Hannity continues to push Seth Rich conspiracy, targets Rachel Maddow’s advertisers

Her sin? Covering Trump-Russia.

CREDIT: AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File
CREDIT: AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File

Six days after he said he’d stop discussing the baseless Seth Rich murder conspiracy theory, Sean Hannity is still at it.

But wait, there’s more.

Hannity, in conjunction with a group called “Stop the Scalpings,” is encouraging a boycott of Rachel Maddow’s advertisers. He’s seeking retribution against the advertisers who have left his show after receiving complaints about his irresponsible coverage of a young man’s death.

On Tuesday, Hannity’s website featured an article entitled, “Operation Fight With Fire #StandWithSean.” The piece, authored by right-wing radio personality Melanie Morgan and reposted from MediaEqualizer.com, claims that “conservatives stand together with #StoptheScalpings to push back against the attempt to silence those who dare to ask tough questions and pursue the truth. Sean Hannity, of Fox News, took it upon himself to delve deeper into a story, one that left many unanswered questions requiring further investigation.”

The piece goes on to repeat debunked talking points about intelligence officials claiming there’s no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion (they haven’t), and floats an idea Hannity has alluded to on his Fox News show — that if former DNC staffer Seth Rich was actually responsible for passing the DNC emails along to WikiLeaks, that means there wasn’t any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. (According to numerous reports, the FBI says there’s no evidence Rich was in contact with WikiLeaks.)

“All Hannity has been doing is asking questions, if there is no Russia-Trump collusion, then is there another source?” Morgan writes. “Asking the question is the responsibility of any good journalist, reporter or news personality. And for just asking questions, based on interviews with the head of Wikileaks (who has never been proven wrong in eleven years) and not going along with the monolithic left-wing Russia-Trump collusion, there is now an attempt to silence Hannity.”

The MediaEqualizer.com piece promoted on Hannity’s website even features a graphic suggesting Hillary Clinton was somehow involved in Rich’s murder.

CREDIT: screengrab
CREDIT: screengrab

Stop the Scalpings is targeting Maddow because she “has been the biggest purveyor of lies and propaganda in the media today,” Morgan writes. She goes on to allude to Maddow’s regular coverage of the Trump campaign’s shady dealings with Russia, which she dismisses as a conspiracy theory despite an active FBI investigation and the appointment of a special prosecutor.

“We will continue to announce the advertisers that finance these efforts and support these hosts who allow lies and conspiracy theories to permeate the airwaves,” she continues. “If Media Matters ceases these type of assaults, we will do the same… Until then, we will list every advertiser that supports hosts like Rachel Maddow, an outright liar, and someone who deceives the public and defames conservatives on a daily basis.”

Morgan’s article, which goes on to list nine advertisers who do business on Maddow’s show, was heavily promoted by Hannity on his Twitter page on Tuesday.

Hannity signaled last week that his attorneys played a role in his decision to stop talking about Seth Rich on his Fox News show, but has continued pushing the conspiracy theory on other platforms, including his Twitter account.

Fox News retracted the report that sparked Hannity’s renewed interest in the Rich case earlier this month. A statement on the Fox News website says the Rich piece “was not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny we require for all our reporting. Upon appropriate review, the article was found not to meet those standards and has since been removed.”

Fox News announced it was parting ways with Bill O’Reilly last month after the New York Times reported about multiple sexual harassment allegations against the anchor that resulted in $13 million in settlements.