CNN's John Avlon: Fox's false Seth Rich story was “concocted” and “coordinated with the White House”  

Avlon: This lawsuit shows “clear evidence of fake news, something totally concocted, totally for ideological and partisan reasons, fashioned out of whole cloth that comes collapsing upon itself and is being coordinated with the White House”

From the August 2 edition of CNN's New Day:

Video file

ALISYN CAMEROTA (HOST): John Avlon, we need to talk now about the very strange and tragic story of Seth Rich. People -- sometimes when I'm out in the real world people ask me all the time, “What is fake news?” They're confused. “What does it mean?” This is exhibit A of -- a fake news story took hold, unfortunately on FoxNews.com about the circumstances surrounding the murder of Seth Rich, DNC [Democratic National Committee] staffer. They, it turns out, fabricated, according to the primary source, a former D.C. homicide detective named Rod Wheeler who was trying to look into the murder of Seth Rich, it turns out it was a botched burglary. He says that FoxNews.com fabricated quotes of his to make it appear as though there was some -- that he was the leaker of the DNC emails, not Russia. Here is how the White House spun this yesterday. 

[BEGIN VIDEO]

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS: The president had no knowledge of the story and it's completely untrue that he or the White House [had] involvement in this story. And beyond that, this is ongoing litigation and I refer you to the actual parties involved which aren't the White House. 

[END VIDEO]

CAMEROTA: Rod Wheeler, the person who was investigating this, says he did have a meeting at the White House. He did get emails saying the president's very interested in this story and how you're going to spin it.

JOHN AVLON: Right, and those emails were sent to him, and texts, were sent to him by a prominent Republican donor, who Chris [Cuomo] spoke to last night, who inserted himself in this. So what you've got -- 

CAMEROTA: Ed Butowsky.

AVLON: Right. So you've got a -- you've got sort of a collusion between apparently Fox News, one of their contributors who's a private investigator, one of their reporters in a story that was subsequently deleted when it came under scrutiny, and a Republican donor who's got direct access to the White House. And saying that the president in these communications is directly involved and encouraging them to go forward. The reason this is so troubling isn't just the smearing of a dead DNC staffer's name, and the attempt to deflect what is demonstrably true that Russia influenced the election, which all our intelligence agencies agree, on the DNC and on this kid, right? It's also that we have seen the manipulation and intentional distortion of the term “fake news” to mean anything that the White House feels discomfort at confronting. But this, is laid out in this lawsuit, is a clear evidence of fake news, something totally concocted, totally for ideological and partisan reasons, fashioned out of whole cloth that comes collapsing upon itself and is being coordinated with the White House. It cannot be said enough how outrageous this is. This has emails and texts that would appear to be a smoking gun. We'll see how it's litigated. But it really pulls the curtain back. And the fact that the curtain's being pulled back on the folks who are trying to say that independent journalism is fake news should infuriate everyone, let alone the family of Seth Rich and anyone involved in this larger investigation of the Russia.

Previously: 

Trump administration met with a GOP donor and a Fox contributor about a fake story meant to distract from Russia probe

Watch Chris Cuomo grill the man behind the Seth Rich smears pushed by Fox News

A GOP operative asked Fox personalities to push a bogus Russia/Seth Rich talking point. Here are four times they did.

Here's the ridiculous explanation the GOP operative gave to explain his involvement in the Seth Rich conspiracy theory