There’s been more than a few new stories retracted by mainstream media companies over the past year in the United States.
A tense political climate and questionable journalistic practices have kept viewers on edge, as the line between legitimate news-reporting and biased promotional narratives becomes blurrier. However, a recent blunder from ABC did more than cause their reputation to take a hit – it had the same effect on the stock market.
Brian Ross cited an unnamed source when he reported that president Donald Trump had told security adviser Michael Flynn to make contact with the Russians.
Though a year has passed since the election, consistent rumors and conspiracy theories regarding the involvement of Russian officials in the U.S. presidential process continue to persist. Several theories and narratives have been presented by various news networks across the U.S., many of whom supported other candidates in the election. But most of these stories are revealed to have been fabrications and half-truths.
This was also the case with ABC’s story. Ross clarified his report that evening, stating that his source had clarified and noted that Trump had not contacted Russia during his candidacy, but when he was the president-elect. The topic of the conversation was reportedly how the two leaders could work together to combat ISIS.
The clarification was made after the stock market took a significant dip, though it recovered shortly after. The short-lived panic caused a great deal of ire against ABC, who took action to show their commitment to avoiding a similar issue in the future.
Ross was suspended for four weeks, without pay, as a consequence of his faulty report. ABC officials criticized him for waiting too long to make the clarification, and for failing to verify his sources in the first place.
ABC isn’t the only mainstream network that has let their penchant to deliver a breaking story get in the way of their journalistic integrity. CNN posted an article in June of this year, claiming to have evidence of more Russian collusion. However, this too was discovered to be false, and the employees behind the article stepped down after the news broke.
Spreading ideas like these may help the networks stay relevant in a time when mainstream media outlets are falling to alternative media. But the consequences of spreading false information about a presidential election are very serious.
Controversies over elections have triggered civil and international wars in the past, as well as general economic uncertainty. Despite the tumultuous political climate in the U.S., the economy has been strong throughout the past year.
Mainstream media outlets are now taking a closer look at the stories they put out, and are taking more decisive action to show their staffs how damaging these reporting errors can be. Whether it’s bad sources, personal bias, or a combination of the two that’s led to the questionable reports, one thing is clear – the greater reach a media outlet has, the more careful they must be with what they put out.
Image Source: defense.gov