Who wins the Brian Ross Trophy this week?
Back in December 2017, ABC News suspended Brian Ross for "breaking" a story that turned out to be wrong about President Trump. Ross thought he got Trump, but the truth got the newsman!
Over the last week, we saw two news stories that should cause a lot of indigestion for deans in journalism schools.
First, the New York Times published a headline about President Trump working for Russia. Unfortunately, those who actually read the story found that the text did not support the dramatic headline.
BuzzFeed ran another juicy headline about President Trump. The allegation this time was that Mr. Trump had told Michael Cohen to lie to Congress.
As expected, it caused an uproar, from Democrats to news people saying that "if true," then we got impeachment around the corner. Reserve your seats, because impeachment proceedings are coming, and very soon.
Once again, the story fell apart.
What does it mean? Professor Dershowitz nailed it with this post:
As soon as I read the explosive BuzzFeed News report alleging there was evidence that President Trump had directed his former attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress, I was very suspicious.
Even before the Office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller issued a statement Friday night saying that the BuzzFeed account was "not accurate," I wrote an op-ed for the New York Daily News raising questions about whether there was actually credible evidence that Trump suborned perjury or obstructed justice by telling Cohen to lie to lawmakers.
It seemed obvious that there were no smoking gun emails containing any such direction from the president. Nor would there be eyewitnesses to any such alleged conversation.
Like the professor, I was skeptical about the story.
In fact, I was invited on Friday afternoon to record a Sunday "news review" and expressed my skepticism about the story. My exact words were "let's wait and see where this goes."
I did not have to wait that long. The story was a dud in a few hours.
Over the years, I've met a lot of good newsmen and newswomen. They take their jobs seriously and do their best to research the facts.
I wonder how those serious news people feel after the New York Times' headline and BuzzFeed!
Who is going to win the next "Brian Ross Award"? Stay tuned!