ABC suspends journalist over inaccurate Flynn report

In this Nov. 16, 2015 photo provided by ABC, correspondent Brian Ross speaks on “Good Morning America,” which airs on the ABC Television Network, in New York. ABC has suspended investigative reporter Ross Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017, for four weeks without pay. (AP)
Updated 03 December 2017
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ABC suspends journalist over inaccurate Flynn report

WASHINGTON: The US news network ABC announced Saturday it had suspended its chief investigative correspondent for four weeks without pay after he was forced to correct a bombshell report on ex-Trump aide Michael Flynn.
Flynn pleaded guilty Friday to lying to the FBI over his contacts with Russia, a dramatic escalation of the sprawling investigation into possible collusion between Donald Trump’s campaign team and Moscow.
Brian Ross, a longtime ABC reporter, said during a special report shortly thereafter that Flynn would testify that the president ordered him to reach out to Moscow during the campaign — news that sent Wall Street shares tumbling.
ABC later issued a clarification, saying its source had in fact indicated that the orders from Trump came during the presidential transition, after the November 2016 election.
“We deeply regret and apologize for the serious error we made yesterday,” ABC said in a statement, adding that the special report “had not been fully vetted through our editorial standards process.”
“It is vital we get the story right and retain the trust we have built with our audience — these are our core principles,” the statement continued.
“We fell far short of that yesterday.”
Trump quickly jumped on Twitter to praise ABC’s move: “Congratulations to @ABC News for suspending Brian Ross for his horrendously inaccurate and dishonest report on the Russia, Russia, Russia Witch Hunt. More Networks and ‘papers’ should do the same with their Fake News!“
Flynn’s guilty plea, on a federal charge of making false statements to investigators, came with a pledge to cooperate with special prosecutor Robert Mueller.
Mueller’s focus goes beyond possible collusion with Russia to shady business dealings and whether Trump himself tried to thwart the investigation.
The White House rejected the idea that Flynn could implicate “anyone” else, as the inaccurate ABC report had suggested.
Ross also took to Twitter to comment on the blunder: “My job is to hold people accountable and that’s why I agree with being held accountable myself.”


Twitter CEO defends controversial Myanmar tweets

Updated 3 min 16 sec ago
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Twitter CEO defends controversial Myanmar tweets

  • Critics piled into the tech mogul for being “tone deaf” at a time when the UN has said Myanmar’s generals should be investigated for genocide
  • Dorsey said he has been a long-time meditator and wanted to travel to Buddhist-majority Myanmar where Vipassana is practiced in its “original form”

YANGON: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on Wednesday defended a series of tweets about his recent meditation retreat in Myanmar that were pilloried on his own platform for failing to mention the persecution of Rohingya Muslims.
Dorsey’s gushing thread on Sunday came after a 10-day silent Vipassana meditation retreat near Mandalay in which he praised the country’s food, beauty and its people, whom he said were “full of joy.”
The comments drew heat online for leaving out any discussion of atrocities committed against Myanmar’s Rohingya minority during a military crackdown last year that drove more than 720,000 people into Bangladesh camps.
Critics piled into the tech mogul for being “tone deaf” at a time when the UN has said Myanmar’s generals should be investigated for genocide.
In a series of tweets, Dorsey defended his actions but conceded he could have handled the situation better.
“I’m aware of the human rights atrocities and suffering in Myanmar. I don’t view visiting, practicing, or talking with the people, as endorsement,” he said.
“I didn’t intend to diminish by not raising the issue, but could have acknowledged that I don’t know enough and need to learn more.”
Dorsey said he has been a long-time meditator and wanted to travel to Buddhist-majority Myanmar where Vipassana is practiced in its “original form.”
Twitter is not nearly as popular in Myanmar as Facebook, which has been accused of not doing enough to control hate speech that fueled anti-Rohingya and anti-Muslim sentiment.
But hate speech during the Rohingya crisis also spilled over onto the micro-messaging site, which is facing similar allegations over hosting toxic content in countries where it is more broadly used.
Dorsey batted away speculation that there was a business twist to the visit, saying he had no conversations with the government during his trip, and described the platform as a way to raise awareness about human rights issues.
“Twitter is a way for people to share news and information about events in Myanmar as well as to bear witness to the plight of the Rohingya and other peoples and communities,” he said.
It is not the first time the traveling tech whizz has stirred outrage online.
On a trip to India in November, Dorsey was accused of inciting hatred against the highest caste after he was photographed holding a poster declaring “smash Brahminical patriarchy.”