CNN panelist: ABC mistake ‘like handing a sword’ to people who criticize the media

CNN panelist: ABC mistake ‘like handing a sword’ to people who criticize the media
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CNN's Brian Stelter and a panel of reporters on Sunday tore into ABC News reporter Brian Ross for his false reporting on former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn.

One reporter on the panel, Jeff Greenfield, warned that Ross's botched report has provided the president's supporters with ammunition to dismiss accurate reporting.

“This is exactly what Trump and his allies want to say: ‘No matter what you hear on mainstream media, it’s fake. They’re doing it to hurt us,’ " Greenfield said on CNN's "Reliable Sources."

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"And this is like handing a sword to the people who want all media to be looked at in that regard,” he continued.

“This is not Brian Ross’s first mistake in reporting breaking news inaccurately,” he added, listing several occasions when Ross reported inaccurate stories over the years. 

ABC News suspended Ross after he inaccurately reported on Friday that Flynn was prepared to testify that Trump "directed him to make contact with the Russians" during the campaign. The news outlet later corrected the report, saying that the source said Trump directed Flynn to reach out to Russia and other foreign governments about fighting ISIS, as well as other issues, after he had won the election.

The initial claim suggesting Trump asked his campaign aide to reach out to the Russians during the campaign picked up major media attention, as multiple investigations are looking into whether Trump campaign aides colluded with Moscow to influence the outcome of the election.

Other veteran reporters on the CNN panel heavily criticized Ross's report.

CNN media reporter Oliver Darcy told Stelter that Ross's future at the network is on shaky ground, suggesting ABC leadership is “very embarrassed” about the high-profile error.

— Updated: 4:20 p.m.