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ABC News Suspends Journalist For Spreading Fake News, Kobe Bryant Rumor On-Air

ABC News Suspends Journalist For Spreading Fake News, Kobe Bryant Rumor On-Air
Matt Gutman, a journalist for ABC News, has been suspended for spreading a false rumor, live and on-air, about Kobe Bryant in the immediate aftermath of the former Lakers player’s death, according to the LA Times
“He defined an entire generation of people,” said Gutman on-air immediately before saying the statement that earned him a suspension. “And the fact that four of his children are believed to be on that helicopter with him  all daughters, one of them a newborn  is simply devastating.”
While the helicopter crash that killed Bryant claimed eight other lives, including the life of his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, his three other daughters were not onboard, reports the news agency. 
Later in the day, Gutman apologized to the Bryant family and to viewers for his inaccurate remarks regarding the family’s loss. 
“Today I inaccurately reported it was believed that four of Kobe Bryant’s children were on board that flight. That is incorrect. I apologize to Kobe’s family, friends and our viewers,” tweeted Gutman, along with a video of him apologizing on-air.
Today I inaccurately reported it was believed that four of Kobe Bryant’s children were on board that flight. That is incorrect. I apologize to Kobe’s family, friends and our viewers.
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ABC News announced Gutman’s suspension Wednesday in a statement obtained by the LA Times, in which they revealed that the journalist had failed to uphold a “cornerstone” of the profession.
“Reporting the facts accurately is the cornerstone of our journalism,” an ABC News spokesperson told the news agency in a statement. “As he acknowledged on Sunday, Matt Gutman’s initial reporting was not accurate and failed to meet our editorial standards.”
“We are in the business of holding people accountable,” Gutman told the Times. “And I hold myself accountable for a terrible mistake, which I deeply regret. I want to personally apologize to the Bryant family for this wrenching loss and any additional anguish my report caused.”
As a cultural icon, Kobe Bryant and his untimely death have touched millions of people from every walk of life. 
“Reports are that basketball great Kobe Bryant and three others have been killed in a helicopter crash in California. That is terrible news!” tweeted President Trump.
Kobe Bryant, despite being one of the truly great basketball players of all time, was just getting started in life. He loved his family so much, and had such strong passion for the future. The loss of his beautiful daughter, Gianna, makes this moment even more devastating....
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“Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act. To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents. Michelle and I send love and prayers to Vanessa and the entire Bryant family on an unthinkable day,” tweeted former President Barack Obama.
Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act. To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents. Michelle and I send love and prayers to Vanessa and the entire Bryant family on an unthinkable day.
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Former Lakers star Shaquille O’Neal also reflected on the loss Tuesday night.
“We’re up here, we work a lot. And I think a lot of times, we take stuff for granted. Like, I don’t talk to you guys as much as I needed to,” said O’Neal, according to Fox News
“The fact that we’re not going to be able to joke at his Hall of Fame ceremony, we’re not going to be able to say, ‘Haha, I’ve got five, you’ve got four,'” said O’Neal, reports the news agency. “…The fact that we’re not going to be able to say, ‘If we would have stayed together, we could’ve gotten 10.’ Those are the things we can’t get back. And with the loss of my father, my sister… That’s the only thing. I just wish I could say something to them again.”
In an op-ed published on Wednesday, Daily Wire editor-at-large Josh Hammer reminisced about the importance of Kobe Bryant. 
Playing pick-up basketball in middle and high school, it was commonplace to yell “Kobe!” while shooting — a way to call your shot before it went in. Heck, we would even do this in high school while “shooting” crumpled up pieces of paper into the garbage bin….
Kobe was set to do much good in his second, post-basketball act — if only he had not been taken from us far too soon. He was a basketball (81 points in a game!) and cultural (Academy Award winner!) icon. To me, he will always be a legend.
May his memory be a blessing.

According to the New York Times, funeral arrangements for Bryant have not been announced, but the family has expressed thanks to mourners in a statement: “Thank you for sharing your joy, your grief and your support with us.” The family has requested the “respect and privacy” they need to “navigate this new reality.”

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