ABC’s Fake News on Trump-Russia Investigation Shows Why Public Faith in Media is at Rock Bottom
If members of the American media are still wondering why US President Donald Trump gets away with shamelessly calling all media critical of his presidency “fake news,” they need look no further than ABC’s misreporting of a crucial story last Friday.
ABC’s Brian Ross reported the latest supposed bombshell in the never-ending saga over as yet unproven claims of collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russian officials to tarnish opponent Hillary Clinton’s image and swing the election in his favor.
Ross incorrectly reported that Gen. Michael Flynn, formerly Trump’s national security adviser, would testify that Trump had directed him to contact Russian officials during the presidential campaign. This would indeed have been a big story, had it been true. ABC later reported, however, that its source – a confidant of Flynn’s – had clarified that Flynn would testify that Trump had directed him to contact Russian officials during the transition period after the election, while Trump was president-elect – not during the campaign, as Ross had first erroneously reported.
There is a world of difference between these two claims, so to mix them up or fail to clarify them with absolute certainty was a huge mistake on ABC’s part. What’s more, the specific contact Trump had ordered Flynn to initiate, according to the source, was about finding ways the US and Russia could work together to fight ISIS and solve the Syrian crisis.
But the channel’s initial and far more sinister version of events sent Russiagaters into gleeful frenzy on Friday afternoon. It was their long-awaited “We got him!” moment. On ABC’s daytime liberal talk show The View, co-host Joy Behar threw her hands up in the air shouting, “Yay!” while her audience erupted into wild applause. She then shouted “Lock them up! Lock them up!” to more cheers. ABC’s tweet corresponding to their huge scoop was retweeted more than 25,000 times before it was deleted. The stock market even briefly tanked on the news.