a great reporter he is. Because he will make guest appearances on Ted Baxter’s show.

Cindy Munford on July 24, 2012 at 11:45 AM

Until now, I thought BOR was a mere bloviator. Now, I think he’s a lying sack. I guess he covered for Ross so that he’ll still get invited on Lettermann, the View, GMA, and the like.

BuckeyeSam on July 24, 2012 at 11:37 AM

Well, you know, O’Reilly has books to sell. After all, he’s just “Looking Out For You” ™ and “The Spin Stops Here.” ™

UltimateBob on July 24, 2012 at 11:45 AM

verbaluce on July 24, 2012 at 11:35 AM

You aren’t seriously comparing misinformation on a blog site with ABC’s chief investigative reporter declaring that Holmes was a member of the TPM based on a google search.

Even you can’t be that damned stupid!

Happy Nomad on July 24, 2012 at 11:45 AM

I’m wondering how the hell they got 23 people in one truck.

Bishop on July 24, 2012 at 11:23 AM

That like two tons of people…any quick move and that truck is going over…you can assume they weren’t wearing seat belts…

right2bright on July 24, 2012 at 11:45 AM

My last name is Aziz, so imagine the difficulties… oh, wait. That’s a Muslim last name. I think that makes me a protected class within the media.

digitalhap on July 24, 2012 at 11:46 AM

Liam on July 24, 2012 at 11:44 AM

What is really sad is how thankful we are when they have these few moments of fairness. Why do we care when they finally buy a clue?

Cindy Munford on July 24, 2012 at 11:47 AM

Even you can’t be that damned stupid!

Happy Nomad on July 24, 2012 at 11:45 AM

I wouldn’t bet on that.

Liam on July 24, 2012 at 11:47 AM

My comment on the petition:

I heartily believe that Ross should be fired… What he did is a severe black mark on Journalists… it’s not like this is the first time MSM has blatently tried to blame the TEA Party.

Shame on anyone who has done so…

I dispise people who smear others without proof…

You MSM reporters are the root of the cause of many issues confronting all of us.

Take the Trayvon Martin case, how was Zimmerman portrayed? As a white man! Do you know how many people were killed behind saying it was a white man? Do you in MSM land even care?

You all have no morals and NO conscience!!!!

FIRE ROSS!

Scrumpy on July 24, 2012 at 11:47 AM

Even you can’t be that damned stupid!

Happy Nomad on July 24, 2012 at 11:45 AM

Five will get you ten that it he/she/it is!!!

Cindy Munford on July 24, 2012 at 11:48 AM

@BuckeyeSam on July 24, 2012 at 11:37 AM

I watched O’Reilly and saw that segment too. It was quite disgusting that both Bill and Bernie made it seem like it was nothing, just a little mistake. Yeah, a little mistake to completely malign an innocent man.

I think I’ll watch Cavuto for now on.

moonsbreath on July 24, 2012 at 11:49 AM

All references to that here were shot down (so to speak) PQD. Big difference between a few commenters and a nationally recognized award winning news organization, don’t you think?

Cindy Munford on July 24, 2012 at 11:43 AM

Well both were shot down PDQ.
And yes, ABC making the error is much less forgivable/excusable, and I’d be fine with any repercussions Ross faced. Firing seems a bit harsh, but whatever.
But the blogosphere is where the more insidious fictions are born and nurtured. Nobody to fire there.

verbaluce on July 24, 2012 at 11:51 AM

So what does a guy have to do to get fired at ABC?

He has to do this.

22044 on July 24, 2012 at 11:51 AM

BTW, many of the survivors of that accident were seriously injured, and have been transported to local hospitals where they will be treated, courtesy of U.S. taxpayers, at a cost of probably hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars.

AZCoyote on July 24, 2012 at 11:34 AM

And when they get out of the hospital, they’ll sue Arizona for having unsafe highways.

Scriptor on July 24, 2012 at 11:52 AM

Even you can’t be that damned stupid!

Happy Nomad on July 24, 2012 at 11:45 AM

Your optimism is endearing. :)

DrMagnolias on July 24, 2012 at 11:53 AM

Piers Morgan was fired in disgrace from the UK Daily Mirror when he knowingly publishing fabricated pictures of British troops torturing Iraqis…and now has a prime time gig on CNN…

CorporatePiggy

I wonder how Piers would handle it, when the day comes when he realizes he is just CNN’s equivalent of Geraldo…

– Smoov

Smoovious on July 24, 2012 at 11:54 AM

What is really sad is how thankful we are when they have these few moments of fairness. Why do we care when they finally buy a clue?

Cindy Munford on July 24, 2012 at 11:47 AM

I don’t care because I don’t believe liberals will ever be anything except liberals. They might get a dose of reality now and again–life is like that.

But at the end of the day, a liberal will always devolve to liberalism.

I simply find liberals to be an improv joke that has no punchline.

Liam on July 24, 2012 at 11:54 AM

Liam on July 24, 2012 at 11:54 AM

I find myself being thrilled when they get something right. I don’t know if it’s for our sake or theirs. They are so stupid.

Cindy Munford on July 24, 2012 at 11:57 AM

verbaluce on July 24, 2012 at 11:51 AM

I’m pretty sure that commenters don’t have editors, producers, directors, LAWYERS available 24/7.

Cindy Munford on July 24, 2012 at 11:58 AM

Yes, a bad mistake.

But aside from Ross jumping the gun here –
consider there were also rushed rumors from the right/Tea Party blogs that the guy was OWS connected.

verbaluce on July 24, 2012 at 11:35 AM

Have the reports about the guy being connected to OWS been debunked yet? Not that I have seen.

And you claim that Free Republic, which is in no way anywhere near comparable to ABC News, apologized for their linkage of the shooter to OWS. Have you a link from FR proving what you claim? I couldn’t find their apology, if in fact it does exist.

Del Dolemonte on July 24, 2012 at 11:58 AM

What is really sad is how thankful we are when they have these few moments of fairness. Why do we care when they finally buy a clue?

Cindy Munford on July 24, 2012 at 11:47 AM

True enough. All year long Stewart is calling us racists, bigots and homophobes. And he makes fun of people of faith with cruelty. But YAY he finally agrees with us one issue! Hip hop hooray!

terryannonline on July 24, 2012 at 11:58 AM

Jon Stewart has a good suggestion. Instead of firing Brian Lewis, demote him and take away all his perks. Don’t you just love how we’ve been told for decades how liberals are the compassionate ones, when all they’re good at is destroying people’s lives.

lea on July 24, 2012 at 11:59 AM

Stewart: So what does a guy have to do to get fired at ABC?

Great…people like Stewart are instrumental in feeding the anti-TEA Party hype and furthering the Leftist agenda.

So love it when they do the “fair and balanced” thing.

Not impressed.

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 24, 2012 at 12:01 PM

I find myself being thrilled when they get something right. I don’t know if it’s for our sake or theirs. They are so stupid.

Cindy Munford on July 24, 2012 at 11:57 AM

Liberals aren’t stupid. They’re…liberals. First and foremost.

I’m of the view they need a psychological category unto themselves.

It’s possible to get through to people mentally ill. You can also reach a person suffering severe Down’s and even to sufferers of autism.

But you can’t reach a liberal.

Liam on July 24, 2012 at 12:01 PM

But the blogosphere is where the more insidious fictions are born and nurtured. Nobody to fire there.

verbaluce on July 24, 2012 at 11:51 AM

Really? If you can give us examples of the blogosphere concocting stories on a par with Rathergate, or CNN’s legendary journalistic scandals, please do so.

Del Dolemonte on July 24, 2012 at 12:01 PM

What is really sad is how thankful we are when they have these few moments of fairness. Why do we care when they finally buy a clue?

Cindy Munford on July 24, 2012 at 11:47 AM

For me, just because it makes it a little easier to tell the truth. And there’s the hope that with all their money, they’ll finally buy enough clues to solve the whole puzzle.

Plus, conservatives often talk about the culture war – this is a large part of it. This is how we can shape and mold future generations. We should always try to get a foot in there somewhere.

My two cents anyway.

Esthier on July 24, 2012 at 12:03 PM

Really? If you can give us examples of the blogosphere concocting stories on a par with Rathergate, or CNN’s legendary journalistic scandals, please do so.

Del Dolemonte on July 24, 2012 at 12:01 PM

You are joking, right?
Ok…here’s 2:
> Trig is really Bristol’s baby
> Obama was born in Kenya

verbaluce on July 24, 2012 at 12:06 PM

Have the reports about the guy being connected to OWS been debunked yet? Not that I have seen.

And you claim that Free Republic, which is in no way anywhere near comparable to ABC News, apologized for their linkage of the shooter to OWS. Have you a link from FR proving what you claim? I couldn’t find their apology, if in fact it does exist.

Del Dolemonte on July 24, 2012 at 11:58 AM

Not debunked how?
Sheesh.
Maybe you’re right and they or the blogger have not actually apologized.
I thought I’d seen that they had.

verbaluce on July 24, 2012 at 12:11 PM

Del:

We don’t need evidence to link Holmes to OWS. As Dems used to say in the 80s, the seriousness of the charge is enough to convict.

Liam on July 24, 2012 at 12:16 PM

> Trig is really Bristol’s baby

verbaluce on July 24, 2012 at 12:06 PM

Not sure Andrew Sullivan and The Atlantic are considered on par with blogs.

Besides, you call with those two, and we can raise with doctored photos from the AP, that like Rathergate, were only uncovered by bloggers.

The internet can surely spread a lie and make it grow, but I’m not convinced it originates more of them than the MSM.

Esthier on July 24, 2012 at 12:16 PM

> Trig is really Bristol’s baby

verbaluce on July 24, 2012 at 12:06 PM

Esthier on July 24, 2012 at 12:16 PM>

>Obama was born in Kenya

verbaluce on July 24, 2012 at 12:06 PM

Are you not sure how Fox News is on par with blogs either?

verbaluce on July 24, 2012 at 12:22 PM

How to get fired from ABC:

1) Mention you are against gay marriage.
2) Casually mention you support Romney.
3) When Obama speaks, burst out laughing.
4) Speak well of Michelle. Tell viewers you meant Malkin, not Obama.

hadsil on July 24, 2012 at 12:24 PM

You are joking, right?
Ok…here’s 2:
> Trig is really Bristol’s baby
> Obama was born in Kenya

verbaluce on July 24, 2012 at 12:06 PM

Both started by left-wingers. Interesting, isn’t it?

Flora Duh on July 24, 2012 at 12:24 PM

Televised High Speed motorcycle chase through SoCal just ended in spectacular fashion when a sole CHP biker pulled in front of the perp biker as the perp slowed for traffic, jumped off his motor while pulling his gun, and brought the suspect safely to the ground by himself all in about 10 seconds.

Prediction: this guy gets a CHP ribbon for this action, which as I said you have to see it. The CHP dude = Boss. He’ll also be in TV interviews.

Happened just now, caught live on SoCal News chopper.

Sacramento on July 24, 2012 at 12:25 PM

I too watched BOR last night and he has now crossed over into the devil’s advocate against any conservative guest or meme. He and Goldberg actually defended Ross and Bernie actually said the Ross was a good reporter! Then to top it all off BOR started bloviating about how there should be a federal law announcing the buying or selling of a machine gun, or heavy weapon or ammo as he put it, to any individual. The moron has no idea what he is talking about. There has been a federal law dealing with the purchase of machine guns or automatic weapons since 1934. And the purchaser has to obtain a SPECIAL license to purchase one. I am sad to say that Fox news is heading into the toilet with the rest of the waste. Ross should be fired for unprofessional conduct. There are no mitigating circumstances.

inspectorudy on July 24, 2012 at 12:29 PM

Even a broken clock is right twice a day

Bevan on July 24, 2012 at 12:30 PM

I can’t get over the look on Brian Ross’s face when he throws that original theory out there. I call that a sh!t eating grin, so why isn’t he?

Cindy Munford on July 24, 2012 at 12:30 PM

Nothing is going to happen to this Ross guy. It would have happened already. Yeah, he should have gotten fired last Friday.

Really? If you can give us examples of the blogosphere concocting stories on a par with Rathergate, or CNN’s legendary journalistic scandals, please do so.

C’mon. Are you serious? THIS IS WHAT MANY BLOGS DO EVERY DAY. Try to gin something up. Every day, all day long.

How many times do we see so-what stories posted here that are supposed to be a Big Deal for whatever reason? You see that everywhere.

Sometimes they do take off. And, Rather just got screwed by Roger Stone. He was that much of a sucker.

Moesart on July 24, 2012 at 12:31 PM

Most media have purged all non-Democrats years ago.

If it helps Party Power they run wih it. If it hurts, they don’t.

It really isn’t complex. Pravda and North Korea and Al Jazeer do the same thing….very common.

GardenGnome on July 24, 2012 at 12:39 PM

So what does a guy have to do to get fired at ABC?

That’s easy…mention that he believes in God!

Don L on July 24, 2012 at 12:39 PM

Stewart: So what does a guy have to do to get fired at ABC?

Saying something complimentary about the Tea Party might do it.

Aitch748 on July 24, 2012 at 12:45 PM

>Obama was born in Kenya

verbaluce on July 24, 2012 at 12:06 PM

Are you not sure how Fox News is on par with blogs either?

verbaluce on July 24, 2012 at 12:22 PM

What? I said that the Trig birtherism wasn’t actually started by what most would call bloggers and now you’re bringing up Fox News?

I thought your argument was that the Kenya story was likewise started by blogs. I didn’t address that one, because I honestly don’t remember who started it. Now you’re saying it was Fox News? If so, doesn’t that undercut your own previous point?

Esthier on July 24, 2012 at 12:46 PM

Watch Ross’ face as he delivers his big scoop: he’s practically chortling with glee. What a creep. Despite knowing that innocent people are lying dead and wounded, he’s fighting to suppress a smile thinking that this will be bad for the Tea Party. What a monster.

cynccook on July 24, 2012 at 12:49 PM

I too watched BOR last night and he has now crossed over into the devil’s advocate against any conservative guest or meme. He and Goldberg actually defended Ross and Bernie actually said the Ross was a good reporter! Then to top it all off BOR started bloviating about how there should be a federal law announcing the buying or selling of a machine gun, or heavy weapon or ammo as he put it, to any individual. ***
inspectorudy on July 24, 2012 at 12:29 PM

Well, I think what you’re seeing here by both Stewart and O’Reilly are attempts to play Devil’s Advocate in order to build street cred against bias accusations. The next time we hit Stewart for misleading reporting, he’ll say “what about the time I defended the tea party?” Ditto for O’Reilly.

As for the gun stuff, listen, O’Reilly is awful on legal subjects and always has been. It’s fun to watch Megyn Kelly school him; she doesn’t tolerate his table-pounding fits of populist rage. Still, though, I think O’Reilly’s show is more informative and is more “fair and balanced” than most anything else on cable news.

Outlander on July 24, 2012 at 12:53 PM

How to be a journalist: Wait for some disaster or atrocity to claim people’s lives, then accuse your political opponents of being behind it somehow.

Aitch748 on July 24, 2012 at 12:54 PM

But aside from Ross jumping the gun here –
consider there were also rushed rumors from the right/Tea Party blogs that the guy was OWS connected.

verbaluce on July 24, 2012 at 11:35 AM

Yes, because blogs and a network news broadcast are equivalent.

Most blogs admit their biases – so that the reader can take it into account. Most blogs also aren’t news organizations who claim to have reporters, editors, etc. out there making sure only “truth” gets on the air.

Thus, the difference here, which you are too dense to understand, is that a network news broadcast

A) claims to have no bias;
b) claims to be a professional news organization with fact checkers, etc. and levels of quality control.

That’s an enormous difference. For instance, ABC would never rush to claim a connection between a murderer and a left wing organization – in fact would downplay such a fact. But, time and again, these supposedly unbiased, professional organizations will throw out this type of nonsense against any conservative organization.

It wouldn’t matter quite as much if these network news organizations simply admitted their left-wing bias to the world. then, the mush-minded independents would wake up and realize that the reporting they are receiving as “objective facts” is very often opinion, spin and propaganda with an agenda and could take the same with a grain of salt.

but sure, ABC news and a blog like HotAir are absolute equivalents. Same thing. Nothing to see or discuss here. Move along.

Idiot.

Monkeytoe on July 24, 2012 at 12:55 PM

I thought your argument was that the Kenya story was likewise started by blogs. I didn’t address that one, because I honestly don’t remember who started it. Now you’re saying it was Fox News? If so, doesn’t that undercut your own previous point?

Esthier on July 24, 2012 at 12:46 PM

Verbulace just vomits up whatever words come to mind, regardless of whether they are consistent or make any sense. Anything and everything for the cause. No need for honest analysis or logical reasoning when you are a leftist.

Monkeytoe on July 24, 2012 at 12:56 PM

Esthier on July 24, 2012 at 12:46 PM

I’m surprised at you Estheir. You didn’t know that hardcore Hillary Clinton supporter, Linda Starr, and her left-wing group PUMA, blog for FOX News? /

Flora Duh on July 24, 2012 at 12:57 PM

As for the gun stuff, listen, O’Reilly is awful on legal subjects and always has been. It’s fun to watch Megyn Kelly school him; she doesn’t tolerate his table-pounding fits of populist rage

O’Reilly lets his emotions inform his opinions. I don’t like people saying mean stuff! Let’s make a law! I don’t like guns! Let’s make gun laws tougher! And so on.

terryannonline on July 24, 2012 at 12:59 PM

Really? If you can give us examples of the blogosphere concocting stories on a par with Rathergate, or CNN’s legendary journalistic scandals, please do so.

Del Dolemonte on July 24, 2012 at 12:01 PM

The “blogosphere” includes every blog in the world. I guarantee you’ll find thousands of examples of nutty theories and false reporting.

The difference between the blogosphere and the MSM, though, is that the blogs are interactive and decentralized. Nutty, fringe stuff simply doesn’t get traffic. And, in cases where the big bloggers get things wrong, other bloggers quickly correct them and set the record straight.

The MSM is a non-interactive medium. The public can’t enforce standards of truthfulness easily. The Dan Rathers of the world just pretend the story is fine and move on, and absent a lawsuit or extraordinary public pressure, the network won’t get involved.

Outlander on July 24, 2012 at 1:00 PM

Get rid of Ross and replace him with Dan Rather, no one would notice.

Wade on July 24, 2012 at 1:01 PM

Del Dolemonte on July 24, 2012 at 12:01 PM

You are joking, right?
Ok…here’s 2:
> Trig is really Bristol’s baby
> Obama was born in Kenya

verbaluce on July 24, 2012 at 12:06 PM

1. Sorry, but it wasn’t blogs that originated that story, it was in fact a mainstream Democrat Media “reporter” by the name of Wesley Loy of the Anchorage Daily News.

2. The O’bama born in Kenya story? O’bama’s own literary agent claimed for 16 years that he was born there.

And the more recent (2008) rumors were not started by a blog, but by anonymous e-mails from Hillary Clinton supporters.

And those are no jokes. You, on the other hand…

F-

Del Dolemonte on July 24, 2012 at 1:12 PM

Del Dolemonte on July 24, 2012 at 11:58 AM

Not debunked how?

Sheesh.

Maybe you’re right and they or the blogger have not actually apologized.

I thought I’d seen that they had.

verbaluce on July 24, 2012 at 12:11 PM

lol, you think you see a lot of things. Including many that don’t exist.

A+

Del Dolemonte on July 24, 2012 at 1:13 PM

I too watched BOR last night and he has now crossed over into the devil’s advocate against any conservative guest or meme. He and Goldberg actually defended Ross and Bernie actually said the Ross was a good reporter! Then to top it all off BOR started bloviating about how there should be a federal law announcing the buying or selling of a machine gun, or heavy weapon or ammo as he put it, to any individual. The moron has no idea what he is talking about. There has been a federal law dealing with the purchase of machine guns or automatic weapons since 1934. And the purchaser has to obtain a SPECIAL license to purchase one. I am sad to say that Fox news is heading into the toilet with the rest of the waste. Ross should be fired for unprofessional conduct. There are no mitigating circumstances.

inspectorudy on July 24, 2012 at 12:29 PM

BOR regularly deals out another of his ‘benefit of the doubt’ cards when the offensive party is another ‘journalist’, using the term loosely in both cases.

BOR has always been a bit of an anti-gun moron. In that diatribe last night, he actually said “someone should not be able to go into a gun shop and buy a bazooka.” He really said ‘bazooka’, as well as ‘machine gun’.

slickwillie2001 on July 24, 2012 at 1:14 PM

AZCoyote on July 24, 2012 at 11:24 AM

You’re on a roll . . . good one!

A few additional points:

George Stephanopoulos was wearing at least two hats here that should put him right in the dock with Brian Ross.

First, he holds the position of ABC Chief Political Correspondent. He and Brian obviously talked about this prior to George putting him on the air with something he termed “significant.” The Ross reference to the Tea Party should have set off a cautionary alarm bell in George’s head, in part because he is fully aware of the several false initial charges that have been leveled at the Tea Party in the past. He should have recommended to Ross that he might want to look into it further, and that it was premature to go to air with it.

But instead, the former Democrat political operative for Bill Clinton gave way to the exact opposite instinct — go with the broad-brush smear, perhaps thinking that he and Brian could deal with it later, if it proved wrong. Keep in mind that even after rising to the lofty (and lefty) news heights at ABC, George Stephanopoulos continued as a regular participant in frequent conference calls with his old Clinton-clan buddies, including Carville, Begala and Emanuel! His instinct, therefore, as the supposedly responsible top ABC political correspondent, was just dead wrong.

Secondly, Stephanopoulos is also the co-anchor of Good Morning America, the show where the smear took place! That should have given him a second layer of involvement in keeping bad information from getting through their media filter. In fact, the buck stops with him because he IS the filter, or at least he should be!

Stephanopoulos inappropriately allowed — even encouraged — slanderous information about the Tea Party Jim Holmes to be aired on his show.

I am sure there was also a producer for the show who was involved in the mix as — someone whose name we haven’t heard as yet. Remember Mary Mapes?

This is a Presidential election year … one involving an as yet very close race, and in which we have already seen how ugly and highly charged the atmosphere is and will get. It is for all the marbles!

Was this an intentional effort by Mr. Stephanopoulos to hurl mud at someone in the hope that something might stick to one of his political enemies — a member of the Tea Party? Hard to say without an independent internal review, conducted by someone with a little gravitas.

Maybe it was just horrendously bad judgment . . . an act that immediately put the Jim Holmes associated with the Tea Party at physical risk for his life! And his family at risk too! Thankfully for ABC, nothing happened, but that may only be because Ross and Stephanopoulos lucked out!

The best you can say about this incident is that it was a grossly negligent act on the part of both of those men, one that obviously deserves some form internal review and judgment made, one that should be conducted by a trustworthy and independent investigator. My own view is that both of them should be on leave of absence until it is resolved.

ABC wants no part of any such thing, in part because they remember the CBS/Rather debacle from 8 years ago. But this was on-air poison being deliberately spread, and not just by Brian Ross!

Trochilus on July 24, 2012 at 1:17 PM

Really? If you can give us examples of the blogosphere concocting stories on a par with Rathergate, or CNN’s legendary journalistic scandals, please do so.

C’mon. Are you serious? THIS IS WHAT MANY BLOGS DO EVERY DAY. Try to gin something up. Every day, all day long.

How many times do we see so-what stories posted here that are supposed to be a Big Deal for whatever reason? You see that everywhere.

Sometimes they do take off. And, Rather just got screwed by Roger Stone. He was that much of a sucker.

Moesart on July 24, 2012 at 12:31 PM

You have to put these things in perspective.

Had Rathergate succeeded, it would have changed the outcome of a political election for President of the United States.

And CNN’s numerous journalistic scandals were primarily accusing the US Military of war crimes that they had never committed. Just that false reporting put American military lives in danger around the world.

If you can find any blog-generated stories that are on a par with those, I’m willing to listen.

Del Dolemonte on July 24, 2012 at 1:17 PM

Just diss Bammie or Moochy, or tell the truth about the left, that oughtta get ya’ fired from ABC–or support Romney and the right.

stukinIL4now on July 24, 2012 at 1:27 PM

Contrast what George and Brian did to what I just saw on FOX News a few minutes ago.

Trace Gallagher reported on Holme’s mother stating that ABC mis-reported her remarks during the phone call on Friday morning.

Meghyn Kelly made sure to add to his report that ABC was sticking by their original story.

Flora Duh on July 24, 2012 at 1:34 PM

TeaPartiers/Conservatives/Republicans/non-Socialists = The only group of people who the liberals think it is politically correct to discriminate against.

Discriminate = To act on the basis of prejudice.

wren on July 24, 2012 at 1:37 PM

BOR lost me when he defended Obama being called a “socialist” by saying he was not a socialist but a “reluctant Capitalist”…

LOL

Strike Hornet on July 24, 2012 at 1:46 PM

If only Stewart would move toward being a 50/50 critic. The dude is magical when he’s skewering someone. Still enjoy him though. I get the sense that he actually does believe in what he does, which is a refreshing change.

LukeinNE on July 24, 2012 at 2:04 PM

Q: So what does a guy have to do to get fired at ABC?

A: Tell the truth about obama.

Pork-Chop on July 24, 2012 at 2:11 PM

Here is the link to the first revelation, by John F. Harris at Politico, about the regular conference calls Stephanopoulos participates in with his old Clinton-clan buddies.

Brent Bozell and conservatives subsequently went after George’s role at ABC, particularly considering that one of the participants in the conference calls was Rahm Emanuel, who was at the time just beginning his stint as the White House Chief of Staff for Obama.

But that was at the beginning of the Obama deification by the MSM. So, the attack failed, and among George’s strident defenders was Politico’s Ben Smith, who insisted that Stephanopoulos had good and proven journalistic instincts, and that there was no indication he was participating in strategy sessions! Oh sure!

Gee, I wonder if Smith would defend George’s actions re: this latest incident regarding James Holmes of the Tea Party?

Look, this is a serious enough breach of basic journalistic standards that both George and Brian should be put on hold — leave of absence — and a serious investigation of what occurred should be undertaken by ABC.

It should not matter (as one commenter above suggested) that the potential consequence of Rathergate was more serious — likely the outcome of the Presidential race.

This plays directly into both the Presidential race, and the Congressional races as well. Any “successful” smearing of the Tea Party would damage Republican prospects in the fall.

What really should matter is the obvious and blatant breach of fundamental journalistic standards by both Brian Ross and George Stephanopoulos.

A good investigative review might well reveal an ongoing pattern of abuse and/or bias.

For example, suppose there was a producer for ABC who had cautioned against going to air with the Tea Party James Holmes angle, but who was overruled by Stephanopoulos?

I’m certainly NOT saying that happened, but suppose something like that did happen? How would we ever know? What we do know is that two supposedly top journalists, BOTH participated in a basic and serious breach of journalistic standards. No one at ABC thought to hesitate? Come on!

One of those “journalists” was a long time Democrat partisan political operative, with ongoing ties to his former clan, all of whom hate the Tea Party. And the other is an investigative reporter with a sometimes history of shooting from the hip.

Someone needs to get to the bottom of it, and that is the responsibility of ABC News, or they deserve to lose all of their credibility — if they haven’t already.

Trochilus on July 24, 2012 at 2:24 PM

Jon Stewart: ‘What story does a guy have to blow to get in trouble at ABC?’

Answer: ANY story praising OBOZO or any other lunatic-left d-cRAT socialist. (These MUST ALWAYS be presented as PERFECT propaganda. If not, it’s a firing offense.)

TeaPartyNation on July 24, 2012 at 2:42 PM

If you can find any blog-generated stories that are on a par with those, I’m willing to listen.

Del Dolemonte on July 24, 2012 at 1:17 PM

What about that story about exploding Ford cars/trucks blowing up into a ball of flame? I’m sure it was a blog that did that rigged, expose about Ford wasn’t it? Huh? Huh?

Vince on July 24, 2012 at 2:49 PM

Q: So what does a guy have to do to get fired at ABC?

A: Tell the truth about obama.

Pork-Chop on July 24, 2012 at 2:11 PM

.
Telling the truth about Maurice Strong, or George Soros will get an employee in much more trouble at ABC, NBC, CBS, or CNN than a truthful report on Obama would.

listens2glenn on July 24, 2012 at 2:50 PM

Esthier on July 24, 2012 at 12:46 PM

I was referencing your line ‘Not sure Andrew Sullivan and The Atlantic are considered on par with blogs.’
I agree with that.
And Andrew Sullivan’s constant pushing of the trig rumors – whilst repeatedly claiming he wasn’t ‘saying it’s true’ himself…I see that as parallel to Fox News’ hyper ‘reporting’ on the birther & “Obama’s a Muslim’ stuff – with Sullivan-esque defensiveness on whether they felt these rumors true.

verbaluce on July 24, 2012 at 3:32 PM

Here is a huge point that I haven’t seen anyone make. Maybe they have on a different story.

Now that ABC has made this mistake and not taken action besides apologizing, it calls the integrity of all their news reporting into question.

The claims that the Aurora shooter’s mother about her comment “you have the right person” are absolutely believable given the fact the ABC had already pushed the idea of the shooter being a Tea Party member.

If Ross had not made that mistake, I think most objective people may side with ABC as they stand behind their reporter saying he got the story right. However, since the mistake was made, ABC has less credibility.

The shooter’s mother is now the believable one precisely because of this mistake. This now makes ABC look even worse. They may have basically created stories out of whole cloth twice in one day.

Surely someone now needs to be fired at ABC News.

Let this be a lesson to the MSM. False reporting and floating ideas to score political points has reprecussions that will be fealt when your credibility takes a hit.

weaselyone on July 24, 2012 at 3:50 PM

Liberal sacks of crap aren’t even worth talking to anymore. They have no anchor in reality and certainly no credibility. I think they are ALL prospective mass murderers because they support varying brands of communism, which always leads to genocide.

Liberals are evil. Period.

Wolfmoon on July 24, 2012 at 4:09 PM

O’Reily was defending Ross last night in his segment with

Bernie Goldberg. Bernie wasn’t buying it. . . .Me either.

Texyank on July 24, 2012 at 4:43 PM

BuckeyeSam on July 24, 2012 at 11:37 AM

Megadittos

Texyank on July 24, 2012 at 4:47 PM

What will it take to get suspended.

Endorse Mitt Romney
Report the real unemployment numbers
Announce same sex marriage is wrong

Anything supporting conservatives causes.

banzaibob on July 24, 2012 at 6:29 PM

But aside from Ross jumping the gun here –
consider there were also rushed rumors from the right/Tea Party blogs that the guy was OWS connected.

verbaluce on July 24, 2012 at 11:35 AM

Wow, but you’re a f@#$ing moron.

Midas on July 24, 2012 at 6:31 PM

Not only that, but ABC (I believe purposefully so they’d have something “new” to report) misconstrued the conversation they had with the evil shooter’s mother. I totally believe what she says happened. It just makes sense. At 5:30am in the morning, I very much doubt that she could possibly know what had happened or that her son was that looney tunes. It simply doesn’t make sense the way ABC tells it.

katablog.com on July 24, 2012 at 6:48 PM

Liberals aren’t stupid. They’re…liberals. First and foremost.

I’m of the view they need a psychological category unto themselves.

It’s possible to get through to people mentally ill. You can also reach a person suffering severe Down’s and even to sufferers of autism.

But you can’t reach a liberal.

Liam on July 24, 2012 at 12:01 PM

I’ve pretty much reached the same conclusion. When they are confronted with facts that disprove their arguments the only reply they have is to call you names like a 4 year old, or to blame “BOOSH!”

Mini-14 on July 24, 2012 at 7:08 PM

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, sources told POLITICO

Newsflash for you, you a$$-*ucking leftist nitwit: fire every single mother-fu**ing person in your news division, including the janitorial staff, and start over. And this time, as you attempt to build a credible journalistic network news enterprise from the ground up, issue a soft mandate to the people who run it to

a) hire people throughout the organization with a modest variety of backgrounds and worldview;

b) carefully avoid a situation where 95 effing % of your staff is closely, financially, almost religiously associated with one political/anti-religious/anti-American party/worldview; and

c) report the news with at least a passing familiarity with journalistic standards of non-bias and credibility, Mr. Goldfarb.

Is that helpful?!

Jaibones on July 24, 2012 at 7:22 PM

Stewart, in his occasional-but-this-time-desperate attempt to feign personal credibility is absolutely destroying every other liberal in American media with this stunt.

He is calling this out so clearly and routinely that the other 99% of — Media bias? WHAT media bias?! — Democrats are looking very, very stupid in their silence.

Jaibones on July 24, 2012 at 7:25 PM

But aside from Ross jumping the gun here –
consider there were also rushed rumors from the right/Tea Party blogs that the guy was OWS connected.

verbaluce on July 24, 2012 at 11:35 AM

One thing to consider is that the OWS folks were involved in a lot of illegal and violent behavior and no matter how much the media want it to be so, the TEA Party folks aren’t involved in such.

RJL on July 24, 2012 at 9:34 PM

Filling in for regular host Bill O’Reilly, guest host Laura Ingraham, a reactionary firebrand known for her rabid opposition to the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque,” took the helm of The O’Reilly Factor for Friday’s (pre-taped) show. The Norwegian terror attacks were the day’s big story, and Ingraham addressed them during the ‘Back of the Book’ segment:

“Two deadly terror attacks in Norway, in what appears to be the work, once again, of Muslim extremists.”

plewis on July 25, 2012 at 10:03 AM

Stephanopoulos: Okay, we’ll keep looking at that. Brian Ross, thanks very much.

-
Really… Stephie jumped at correcting Obama’s ‘my muslim faith’ slip… as in before Barry’s lips stopped moving he was throwing down some cover. But he’s like ‘thanks’ on his. Obviously Stephie is a numb nuts who only snaps to when it’s important… to his buds on teh left.
-

Stewart: So what does a guy have to do to get fired at ABC?

-
My guess… say something truthfully nice about Palin followed by something honestly bad about Barry…
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RalphyBoy on July 25, 2012 at 5:48 PM

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