BOB GARFIELD: News is fast paced and errors are collateral damage. We were struck in preparing for our Stephanie Manson interview though that ABC's Brian Ross was under no breaking news deadline pressure when recounting Jamie Leigh Jones version of events, with barely a word of contradictory testimony.
BRIAN ROSS: Jamie Lee says she was taken by KBR security guards to a US Army doctor, who carried out a standard rape kit examination and, who Jamie says, told her she had been raped by more than one man, gang raped.
BOB GARFIELD: Once again, though this segment was rebroadcast on the eve of the trial, ABC has not since aired so much as an update, much less a retraction. For Brian Ross stories, they might consider a form letter. The network’s star investigative reporter has shelves full of trophies and many big scoops to his credit, notably uncovering the sexual misconduct that led to the resignation of former Congressman Mark Foley, but he's also amassed a series of damaging blunders. Here he is after the Aurora, Colorado theater shooting, with Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Now, I want to go to Brian Ross here, ‘cause Brian, you’ve been looking at - investigating the background of Jim Holmes here and you found something that might be significant.
BRIAN ROSS: There is a Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado, a page on the Colorado Tea Party site, as well, talking about him joining the Tea Party last year. Now, we don’t know if this is the same Jim Holmes but it’s Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado.
BOB GARFIELD: Nope, different James Holmes, tarring an individual and a political faction, in one fell swoop. Ross likes swooping in on big stories, with big ramifications. In 2001, early in the Bush administration's buildup for the war in Iraq, he linked Saddam Hussein to anthrax attacks in the United States, based on erroneous claims from anonymous sources. In 2007, he passed along the allegation of an ex-CIA officer that only 30 seconds of waterboarding yielded key intelligence from an important terrorism suspect, a single-source claim that helped inform the widespread public acceptance of torture in interrogation, except that CIA documents later proved the suspect was waterboarded the least 83 times.
We asked ABC News why the only follow-up to Ross’s Jamie Leigh Jones story was an abcnews.com article about the court verdict, a story that never mentioned Ross’s TV coverage. ABC offered a statement that did not address the question and declined repeated requests for a direct answer.