Here’s the beginning of a July 20 ABC News story on the shooting credited to Matthew Mosk, Brian Ross, Pierre Thomas, Richard Esposito, and Megan Chuchmach, after the editor’s note apologizing for Ross falsely implicating a member of the Colorado Tea Party:
A California woman who identified herself as the mother of James Holmes, the 24-year-old man federal authorities said is the suspect in a mass shooting in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater, told ABC News her son was likely the alleged culprit, saying, “You have the right person.”
The woman, contacted at her home in San Diego, spoke briefly with ABC News and immediately expressed concern her son may be involved in the shooting death of at least 12 people overnight.
“You have the right person,” she said, apparently speaking on gut instinct. “I need to call the police… I need to fly out to Colorado.”
Just one problem:
How does “Yes, my name is Arlene Holmes, you’ve called the right person” become “Speaking on gut instinct, my son did this”? Yes, we know he did it, but if what she’s telling us is true — and at this point are we going to give ABC News the benefit of the doubt? — she didn’t say he did it. She didn’t implicate her son the moment she heard about it. According to her, she didn’t even know about the shooting until after she’d identified herself — “You have the right person” — and then asked why the reporter was calling. That seems like a pretty crucial difference.
Apparently this story isn’t horrible enough already. The people we used to count on to tell us the news keep doing their damnedest to make it even worse.
Update: ABC is standing by the story. There’s no recording of the call, so it’s her word against theirs.