Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Holmes's mother suggests ABC News mischaracterized her statement

A young James Eagan Holmes

7/23/12 4:29 PM EDT
Arlene Holmes, the mother of Colorado theater shooting suspect James Holmes, has suggested that ABC News mischaracterized her when it reported that her initial statement to the reporter, "you have the right person," was a reference to her son.
"This statement is to clarify a statement made by ABC media. I was awakened by a call from a reporter by ABC on July 20 about 5:45 in the morning. I did not know anything about a shooting in Aurora at that time," Holmes said in a statement this afternoon, read to the national press by attorney Lisa Damiani. "He asked if I was Arlene Holmes and if my son was James Holmes who lives in Aurora, Colorado. I answered yes, you have the right person. I was referring to myself."
"I asked him to tell me why he was calling and he told me about a shooting in Aurora," she continues. "He asked for a comment. I told him I could not comment because I did not know if the person he was talking about was my son, and I would need to find out."
In the first paragraph of its initial report on Friday, ABC News reported that it had identified the correct James Holmes because his mother "told ABC News her son was likely the alleged culprit, saying, 'You have the right person.'"
If Arlene Holmes' latest statement is true, it means that she did not tell ABC News her son was likely the alleged culprit, calling into question the reporting of a network that has already been marred by one inaccuracy.
In the very same article, published on Friday, ABC News initially suggested that the suspect might have connections to the Colorado Tea Party Patriots. The report, based off a single web profile of a man with the same name, was inaccurate. ABC News and one of the reporters, Brian Ross, later apologized for the "mistake" in a statement that now tops the very same article in question.
Sources tell POLITICO that on an editorial conference call this morning, ABC News SVP James Goldston said the network is taking steps to ensure that incorrect reports such as Ross's do not happen again.
A spokesperson with ABC News told POLITICO that it will address Arlene Holmes' statement in a forthcoming blog post later this afternoon.
UPDATE: ABC News is standing by its reporting and rebutting Arlene Holmes' claim in a new article about the family's decision to stand by its son:
[ABC News reporter Matthew] Mosk said today that he awoke Arlene Holmes and informed her that a man, he believed was her son had been arrested in Aurora and asked to confirm their relationship.
"You have to tell me what happened… You have to tell me what happened," the woman on the phone said, according to Mosk. Mosk said he told her that ABC News had learned the 24-year-old had been identified by police as the lone suspect in the mass killing in Aurora, Colo and that the details of the events were still taking shape.
"You have the right person," was her response, he said. "I need to call the police. I need to fly to Colorado."
Just prior to the press conference, Damiani contacted ABC News to determine whether there existed a recording of the pre-dawn conversation between Mosk and her client, according to Mosk.
One hour after learning there was no audio recording, Damiani held the conference and read Arlene Holmes' statement.
Mosk's version of events contradict those of Arlene Holmes, who claimed not to know about the shooting prior to stating, "You have the right person."


  1. I will jump to the conclusion that the reporter screwed up. I'm sure the reporter will not object to my jumping to this conclusion.

  2. ABC is not a reliable source, for so many reasons -- but to take this very painful situation and suggest the mother was resigned to such a horrendous by her own son is shameful on their part. I would not wish this on any parent. And even less on a parent that may have a child who has the potential to do such evil. Lord have mercy on us all.