Seth Rich conspiracy theory causes news sources to forget their ethics

Advertisers, including USAA and Cars.com, have pulled out of Sean Hannity’s Fox News show because of his continuous support of conspiracy theory on the death of Seth Rich, young Democratic National Committee staffer who was killed last June.

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The companies are pulling their ads because of Hannity’s disregard of emotion for Rich’s family and friends and the theories lack of credibility. The Guardian calls the theory “disproven” but gives no details as to how it was disproven. Simply, the theory is a theory and will not hold up in credible journalism. The same article from The Guardian says that Fox News retracted an article on the theory as it was “was not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny” as other articles, possibly because they did not expect the backlash.

The missing link of how the theory has been disproven prompted me to further investigate. Another article by Huffington Post wrote about the retracted article published by Fox News. I attempt to stay away from left- or right-winged media, yet these seemed to be the only sources writing on this topic. According to HuffPost, the inciting incident was the Wikileaks document that released information on Hillary Clinton’s emailing incident. Since Rich was killed shortly thereafter, conspiracy theorists believe that “Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party had him killed as retaliation.” Yet this theory has been disproved, as the U.S. intelligence committee has released reports that state the Wikileaks information was given by Russian officials wanting to ensure Donald Trump’s presidency.

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To me, most of these articles are not well-sourced. First, I am not sure who or what the U.S. intelligence committee does or who it governs. Is it the FBI, CIA, or NRA? This information remains unclear. In all, this story seems forced, as it is clickbait-y and messy. The message has been blown out of proportion, in which more media sources are talking about the advertisers leaving rather than the silly theory itself.

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