MSNBC guest blames Sean Hannity for popularizing the Seth Rich conspiracy theory

Andy Kroll: “Sean Hannity of Fox News, of course, promotes this probably more than anyone and takes it to an audience of millions”

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Citation From the September 8, 2022, edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe

ANDY KROLL (INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST): The death of this really promising and charming, disarming, young man Seth Rich and then after his death this explosion of conspiracy theories and viral propaganda about his life and death. But the real core of this new book of mine is a story of family, and it is a story about fighting for the truth and that is what Joel and Mary Rich, Seth’s parents, set out to do in the face of Fox News broadcasting these untruths about Seth Rich and the alt-right promoting these conspiracy theories online. So what I’ve set out to capture is this year’s long battle by Seth Rich’s parents, Joel and Mary, and by lawyers working for them and people defending the truth to try to recapture who Seth was and too try to show there is an antidote, there is a way to fight for justice in this social media polarized era that we’re in.

WILLIAM GIEST (CO-ANCHOR): Andy, you write a lot in the book about how this lie, this conspiracy theory took hold in dark corners of the internet but was amplified by prominent news personalities on television, particularly on Fox News. So how did this conspiracy theory start? Why Seth Rich? Why this guy? Why this lie?

KROLL: If you think back to that crazy summer of 2016, it felt like there was one insane news cycle after another and it was hard to keep up and it was a chaotic moment. Seth had died in the summer of 2016, July 10, 2016, and when the Wikileaks emails came out, Wikileaks co-founder Julien Assange goes on television and dangles this disingenuous motion that Seth Rich had something to do with it. Something for which there was no evidence, there is no evidence. And that was almost like a superspreader event for an online viral lie. And from there, this false story, this conspiracy theory takes off and it gains traction from people like Roger Stone, it gains traction from people like Steve Bannon, someone obviously in the news today and eventually it reaches the mainstream airwaves, the prime time airwaves of Fox News, Sean Hannity of Fox News, of course, promotes this probably more than anyone and takes it to an audience of millions at which point this conspiracy theory, I think, has become a foundational conspiracy theory for 21st century politics.