According to a new CNN report, Fox News employees are anxiously waiting for the results of an internal investigation the network launched after it was forced to retract a baseless conspiracy theory connecting the murder of a Democratic National Committee (DNC) staffer to the alleged hacking of emails at the DNC.
On May 15, Fox 5 DC and FoxNews.com ran stories attempting to link the murder of Democratic National Committee (DNC) staffer Seth Rich to the email hacking of the DNC, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), and Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. Fox was forced to retract the story and a lawsuit was later filed alleging the story included fabricated quotes in order distract from the further evidence showing Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign had ties to the Russian government.
Even after the story was retracted, Fox host Sean Hannity continued to promote the narrative and made it clear his reasoning was to undermine the Trump/Russia narrative. In May, The Daily Beast spoke with Fox News staffers who called Hannity’s unhinged peddling of the conspiracy theory “embarrassing” for the network, “downright heartless,” and “gross.”
Now more than two months after the story’s retraction, Fox News employees are still waiting for answers … and for people to be held responsible. From the August 2 CNN report:
According to half a dozen people spread throughout Fox News who spoke with CNN, all this has left employees at the network wondering what is going on with the investigation -- and why there has not been an announcement either of disciplinary action or a finding that there was no wrongdoing. “People need to start getting canned over the [Seth Rich] thing,” an employee told CNN. “What a mess.”
“They don't want to acknowledge that they f**ked up,” a senior Fox News employee said, explaining that either a top editor didn't see the story before publication, as would be typical procedure, or a top editor saw the article and approved it. “Both situations are really bad.”
The sources who spoke with CNN said they felt that the significant misstep on the Rich story continues to haunt the network, and to put a cloud over their own work. And the lawsuit filed Tuesday, full of its stunning allegations, has breathed new life into the controversy. “If it's true, it's really messed up,” one on-air personality told CNN of the allegations in the lawsuit. “It stirs up the same embarrassment as when the story first got peddled,” added another on-air personality. “It makes people doubt Fox.”
That said, employees recognize the secretive nature that has characterized the probe into the Rich story, and lack of disciplinary action, seems to fit into the normal operating procedures for Fox News.