Sean Hannity Says He Will Drop The Seth Rich Conspiracy Theory And Stay At Fox News

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Sean Hannity threaded the needle Tuesday night, telling his Fox News viewers that he would stop talking about a conspiracy theory surrounding the death of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich – but only because Rich’s family asked him to.

And Hannity once again sought to tamp down speculation that he might leave the network, something he has now had to do at least three times since the fall.

Hannity is in a precarious position. His musings about Rich’s murder are catnip for his audience, yet Fox News suddenly seems unwilling to abide them. Hannity has entertained the unsubstantiated notion that Rich was not killed in a robbery gone bad, as District of Columbia police claim, but rather was assassinated because he, not Russian operatives, provided DNC emails to WikiLeaks.

The news division of Fox News lent credence to the theory in a report on its website last week, but the network retracted the story on Tuesday afternoon, saying that “the article was not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny we require for all our reporting.”

That put Hannity at odds with his employer, and he sounded ready for conflict on his radio program shortly after the retraction.

“I am not or,” he said on the air. “I retracted nothing.”

On his prime-time TV show, however, Hannity was no longer defiant. But he insisted that he was not giving in to pressure or altering his approach.

“I want to say this to you, my loyal audience, which is very important: Please do not interpret what I’m saying tonight to mean anything,” Hannity said. “Don’t read into this. I promise you I am not doing – going to stop doing my job to the extent of my ability.”

Hannity said he had spoken by phone with Rich’s brother earlier in the day and that “out of respect for the family’s wishes, for now, I am not discussing this matter at this time.”

Got that, everyone? Fox News did not censor Hannity. Hannity cannot be censored! Hannity is merely honoring the request of a grieving family.

“I serve at the pleasure of the Fox News Channel,” he added. “And I am here to do my job every night. I’m under contract, as long as they seem to want me.”

Speculation that Hannity might leave Fox News is not new. The host served as an informal adviser to the Trump campaign, leading to inevitable questions about whether a job in the White House could be in his future.

Hannity ultimately answered with an unequivocal “never” when a Twitter user inquired in October.

Last month, in the wake of Bill O’Reilly’s ouster, Hannity indicated that recent turmoil at Fox News might be reaching a critical mass, in his view. When New York magazine’s Gabriel Sherman reported that network co-president Bill Shine had asked for a vote of confidence from his bosses – and been rebuffed – Hannity sounded an alarm on Twitter.

Sure enough, Shine resigned four days later. He had been with Fox News since its inception, first as producer of Hannity’s show, and represented a link to the era of Roger Ailes, the longtime Fox News chairman who was forced out amid sexual harassment allegations last year. Ailes died last week.

On the day Shine was pushed out, Hannity tweeted a link to an Independent Journal Review story that reported he would remain at Fox News, despite the leadership change.

According to Politico, Hannity also assured his staff over pizza the next day that he was not looking for an exit.

So, Hannity is not going anywhere right now. But his relationship with the network that has been his platform for two decades is visibly fraying.

(c) 2017, The Washington Post ยท Callum Borchers



  1. Fox news has run its course. It’s time for a brand new conservative station to be formed. That would be nice to see. The way the media is currently set up, one can only question & conspiratize Republicans. Never a Democrat. Remember the golden rule.
    Democrat = good
    Republican = bad
    Citizen who has serious questions = the root of evil.

  2. Good comment.
    Ftr a Harvard studies show that even Fox news is 52 percent anti trump (gasp) which is not surprising to anyone who listens to them.
    Now, this whole rich story is still very vague. It’s based on anonymous sources in the fbi. For any other story the WAPO have no problem with publishing assuming it’s against trump. But the second it’s anti Democrat, it’s suddenly no source and conspiracy theories.
    Has the hypocrisy reached critical mass.
    I absolutely aggree to the above commenter. We need a new channel. Pro trump. Opposed to the big three with are absolutely anti. The line up is out there. And if they can get rush, they have a ratings lineup which will crush eo else.

  3. Sean Hannity is not going to make the future. His show is very much running its pace and pages to lost days.

    No one wanted hate conservative radical pluralism. Its coming to an end.

  4. @Secular: This article–as are so many of Matzav’s political articles –is from Washington Post, proud home of the Impeach Trump movement. Of course it’s biased.

    • There’s no evidence it was a robbery, but there’s also no evidence of the Wikileaks connection. That’s why Sean is being forced to quiet down – his sources have been debunked. He persisted in chasing this conspiracy theory because it protects Trump, whose pocket he is in.


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