As NewsBusters previously reported, ABC's Brian Ross on Friday falsely accused a Tea Party member of being the "James Holmes" that orchestrated the movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colorado.
On CNN's Reliable Sources Sunday, National Review's Ramesh Ponnuru said Good Morning America host George Stephanopoulos shares some of the blame for not challenging Ross about his "awfully thin" assertion (video follows with transcript and commentary):
RAMESH PONNURU, NATIONAL REVIEW: And I think that raises another question, which is everybody's been jumping all over Brian Ross, I think appropriately so. But what about George Stephanopoulos? What went through his mind when he -- I mean, he obviously knew that Ross was going to say something like that, and he asked him question. You know, he set it up. He said, you know, we understand there's some information here, or something like that.
HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: I don't think that's fair because Ross, you know, while has made occasional mistakes, is an award-winning investigative reporter. And the anchor is told he has some information to impart. You can't while sitting in this chair double-check the reporting of your correspondents.
No, but you can question him on it. Why didn't Stephanopoulos just ask Ross where he got that information? The likely answer would have been from the Colorado Tea Party's website.
The next question could have been, "What makes you think they're the same person? Have you called that Jim Holmes or the contact number for the organization to see what they know about him?"
As Ross's answer would have been, "No," this whole bogus accusation could have been nipped in the bud by the co-host.
It's truly disappointing media analyst Kurtz didn't see it that way even if Ponnuru did:
PONNURU: We haven't heard anything from Stephanopoulos about what he knew, was he, did he say afterwards. Well, gosh, I mean, you just listen to what Ross said, and you would have to say if you have any sort of judgment whatsoever, "Boy, that seems awfully thin."
KURTZ: Well, and as well...
PONNURU: He didn't interject anything.
No he didn't thereby making Ponnuru's point extremely valid.