Hannity's conspiracy theory pressures Fox News

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WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange also encouraged the conspiracy theory by making less than subtle suggestions that Rich was their source.

"He was unable to point to any specific evidence, and I think that's what we're going to continue to see there", Farenthold said. "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".

Yesterday, the FOX News Web site retracted a story it had published on Rich's death, saying, "It wasn't initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny we require, and has since been removed". Rich, 27, was shot to death a year ago on the streets of Washington, D.C., Since his slaying, right-wing news outlets have sought to link his death, without evidence, to Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonEuropeans are terrified by America's family feud Poll: Comey was deeply unpopular at time of firing Fox News employees "disgusted" after network pushes Seth Rich conspiracy MORE's campaign and the WikiLeaks release of hacked emails from Clinton's campaign.

But on his TV show later Tuesday, Hannity said he had spoken with Rich's brother and made the decision to not discuss the issue further for now out of respect for the family's wishes. "Upon appropriate review, the article was found not to meet those standards".

On Tuesday, the story was taken down from the Fox News website. From there, it was only a matter of time before it made it to Sean Hannity's show, where it was broadcast nightly into millions of living rooms as the elaborate cover-up that the Mainstream Media doesn't want you to know about.

In a combative note, Hannity said he would remain a Fox News employee-for now.

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No motive has been officially determined - though authorities believe he was the victim of a botched robbery - and some right-leaning media outlets and personalities have latched onto the theory that Rich was killed after providing internal DNC emails to WikiLeaks. CNN's Poppy Harlow asked Farenthold if he should be floating wild Internet conspiracy theories as a USA congressman, and Farenthold said that this is not much different from the media's reports on Donald Trump and on Russia's attempts to influence to 2016 election.

Long before the retraction, the Fox News story fell apart nearly the moment it was published.

- Will Fox real-News cover the incident?

Hannity stoked that speculation again Tuesday, promising an announcement about "my future at Fox". And I have little faith in the good people at the mainstream media to conduct an impartial investigation. "TODAY, George Soros, & Hillary Clinton supported Mediamatters is targeting all of my advertisers to try and get me fired" he wrote today. Fox News has already lost its two biggest prime time stars - Bill O'Reilly and Megyn Kelly - in the span of just five months.

Soon after, Fox News pulled the story from its website. But since Ailes' exit in a sexual harassment scandal, the network has been more willing to admit error. Those theories, which some reporters have since retracted, are baseless, and they are unspeakably cruel. Dotcom has said that he has evidence that Rich was a WikiLeaks source, but he has not offered the evidence publicly.

By alerting his supporters about the list of advertisers, Hannity has played into his critics' hands, Carusone said. The Rich family had publicly pleaded with Fox News and others to stop trading in such speculation absent facts.

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