Swanson: ABC News’ Blunder has Demonstrated How Out of Control the Trump-Russia Hysteria has Gotten

Swanson: ABC News’ Blunder has Demonstrated How Out of Control the Trump-Russia Hysteria has Gotten

By Gavin Swanson, Opinion Writer

On December 1, chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross broke to the world that former national security adviser Michael Flynn was ordered by candidate Donald Trump to make contact with Russian officials. This would confirm once and for all after many months of speculation from the mainstream media and concerned citizens of America that Donald Trump colluded with the Russian government to be elected president of the United States.

With news as groundbreaking as this it’s only natural that it spread quickly. The tweet made by the ABC account that broke the story got 25,000 retweets, the stock market tanked and the news was being repeated and relayed on morning talk shows like The View. A response like this can only be expected with something as shattering as that.

Except that it wasn’t true.

The report made by Brian Ross at ABC News misinterpreted a key difference in meaning. On December 1, it was made known that Michael Flynn would testify to Robert Mueller that Donald Trump ordered him to make contact with Russian officials after the election. The Donald Trump that gave Flynn the orders was not Republican candidate Trump, but President-elect Trump. This difference means that we’re back to having no evidence of Trump colluding with Russia to get elected President.

But with ABC News being the respected and well vetted network that they are, when they broke the news that Trump colluded with Russia, people took it as the truth of the situation. This, in spite of the fact that other well respected publications and networks like CNN, The New York Times and The Washington Post broke the same story, but factually correctly. But people didn’t dig deeper than seeing the initial report or seeing the tweet, and they spread the misinformation unaware of its falsehood. A lot of it is due to the fact that, like I said earlier, ABC News is very well respected and their journalism can usually be accepted at face value by the average reader or watcher. But a lot of it is also due to the fact that a lot of people wanted to believe this story and have waited for something like it since election day.

And the anticipation and celebration of this false story is evident from the reaction it received before the world realized that it wasn’t true. This is exhibited pretty hilariously on a previously mentioned show, The View. Joy Behar, longtime host of The View broke the news in an excited fashion to cheering applause. People cheered to the confirmation that the elected head of state cheated the American democratic process.

It’s more than evident that there is a very large portion of Americans that are not fans of our current president and just simply cannot comprehend that he won without some outside help. This has caused major mainstream media outlets like CNN to report and investigate a possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government during the election cycle. So far no evidence has been presented to the American people of this relationship. This has not stopped Trump resisters from feverishly accepting it as the undisputed truth of the matter.

As a result of this blunder, Brian Ross has been suspended from ABC News for four weeks without pay. They deleted the tweet and made a correction saying that the story did not receive proper vetting before being reported. Unfortunately, the damage had already been done. The misinformation was spread and as a result Trump has more ammunition to fight with in his war against fake news.

Should the mainstream media investigate a possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government? Sure, why not? If they find out that there was collusion then that’s obviously a huge deal and should be reported. If they don’t then they just wasted their time and made themselves look like fools. Either way we don’t lose anything from it. However, we shouldn’t be so excited about a story that has less than solid evidence to its credit than a lot of popular conspiracy theories.