Last week while Fox News was wildly attempting to talk about anything other than Russia, the cable news network pretended that the Clinton Foundation and the state of Penn Station bathrooms were much more important issues than Trump blabbing “highly classified” information to Russians or Trump’s attempted shutdown of the Michael Flynn probe. And Sean Hannity delighted in his obsession with Seth Rich, the murdered DNC staffer who police believe died in a botched robbery attempt, but the on-air personality’s fun is over.
Hannity has been going to town (for over a week, including on Monday night, which reportedly embarrassed Fox News staffers) to promote a conspiracy theory that accused Rich of handing over thousands of DNC emails to Wikileaks a few weeks before he died. After multiple heart-wrenching pleas from Rich’s family — and over a week since the story was formally debunked by Snopes (on May 16) — Fox News has retracted its online story about this tin-foil-hat concoction:
On May 16, a story was posted on the Fox News website on the investigation into the 2016 murder of DNC Staffer Seth Rich. The article was not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny we require for all our reporting. Upon appropriate review, the article was found not to meet those standards and has since been removed.
We will continue to investigate this story and will provide updates as warranted.
All along, Rich’s family has asked Fox News to stop repeating the false claim about how the FBI had supposedly confirmed the leaking. It must be noted that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange played a role in kickstarting the conspiracy by implying that Rich was his source, when, in fact, there was never a drop of proven contact between Rich and Wikileaks, and the FBI was never in possession of Rich’s electronic devices. Yet the Fox News report persisted, even after these claimed details were disproven.
The Daily Beast nabbed a reaction from a former Fox executive, who says Roger Ailes must be rolling in his coffin: “Retracted. Wow. Roger [Ailes] would brag at meetings how he was proud Fox never had to print a retraction.”
CNN Money has published a Rich family reaction statement:
“The family would like to thank Fox News for their retraction on a story that has caused deep pain and anguish to the family and has done harm to Seth Rich’s legacy. We are hopeful that in the future Fox News will work with the family to ensure the highest degree of professionally and scrutiny is followed so that only accurate facts are reported serving this case.”
Hannity must be feeling the backlash because he’s already lashing out on his radio show, according to the New York Times‘ Michael Grynbaum: “For those accusing me of pushing a conspiracy theory, you are the biggest phony hypocrites in the entire world.” Hannity also tweeted that he’s only “trying to find the truth as the Mom Dad bro asked.”