In recent weeks, Sean Hannity has continued to highlight a debunked conspiracy theory that a recently deceased staff member of the Democratic National Committee was murdered for speaking to Wikileaks. As the pressure mounted on Hannity and Fox News, the network decided to retract the story.

Fox News' fake news

In the summer of 2016, Seth Rich, director of voter expansion for the Democratic National Committee, was fatally shot multiple times. The circumstances surrounding his death are unknown, but that hasn't stopped conspiracy theorists from conjuring up their own reasons.

Right-wing conspiracy theories suggest, without evidence, that Rich was the target of a murder because he was allegedly in contact with Wikileaks and could have been the one who leaked information about Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election. These theories have since been debunked on more than one occasion by law enforcement. Despite this, Fox News host Sean Hannity has highlighted and promoted the story on his program over the last month, leading to outrage from the Rich family, and from opponents of the Donald Trump administration who have accused the network of deflecting from the scandals in the White House. With the backlash mounting, the channel officially squashed Hannity's promotion and retracted the fake news story, as reported by Mediaite on May 23.

In a statement about the Seth Rich conspiracy, Fox News has officially pulled back and admitted their wrongdoing. In regards to the story about Rich that was recently published to the Fox News website, the network explained, "the article was not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny we require for all our reporting.

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Upon appropriate review, the article was found not to meet those standards and has since been removed."

Fox News' decision comes after the Daily Beast reported that many staff members at the company were embarrassed that the network would allow the promotion of the conspiracy, especially from a high-profiled name like Sean Hannity.

"Are we still airing that sh*t?" one Fox News reporter was quoted as saying. The news also follows a detailed letter written to Hannity's executive producer Porter Berry by Seth Rich's brother, Aaron Rich, expressing his disgust for the network exploiting their family's tragedy.

Next up

With Sean Hannity catching heat for promoting an unproven conspiracy theory, Fox News continues to remain in the headiness for all the wrong reasons. Still reeling from the sexual assault scandal that forced the recently deceased founder of the network, Roger Ailes, to resign as CEO last year, the network has also had to deal with the sexual harassment allegations that led to the exit of Bill O'Reilly from the company last month.