ABC News staffers say they endured a brutal Monday morning call with ABC News President James Goldston today, the first such call since the network mistakenly reported that Donald Trump had directed Michael Flynn to reach out to Russia as a candidate.
“I don’t think ever in my career have I felt more rage and disappointment and frustration that I felt through this weekend and through the last half of Friday,” Goldston reportedly told staffers. He added:
I don’t even know how many times we’ve talked about this, how many times we have talked about the need to get it right… in this particular moment, with the stakes as high as these stakes are right now, we cannot afford to get it wrong.
On Friday morning, chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross failed to correct that report — which was based on a single anonymous source — for hours. In that time, the stock market took a nosedive, reacting to what was understood at the time to be clear evidence that then-candidate Donald Trump had ordered his campaign to collude with Russia. President Donald Trump has suggested that anyone impacted by the brief stock dip should consider legal action.
The network apologized, issuing a statement that said in part: “We deeply regret and apologize for the serious error we made yesterday.”
But, judging by Monday’s call, the damage was done. Goldston reportedly told ABC News staffers:
“If it isn’t obvious to everyone in this news division, we have taken a huge hit and we have made the job of every single person in this news division harder as a result. It’s much, much harder. We have people in Washington who are going to bear the brunt of this today and in the days forward. Very, very, very, very unfortunate. Really, really angry about it.”
He added that the network was “absolutely pilloried as a news division for reporting fake news.”