August 2, 2017

You cannot look at the bombshell allegation that Fox News colluded with the Trump administration to promote fake news about murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich without wondering about the role of Sean Hannity. Hannity has relentlessly pushed the conspiracy theory even after Rich's family pleaded with him to stop.

As I previously reported, Fox News contributor and private investigator Rod Wheeler sued Fox News today, accusing it, among other things of fabricating key quotes attributed to him in its now-retracted reporting on Rich. Wheeler’s complaint included the jaw-dropping allegation the quotes were “falsely attributed to Mr. Wheeler because that is the way the President wanted the article.”

NPR’s David Folkenflik has confirmed that Wheeler and a wealthy GOP donor helping to promote the story met with then-White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer to discuss it. However Spicer and donor Ed Butowsky now dispute Donald Trump’s personal involvement.

Nevertheless, this all begs the question: Where does Sean Hannity fit into this picture?

Hannity especially loved the Rich conspiracy theory and vowed to keep with it despite a request from Rich’s brother. Hannity “selflessly,” declared, “[T]he family wants the truth and I think the country deserves the truth.”

So what kind of “truth” will Hannity provide now?

Today, CNN’s Brian Stelter noted that the meeting with Spicer “suggests that there could have been even more coordination” between Fox and the White House.” Without pointing a finger directly at Hannity, Stelter further noted Hannity’s attachment to the story:

STELTER: And remember, the story has been discredited and retracted by Fox News. But at the time, it was a big deal. It was a distraction from damaging Russia stories, a distraction from the firing of [former FBI Director] James Comey. People like [Fox host] Sean Hannity ate this conspiracy theory up. And where was Sean eating last week? The White House. Remember he has close ties to the president. So all of this, even though it's allegations in a lawsuit, it's very eye opening because of the connections between Fox and the White House. (via Media Matters, with my emphases added)

Not only was Hannity eating at the White House last week, he discussed overhauling Trump’s political strategy with him and then-communications director Anthony Scaramucci, according to The Washington Post.

Watch Stelter discuss the implications of Wheeler’s lawsuit above, on the August 1, 2017 CNN's At This Hour with Kate Bolduan.

Originally published at

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