Colorado Shooting: ABC’s Brian Ross Gets Story Wrong, ‘Morning Joe’ Forgoes Shooting for Politics

By Alex Weprin 

Breaking news events are chaotic affairs, often riddled with mistakes and misinformation as reporters sift through what happened to get at the truth. That said, there were some moments of TV news coverage that caught the attention of viewers this morning… in a very bad way.

On ABC’s “Good Morning America” chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross clumsily attempted to connect the shooter to a local Tea Party group in Colorado. Ross said that the was a “Jim Holmes” mentioned on a local Tea Party website, though he added “we don’t know if this is the same Jim Holmes.” It was not the same person, and Ross had to retract his earlier report on-air during a special report. It is unclear why Ross felt that he had enough to go with the connection on-air.

“An earlier report that I had was incorrect that he was connected with the Tea Party in fact that’s a different Jim Holmes. He was not connected to the Tea Party and what we do know about him is he is a 24 year old white male who went to Colorado for a PHD.”

ABC added a statement to the top of the story online: “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. ABC News and Brian Ross apologize for the mistake, and for disseminating that information before it was properly vetted.”

(The report, courtesy of Mediaite, after the jump)

MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” was heaped with criticism on social media, as it only covered the shooting for the first three and a half minutes of the program at 6 AM before moving on to politics. The show would give occasional updates later on, but it was the only morning show to not go into rolling coverage. For viewers just waking up and wanting the latest news on the shooting, “MSNBC was basically telling viewers to switch to CNN” an NBC News staffer says.

Also on MSNBC (via Gawker), during “The Daily Rundown” Chuck Todd spoke a to a former FBI profiler who said of the shooter “is this simply the terrible, terrible collision between some dark Trekkie-like person’s fantasy world and reality?”

It is not clear what he was talking about.