ABC News Admits 'Incorrectly' Linking Tea Party to Mass Murder in Colorado

Three hours after reporter Brian Ross attempted to connect a mass killing in Colorado to the Tea Party, ABC News admitted that the story on Good Morning America was "incorrect." The retraction was added to the top of an existing online article about the murders.

The story conceded, "An earlier ABC News broadcast report suggested that a Jim Holmes of a Colorado Tea Party organization might be the suspect, but that report was incorrect." [Update: Ross has now admitted his error on live ABC coverage. See video  and more updates below.]

The online story originally tried to spread blame around and away from ABC: "Several other local residents with similar names were also contacted via social media by members of the public who mistook them for the suspect." That sentence has since been removed from the article.

On July 9, Good Morning America averaged 4.55 million viewers for the week. A simple correction on ABC News.com will reach very few people. [Update: Ross has now apologized on ABC. See above.]

Ross has yet to update his Twitter page. In the hours after the shooting, he immediately got political, attempting to make a point on gun control.

[Second update] Breitbart.com has an interview with the real James Holmes, a 52-year-old Hispanic Tea Party member-- and not a mass killer:

"It was freaky," said Holmes, describing his reaction when ABC News speculated that he was the culprit who entered a crowded theater and opened fire on dozens of innocent men, women, and children. He disconnected his telephone and says that he is worried about members of his family who might be contacted by the media.

[Third Update]:

Brian Ross has now apologized on his Twitter account: "Earlier I reported incorrectly that the shooting suspect might be tied to the Tea Party. I apologize for the mistake."

For more on ABC News's original reporting, see this NewsBusters post.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org