Last week, Fox News latched onto the instantly debunked conspiracy theory that the tragically murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich was communicating with Wikileaks. For the record, police maintain that Rich was killed in a botched robbery, and not at the behest of Hillary Clinton, which is what this nutjob theory was insinuating.
But despite the story crumbling to pieces in just a matter of hours, Sean Hannity would beat it into the ground for an entire week as Rich’s family begged him to stop. It got so bad that even Fox News staffers were “embarrassed” at Hannity’s obsession, which has to be a first for the network. I could’ve sworn an inability to feel shame or remorse was a job requirement.
The Daily Beast spoke to nearly a dozen reporters, pundits, and hosts inside Fox News who all conveyed the same sentiment: Hannity is “embarrassing” the network, and the promotion of the Rich conspiracy theory is senselessly cruel to a grieving family.
“ARE WE STILL AIRING THAT SHIT?!” one Fox News political reporter, who says they are furious that the conservative cable-news giant is entertaining the conspiracy theory, messaged The Daily Beast when informed of recent coverage.
The situation reached a boiling point on Tuesday when Rich’s brother wrote an open letter to Hannity asking him to call off a scheduled interview with Kim Dotcom, a controversial hacker who claimed to have proof of Rich’s involvement with Wikileaks, but according to CNBC, has also been known to fabricate emails.
In fact, there’s reason to believe Kim is only doing this to troll Hannity:
Wow. PLEASE READ ASAP https://t.co/wAmkwQkMMs
— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) May 23, 2017
However, the open letter must’ve jarred something loose because an hour later, Fox News issued an retraction on its now week-old initial report:
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.
Oddly, Sean Hannity is mentioned nowhere in that retraction even though he’s been the face of this goddamn debacle from the jump. A quick perusal of his Twitter account will yield a plethora of tweets where Hannity froths at the mouth at anyone who rightly points out that he’s profiting off Rich’s death by peddling a debunked conspiracy theory. A conspiracy theory that Fox News has just retracted.
And now’s the part where I’m going to waste my breath, but if Fox News wants to protect what scarce credibility it has left, it needs to fire Sean Hannity immediately. His behavior over a story that the network itself won’t even stand by has been practically begging for it, and he’s already threatened to quit after Roger Ailes’ lackey Bill Shine was fired. The guy is unhinged.
Show him the fucking door.
UPDATE: Solid read on why Fox’s retraction is stupid inadequate.
— Luke O'Neil :/ (@lukeoneil47) May 24, 2017