|August 12, 2000
NEW YORK (AP) - Reporter John Stossel apologized
Friday night on ABC's ''20/20'' for using inaccurate
information in two earlier reports on the safety of
``All we have in this business is our credibility -
your trust that we get it right,'' Stossel said. ``I'll
make every effort to see it never happens again.''
Stossel prefaced the apology by defending other
aspects of the reports and said the mistakes were
The apology was ordered by ABC News, which also
reprimanded Stossel and suspended a producer. Critics
wanted Stossel fired.
In the reports, aired in February and again July 7,
Stossel said organic food was no safer than regular food
and warned it could even be dangerous.
Stossel reported that an examination of produce
conducted for ABC News found that there was no pesticide
residue on either conventional samples or organic ones.
After critics complained, ABC investigated the report
and found that no such test had been done. Earlier, ABC
had said Stossel relied on inaccurate information
provided by a staff member. Producer David Fitzpatrick
apparently believed that a test done on chicken also was
performed on produce.
Some critics weren't satisfied with Stossel's apology
``John Stossel apologized tonight with another lie,
which raises serious questions about ABC's willingness
to correct its own mistakes,'' said Mike Casey, a
spokesman the Washington-based Environmental Working
Casey said the reporter had maintained that accurate
tests had been performed for bacteria, but Casey said
the environmental group had posted documents from the
USDA on its Web site that contradicted Stossel's
On Friday, the Internet opinion journal TomPaine.com
took out an advertisement on the editorial page of The
New York Times promoting the group's complaints and
stating: ``ABC News has a credibility problem. His name
is John Stossel.''
Stossel was hired by ABC in 1981 and has won acclaim
for taking on tough stories, often giving a contrarian
view to topics such as government regulation and
defendants who claim to be victims. He has received 19
Emmy Awards and been honored five times for excellence
in consumer reporting by the National Press Club.
ABC has not addressed why the errors were repeated in
July, after environmental groups had complained of
Copyright 2000 The Associated Press. All rights