Slain DNC Staffer's Family Demands Retraction from Fox News

Cameron Gross
May 18, 2017

The family of Seth Rich, the Democratic National Committee staffer who was fatally shot last July, is demanding retractions from Fox News and WTTG-TV on Wednesday for their inaccurate reports on the unsolved murder, a spokesman for the family told CNN Wednesday.

(From L to R) Then-D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier, Seth Rich's girlfriend Kelsey, Mary Rich, Aaron Rich, and Joel Rich at the scene of the crime in Bloomingdale during a press conference seeking the public's help last August.

All of that chatter continued yesterday in spite of Rich's family being demonstrably against the politicization of the staffer's death and numerous sources with information on the murder investigation coming forward to contradict the Fox reports. The Fox 5 story went live Monday evening; the first Fox News version posted on Tuesday, just after 6 a.m.

Both stories relied heavily on an account provided by Fox News contributor Rod Wheeler, who was identified as a private investigator hired by Rich's family. But Wheeler told BuzzFeed News that the original report was wrong: He hadn't actually seen evidence of emails linking Rich to WikiLeaks, and he hadn't spoken to the federal source claimed in the news reports.

"The police department nor the Federal Bureau of Investigation have been forthcoming", Wheeler explained.

Wheeler said that his statement made to Fox 5 was only done in order to promote an existing story by Fox News.

Neither Fox 5 nor Fox News have issued corrections to their pieces, though Fox News altered its version Tuesday afternoon to note the Rich family's dismissal of the claims, and to remove a quote suggesting a cover-up by local police.

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The Rich family hired the Butowsky's recommended detective, Rod Wheeler. Those outlets have repeatedly claimed or implied that Mr Rich was leaking documents to WikiLeaks and that his doing so may have put him in danger.

Bauman says he is seeking an immediate retraction and apology from Fox 5, as well as the termination of anyone responsible for the story in editorial and reporting. Meanwhile, Fox News on cable also picked up the scoop.

The federal investigator, who requested anonymity, said 44,053 emails and 17,761 attachments between Democratic National Committee leaders, spanning from January 2015 through late May 2016, were transferred from Rich to MacFadyen before May 21.

Furthermore, Wheeler seemed to walk back on his claims that he knew there was a WikiLeaks connection, saying the Fox report was misleading and that all of the information he was aware of came from the federal investigator. But soon after the stories gained traction, they began to unravel.

Fox5 did not respond to requests for comment.

"Fox can either distance themselves from this and do the right thing by the family or they can stand by it and litigate it in front of the entire country in a court of law", he said. One of Trump's most loyal and vocal backers, the host described the media's coverage of Trump as "hyperventilating breathlessness". "I'm not at liberty to discuss anything further pertaining to either gentlemen who have violated the trust of a grieving family and have manipulated the facts and have harmed the legacy of Seth Rich", says Bauman. Bauman said Wheeler and the family had an agreement that Wheeler not talk to the media. "Every single time this happens, the family becomes more and more despondent, and suffers the same wound over and over again".

Other reports by BadHub

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