Hours after Fox News Channel finally retracted a May 16 conspiracy theory story about the fatal shooting of DNC staffer Seth Rich in Washington D.C. last summer, Fox News primetime star Sean Hannity did an about face and said, “Out of respect for the family’s wishes, for now, I am not discussing this matter at this time.”
The Rich family had demanded that Fox and Hannity knock off with the conspiracy theory.
This morning, Fox News yanked a report on its site about the 2016 killing of Rich, based on information from private investigator/Fox News contributor Rod Wheeler, who had said Rich was in email contact with WikiLeaks before his murder. FNC pulled the report after Wheeler told CNN he had no evidence of such contact, which he heard about from a Fox News reporter.
In its statement, Fox News said:
On May 16, a story was posted on the Fox News website on the investigation into the 2016 murder of DNC Staffer Seth Rich. 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.
We will continue to investigate this story and will provide updates as warranted.
Before tonight’s telecast, Hannity had said his heart is “not troubled in the least” and that he would keep pushing the theory Rich was murdered by political operatives for allegedly communicating with WikiLeaks. “I am not Fox.com or FoxNews.com,” Hannity asserted Tuesday on his radio show. “I retracted nothing.”
Hannity later said he would make a “huge announcement” about Rich, and his future at Fox, as well as the “effort to silence him”:
“Now I want to say something: I totally, completely understand how upset, how hard this is on this family, especially over the recent coverage of Seth’s death,” Hannity began to broach the subject on Tuesday night’s program.
After exchanging “heartfelt” notes with the family, Hannity said, “out of respect for the family’s wishes, for now, I am not discussing this matter at this time.”
“Now, let me explain this,” Hannity pivoted.
“There are so many issues here, not the least of which is the Democratic push of their Russia narrative: collusion Trump Russia narrative, Trump/Russia narrative. There is something clearly happening here,” Hannity blasted. “The Destroy Trump media, the Democrats, they have been pushing that Russian tinfoil hat conspiracy theory with zero evidence.”
More where that came from.
Hannity has argued, as recently as Sunday, that if Rich was the WikiLeaks source, as the Fox News story suggested, it clears Donald Trump of Trump/Russia collusion probes:
Of Tuesday night’s change of plans, Hannity assured his viewers, “Please do not interpret what I’m saying tonight to mean anything.”
“Don’t read into this. I promise you I am not going to stop doing my job to the extent of my ability. I am not going to stop trying to find the truth….That’s what we do here every single day,” he continued.
“That effort is not stopping in any way, shape, matter or form. I am continuing the work that I promised to do every day for you. And at the proper time we shall continue and talk a lot more.”
As for his job at Fox News Channel, Hannity warned of an effort to “silence me.”
“Media Matters is attacking my advertising base, which is what we have called on this program ‘liberal fascism.’ I serve at the pleasure of Fox News Channel, and I am her to do my job every night. I’m under contract, as long as they seem to want me.”