In television journalism, few reporters are as controversial as Brian Ross of ABC News.
The investigative correspondent has landed major scoops and won prestigious awards for his reporting on the Peace Corps, Solyndra, and U.S. antiterrorism efforts — to name just a few. And yet, he has also produced more high-level haphazard reporting than perhaps any other reporter on television.
Ross came under attack again Friday when he reported that James Holmes, the suspect of today’s theater shooting in Aurora, Colo., may have connections to the tea party — basing that on a single web page that listed an Aurora-based “Jim Holmes” as a member of the Colorado Tea Party Patriots.
“There is a Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado, page on the Colorado Tea Party site as well, talking about him joining the tea party last year,” Ross reported on Good Morning America. “Now, we don’t know if this is the same Jim Holmes – but this is Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado.”
The report — which no other media touched and ABC News and Ross later would apologize for — drew immediate criticism from right-wing bloggers and ultimately from journalism experts on both sides of the aisle who felt that Ross irresponsibly sought to politicize the tragedy and engender controversy.