Fox News tells Seth Rich's family that they should be grateful for how the network slandered him

Fox News tells Seth Rich's family that they should be grateful for how the network slandered him

Blog ››› ››› MELISSA RYAN


Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

Fox News has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit that the family of slain Democratic National Committee (DNC) staffer Seth Rich filed against it, which claims the network published “false and fabricated facts” about Rich’s murder that fanned conspiracy theories circulating about him. In its motion, Fox has included an outlandish claim: The suit should be dismissed because the channel ’s retracted story portrayed Rich as a patriot and a hero.

Fox News’ attempt to abdicate its responsibility is gross. Seth Rich was a real person whose family members have had to cope with the nightmare of their son’s murder becoming the target of conspiracy theories that he was killed for providing the DNC’s emails to Wikileaks while they mourned his loss. The network, led by host Sean Hannity, was the only cable news outlet to cover the conspiracy theories, presenting them as plausible facts. For weeks, Hannity covered the rumors incessantly on the air -- even after Fox News was forced to retract its initial story claiming that Rich had been in touch with Wikileaks.

Hannity didn’t declare that he would find the “truth”  out of concern for Rich or his family, but rather to distract his audience from the news about the Trump administration’s dealings with Russia.

And Rich’s portrayal as a whistleblower out to expose the political establishment wasn’t based in reality; it distorted who he was. By all accounts, Rich enjoyed working at the DNC and, as his his parents wrote, on the day of his murder, he was “excited about a new job he had been offered on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.” Since his death, the far-right has turned Rich into a character his friends and family wouldn’t recognize. His image has been turned into countless memes, his political views and beliefs distorted. And Fox and Hannity have helped fuel the lies. Fox didn’t honor Seth Rich’s life or his memory. It slandered him and his work for its own political gain.

To this date, Fox has neither explained how it got the story so wrong nor apologized for its actions.

Network/Outlet
Fox News
Person
Sean Hannity
Show/Publication
Hannity
Stories/Interests
Conspiracy Theories
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