Rolling Stone has an excellent article about the fake news pushed by Fox News that attempted to frame a young murder victim, Seth Rich, for leaking DNC emails to Wikileaks and “prove” that it wasn’t Russia. Nearly three and a half years later, nobody at Fox has been held to account.
From the article, Killing the Truth, by Rolling Stone’s Washington bureau chief, Andy Kroll:
This is the true story of an untrue story. It’s the story of how Fox News took a conspiracy theory from the online fringes and mainstreamed it into global news. It’s the story of how a Fox News staff writer, a Fox News paid contributor, and a Fox News unpaid commentator worked together to win the trust of a family wracked by grief and then used their imprimatur to publish a “sham story” that would become an article of faith in MAGA culture. It’s the story of how Fox News and some of its biggest stars have so far escaped any accountability for actions whose consequences continue to haunt the Rich family.
The court records include newly revealed text messages, emails, voicemails, and sworn testimony that show how Fox ignored journalistic norms and basic human decency to publish and promote a fiction that could “solve” the problem of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and Trump’s welcoming of Russia’s help. “The most generous way to look at it is Fox News didn’t do their job,” says Kelly McBride, a senior vice president and journalism ethics expert at the Poynter Institute. “The less generous way to look at it would be they didn’t even try to do their job. And if they didn’t even try, the obvious question is ‘Why?’ ”
The article doesn’t answer that question, though the clear implication is that Fox, especially Sean Hannity and reporter Malia Zimmerman, were so eager to take the heat off Russians for the leak that they tossed aside any concern for truth, journalism and common decency, assuming they ever had any.
Fox's Seth Rich saga is long and rather complicated but the article breaks it down into an easy-to-follow narrative.
As the article notes and as I’ve previously posted, Hannity continued promoting the fake news, even after Fox retracted the story and the Rich family had pleaded with him to stop. Furthermore, Attorney General Bill Barr (no deep stater), acknowledged that the Russians, not Rich, gave the hacked emails to WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange.
Fox promised in May, 2017 that it would review how it came to publish the story and “provide updates as warranted.” Nearly three and a half years later, there has never been an explanation. Apparently, Fox would like nothing better than to forget all about the matter. From Media Matters:
The author of the initial FoxNews.com story apparently still works at the network (though she hasn't published a story since August 2017), its editor has been promoted, and on-air commentators who pushed the conspiracy theory such as Sean Hannity, Newt Gingrich, and Steve Doocy are still comfortably ensconced at Fox.
I am willing to bet that somebody on Team Trump had a hand in this journalistic malpractice. At the very least, Fox should not be allowed to pretend there's nothing to see here. I do not claim to know the full story. But there's obviously something that Fox doesn't want us to know. Given Hannity's chumminess with Donald Trump and that he has been dubbed Trump's "unofficial chief of staff," you don't need to know how to connect the dots to know they probably connect somehow.
Coincidentally, court documents have revealed what The New York Times described as “a personal relationship” between Roger Stone and Julian Assange as evidenced by palsy emails in June, 2017 (the month after Fox’s Seth Rich falsehoods). Then, Stone said that he was trying to intercede “at the highest level of government” on Mr. Assange’s behalf, regarding an unrelated federal investigation into WikiLeaks’ 2010 release of classified American documents. (Investigators were unable to determine whether the two had been in contact before the election, though, the Times noted.)
The Rich family is suing Fox. There could be a trial in 2021, Kroll wrote. My guess is the network will offer a generous settlement package, along with some kind of public apology, in return for a nondisclosure agreement before any dirty laundry is revealed. I would not criticize the family for accepting such a deal.
But there’s got to be some seriously dirty laundry lurking behind the scenes of this story and I hope somebody can find it and air it out.
(Hannity image via screen grab)
Any time that Sean Hannity makes a public appearance to plug his show or his latest written screed, someone should ask him if he’s apologized to the Rich family yet and remind everyone of his continuing shame.
Similarly, anytime a Fox News representative tries to pretend to be fronting a legitimate organization, they should be asked about their conduct regarding the Rich family.
If the Right Wing is going to bring up debunked, 25 year old smears about any candidate who has the temerity to run for office, then the rest of us should be free to point out the truth about the terrible behavior of angry Right Wing pundits and propagandists.
That said, I truly hope that someday the lying sack that is Hannity will face justice. He has become the most reprehensible voice on FOX, a network filled with deplorables.