ABC News Prez on James Holmes-Tea Party Error, ABC News Adds Editor's Note

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ABC News’ president Ben Sherwood apologized for ABC News’ Brian Ross’ wrong report linking the Aurora, Colorado Dark Knight Rises shooting suspect James Holmes to the Tea Party, Mediaite reported.

As we have written, ABC News apologized for wrongly reporting that there was a “Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado” on the Colorado Tea Party website, but it turned out to be a different person than the suspect.

Sherwood said at a “Television Critics Association press tour” that the error was “an unfortunate mistake,” Mediaite reported. Sherwood added:
“We put something on the air that we did not know to be true and the part that we needed to be true was not germane to the story we were covering.”

According to the Chicago Tribune, Sherwood also said of the error:

“We recognized it immediately, we owned it immediately, we corrected it immediately. We know that particular moment did not live up to the standards and practices of ABC News. I take responsibility for it. The buck stops with me and the news division knows how displeased I am with that.”

The New York Times noted that Sherwood said that Ross  “had since contacted the man he had named [as the Tea Party member] and apologized.”

Despite the high-profile error, Ross “was not suspended and there was not a formal reprimand,” but Sherwood and Ross had a “stern and serious conversation,” according to the Times.

He also defended ABC News’ quoting of Arlene Holmes. As we wrote, Arlene Holmes, suspected mass murderer James Holmes’ mother, challenged ABC News’ quoting her to suggest she wasn’t surprised by the accusations against her son, when she says now she was just identifying herself.

Editor’s Note Added

Meanwhile, Denver, Colorado ABC-affiliate KMGH also questioned ABC News‘ reporting on the shooting, Media Bistro’s TV Spy reported.

As TV Spy explained,

“Both ABC News and the New York Daily News reported yesterday Holmes has been spitting at officers at the Arapahoe County Jail, and at one point was forced to wear a face guard.”

But, KMGH reported July 25 that “knowledgeable sources” challenged reports from “two national news organizations” about Holmes’ “acting out at the Arapahoe County Jail.”  According to KMGH, its unnamed sources said the spitting claims were “simply false.”

The reports of spitting were re-reported by many outlets including Time and Huffington Post. ABC News has since added an editor’s note to its story reading:

“Editor’s Note: On Tuesday night, ABC News local affiliate station KMGH reported that sources they contacted denied that James Holmes had spit at guards or was made to wear a facemask.”

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ABC News Prez on James Holmes-Tea Party Error, ABC News Adds Editor’s Note to ‘Spitting’ article

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