ABC News President Ben Sherwood said reporter Brian Ross' speculation that James Holmes, the suspect in the mass shooting in Aurora, Colo., could be linked to the tea party "did not live up to the standards and practices of ABC News."
"We put something on the air that we did not know to be true and the part that we needed to be true was not germane to the story we were covering," Sherwood told reporters at the semiannual Television Critics Assn. press tour in Beverly Hills. "This was an unfortunate mistake," he said, adding that the network was taking steps to make sure it does not happen again, although he declined to say specifically what those steps were.
"Good Morning America" anchor George Stephanopoulos, who was chatting with Ross on the network when the reporter speculated about Holmes' political affiliation, said he was sorry about the mistake.
"This was a breaking news situation and people are going to make mistakes," Stephanopoulos said via satellite to reporters.
Sherwood said that Ross has privately reached out to the Jim Holmes he mistakenly linked to the shooting to apologize as well.