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The Mueller Report pretty conclusively disproved the rightwing (and left!) Wikileaks-Seth Rich conspiracy theory. That was where Sean Hannity and a few DemExit dead-enders agreed that the 2016 leaks of DNC and Clinton campaign emails came not from a Russian hack, but from Seth Rich, a data guy who worked at the DNC -- until he was murdered in a botched DC street robbery or, according to the conspiracy theory, by Hillary Clinton.

But as the Mueller Report showed, Rich was murdered four days before Julian Assange even got his hands on the hacked DNC data, and Assange continued to communicate with his (Russian) hacker sources long afterward. As our Robyn pointed out in the link above, that hasn't slowed down the crazies in the conspiracysphere a single bit, because after all they have never been susceptible to liberal plots like evidence and logic. But how about the far more high-profile organizations like Fox News and Wikileaks, "journalism" home to Julian Assange himself? Now that they've been proven wrong -- Assange himself had a tendency to strongly hint multiple times that Rich had been murdered after leaking the data to Wikileaks -- we bet they're just all kinds of embarrassed, and are in a hurry to clarify the record, because after all, they are Responsible Journamalism Outlets!

As Rolling Stone's Andy Kroll reports, there doesn't seem to be much urgency to set the record straight. Possibly because, in the wake of the Mueller Report, Sean Hannity is very busy proving what a threat to national security Hillary Clinton is. Maybe once Americans know the real truth about her email server, he can get around to un-slandering a murdered DNC staffer.


Hannity relentlessly flogged the Rich story in the summer of 2017, because if an insider sent the emails to Assange, then the Russia investigation would magically vanish in a big puff of pursed lips and raised eyebrows, and as an added bonus, there'd be one more victim added to the Hillary Clinton Body Count. Hannity kept pushing the bullshit even after Fox News retracted its story, saying the reporting didn't live up to Fox's high standards. Eventually, Hannity said that while he was still certain the Russia story was all just a big hoax by Democrats, he would stop talking about Seth Rich out of "respect" for the Rich family -- but that he would also keep searching for the REAL TRUTH. Make no mistake, he promised on Twitter, he would tell all, because his investigation was about to bear fruit!

Don't go looking for that tweet, though, because it was quietly sent down the Memory Hole sometime after December 2018. Imagine that!

Assange, that avatar of journalistic openness, exploited and amplified the fake story about Rich to cover up his own complicity with Russia in distributing the hacked emails, as Kroll summarizes:

Mueller's office devotes an entire sub-section of its final report to what it calls Assange and WikiLeaks' "dissembling" about the source of the stolen Democratic Party materials. Mueller notes that Assange and WikiLeaks made various statements about Rich after receiving the stolen documents, including offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of his killer or killers and alluding to him in subsequent television interviews. "Beginning in the summer of 2016, Assange and WikiLeaks made a number of statements about Seth Rich, a former DNC staff member who was killed in July 2016," Mueller wrote. "The statements about Rich implied falsely that he had been the source of the stolen DNC emails."

The Rich family has issued statements thanking Mueller for clearing that up, and calling on those who spread the lies to "take responsibility for the unimaginable pain they have caused us," as Seth Rich's brother Aaron put it.

As Kroll discovered, anyone holding their breath waiting for Fox, Hannity, or Assange to do that would definitely not be in a position to share sensitive stolen emails, no sir:

Rolling Stone sent detailed questions to representatives for some of the most influential promoters of the Rich conspiracy theories — Fox News, Sean Hannity, WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. We asked whether they planned to correct, retract or apologize for past comments about Rich, the DNC hack and WikiLeaks after Mueller's debunking. None of them responded to multiple requests for comment. (The request for Assange, who was arrested in London almost two weeks ago and faces one count of conspiracy in the U.S., was sent to his American lawyer.)

So look for the Rich family to keep pursuing the one strategy that has worked so far: suing outlets for defamation and demanding a retraction.

In March 2018, Aaron Rich sued a one-time Fox guest, a pro-Trump blogger and the right-leaning Washington Times newspaper for defamation after they accused him of helping his brother steal documents from the DNC and providing them to WikiLeaks in exchange for money that went to Aaron Rich's bank account.

The lawsuit managed to wring apologies and retractions from the Washington Times and from conspiracy monger Jerome Corsi. A judge dismissed a lawsuit by Rich's parents against Fox News and other defendants; that decision is currently under appeal. In the meantime, a separate defamation lawsuit by Aaron Rich was given the OK by a federal judge in March, and should eventually go to trial.

Media Matters notes that the "internal investigation" Fox News promised of its reporting on the Seth Rich murder has now lasted longer than Robert Mueller's entire probe -- 674 days for Mueller, compared to 700 days since Fox said it would get right on that. But come on, Media Matters: Nobody at Fox is really suspected of "investigating" a damn thing. How could they, with results like this?

The author of the initial FoxNews.com story apparently still works at the network (though she hasn't published a story since August 2017), its editor has been promoted, and on-air commentators who pushed the conspiracy theory such as Sean Hannity, Newt Gingrich, and Steve Doocy are still comfortably ensconced at Fox.

Following the precedent of the Mueller inquiry, we expect Sean Hannity to demand an immediate investigation of Media Matters.

[Rolling Stone / Media Matters]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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