ABC News Apologizes for Misquoting Former WH Press Secretary

January 26, 2017 4:28 pm Last Updated: January 26, 2017 4:43 pm

ABC News was forced to apologize after it appeared to manipulate former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer’s quote on the job current press secretary Sean Spicer is doing.

The quote ABC used in a report, attributed to Fleischer, reads as follows: “[Spicer’s Saturday] briefing made me uncomfortable. It was too truculent, too tough. It looks as if the ball was dropped on Saturday.”

But according to Fleischer, he actually said, “It looks to me if the ball was dropped on Saturday, Sean recovered it and ran for a first down.”

Fleischer sent several tweets, saying ABC altered it, before blasting the press.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer holds the daily press briefing in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House  in Washington, DC on Jan. 23, 2017. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer holds the daily press briefing in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, DC on Jan. 23, 2017. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“If this is how the press reports, Trump is right to go after them,” he tweeted. “When the press distorts someone’s quote and twists their words, we all have a problem.”

ABC News, which is owned by Disney Media Networks, issued a correction to its story.

It also sent out an apology: “Nightline aired a segment Monday night about the first three days of the new administration including Sean Spicer’s statement to the press on Saturday. As part of the report, we interviewed former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer. In editing the piece for air, his quote was shortened and as a result his opinions mischaracterized.”

“We are fixing the piece online to include his full quote and context. We apologize and regret the error,” it added.