ABC News Reporter Brian Ross "Shooter Was A Tea Party Member" Claim Generating Backlash

The blowback from ABC reporter Brian Ross's falsely reporting that the Aurora, Colorado shooter was a Tea party activist has been growing. While there is a Colorado Tea party member by the name of James Holmes, he in no way, shape, or form resembles the James Holmes who actually perpetrated this heinous crime. As more than one commenter on the blogosphere has stated, a few minutes on the web at Google or the Colorado Tea party websites would have proven that Tea party member Holmes was not Aurora shooter Holmes. How slipshod (or lazy) is that?

But once that kind of claim is made in the MSM, it becomes fact, at least for many of the evidence deficient Left. And as of yet there has been no apology for smearing Tea party member Holmes' name other than a brief editor's note on the ABC News website. Too many folks believing the “yet another mad dog Tea party member has been shooting up Colorado” meme will never see that note. Better that ABC News made the apology on the air.

And the hits keep on coming, even from left-leaning blogs, and rightfully so.

OK then! There's some guy on the internet with the same name. That is literally all Ross had—no other connection, not one reason to even remotely suspect that it's the same Holmes. Just that there is a guy with that name, on the internet.

That astonishingly stupid speculation led the geniuses at Breitbart to rebut the calumny with their own guy-named-James-Holmes, this one a registered Democrat. So there! "There are certainly more facts in our documents than in ABC News' irresponsible speculations," Joel Pollak wrote, hilariously and maddeningly.


Point being: Never, ever listen to anything Ross reports unless and until it has been confirmed by another, better, reporter.

But the media in general has to take some of the blame, particularly television. Their obsessive need to be “first with the story”, the ongoing 24-hour news cycle, and the search for ratings has been behind a lot of the problems. With these kinds motivations is it any wonder why Matt Welch has dubbed them as “half-assed media”?

Undeterred by how wrong they got the Columbine shootings 13 years ago, or how disgustingly politicized they turned Jared Loughner's 2011 rampage, the humans who work for and talk with journalistic outlets are again rushing to speculative judgment about Jim Holmes, the suspected Batman murderer in Aurora, Colorado.

It's the old “If it bleeds, it ledes” mentality magnified. Take a tragedy, sensationalize the hell out of it, skip fact checking (or minimalize it at best), fling out all kinds of unsubstantiated theories and speculation, and then move on to other stories before the facts of the tragedy come out. They leave it to others to pick up the pieces of the truth they so blithely shattered in their need to get the story out before their competition. It doesn't matter to them that they may have damaged or destroyed the reputations of people unconnected to the tragedy.

We see this again and again and it's always the same. Too often the news operations try to make the news rather than just reporting the news. Along with that many reports resemble editorials rather than actual reports, with reporters and news anchors offering opinion as if it were fact. (I actually remember when the local TV stations here in New England aired editorials by their news directors and editors, labeling them as editorials. There was no confusion about them. That practice has all but disappeared, and with it, the viewing public's trust.)

And the MSM wonders why an increasing number of people have little trust or faith in them to report the news?