Fox News on Tuesday retracted its recent report on the 2016 murder of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich, which has been the focus of various right wing conspiracy outlets.
“On May 16, a story was posted on the Fox News website on the investigation into the 2016 murder of DNC Staffer Seth Rich,” Fox’s statement reads. “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.”
The statement concludes by saying that Fox “will continue to investigate this story and will provide updates as warranted.”
Seth Rich was shot and killed last year in Washington, D.C. Since his murder, right wing conspiracy stories have surfaced trying to link his death to Hillary Clinton and her presidential campaign, though there has been absolutely no evidence to corroborate it. Fox News anchor Sean Hannity has spearheaded the focus on the false story in the past week, pushing it during his TV show and on social media.
Rich’s family has been extremely distraught over the politicization of the murder of their loved one through a false story. They have written a letter to Hannity’s executive producer asking that the program cease pushing the baseless theory.
“Think about how you would feel losing a son or brother. And while dealing with this, you had baseless accusations of your lost family member being part of a vast conspiracy,” Aaron Rich wrote in the letter, which was given to CNN.
“As the family, we would hope to be the first people to learn about any such evidence and reasons for Seth’s death. It is a travesty that you would prompt false conspiracy theories and other people’s agendas rather than work with the family to learn the truth,” Rich continued.
After the retraction, the Rich family thanked Fox.
“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,” a family spokesman told CNN.
“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.”
Undeterred, Hannity took to Twitter on Tuesday in order to justify his decision to push the story.
— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) May 23, 2017
Media Maters for America has started an effort to get advertisers on Hannity’s show to pull its support of it. The group successfully launched a similar campaign against Bill O’Reilly which ultimately led to his ouster.
— Media Matters (@mmfa) May 23, 2017