ABC's Ross Blasts Swiss Bank for Sponsoring Art Show
No art for you! Thatâ€™s the message ABC investigative correspondent Brian Ross sent to Swiss bank UBS.
Ross, who has found a niche storming corporate gatherings in an attempt to expose alleged wrongdoing, targeted a UBS-sponsored art show in a â€śWorld News with Charles Gibsonâ€ť segment Dec. 4.
â€śFor the worldâ€™s super rich, this five-day art show in
So whatâ€™s wrong with the â€śsuper richâ€ť holding an art event? According to Ross, the bank is under a federal investigation and no one seems to care that it is using the event to recruit prospective clients.
â€śItâ€™s one big shopping spree and no one here seems to mind that the main sponsor is a Swiss bank, UBS, under federal criminal investigation,â€ť Ross said. â€śFederal prosecutors say they know a different history of the Zurich-based UBS â€“ a bank where top executives are under investigation for helping rich Americans hide billions of dollars from the IRS in secret accounts.â€ť
Ross implied the mere existence of an investigation was enough to prove guilt. But he failed to mention that itâ€™s unlikely UBS needs to hide American money through illegal activities â€“ UBS is
Still, Ross played the class warfare card and accosted organizers of the art show he staked out for taking money from a company under federal investigation.
â€śThe art show organizers say they are proud to take UBSâ€™s sponsorship money,â€ť Ross said. â€śAs for federal prosecutors, they care a lot less about the bankâ€™s art patronage and care a lot more about finally getting the names of an estimated 20,000 wealthy Americans for whom UBS set up secret offshore accounts.â€ť
But even while purporting to expose unethical behavior, some of Rossâ€™ â€śinvestigationâ€ť tactics blur a journalistic ethics line. The Society of Professional Journalistsâ€™ Code of Ethics instructs reporters to â€śavoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information except when traditional open methods will not yield information vital to the public.â€ť Though his report on UBS did not use hidden cameras other similar reports have. Ross also used undercover cameras in coverage of the Republican and Democratic political conventions and more recently an AIG conference.
During the Democratic National Convention in