Fox News Retracts Seth Rich Story That Stirred Controversy

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Fox News on Tuesday retracted a May 16 story about the murder of a former Democratic National Committee staff member, Seth Conrad Rich, which has stirred conspiracy theories that have been pushed by Sean Hannity, one of the network’s biggest stars.

“The article was not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny we require for all our reporting,” Fox News said in its statement. “Upon appropriate review, the article was found not to meet those standards and has since been removed.”

The retraction appeared to put the network’s news-gathering operation at odds with Mr. Hannity, who serves as a commentator. On Twitter, Mr. Hannity has been unapologetic about his focus on Mr. Rich’s murder.

Mr. Hannity is not the only Fox News personality to embrace the theory. Newt Gingrich discussed the case on “Fox and Friends” on Sunday, and Geraldo Rivera, a correspondent at large, tweeted about it on Monday.

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All It Takes Is a Story and Someone to Believe It

“All the viral rumors, conspiracy theories and hoaxes were a wake-up call for at least some people, and certainly some institutions that are now moving to address this, including news organizations, social media organizations and educational institutions,” he told me.

But no matter what the media ecosystem does to stop uncorroborated conspiracies and false information, they will continue to live on as long as there are people eager to spread it and viewers and readers eager to believe it. All the algorithms in the world can’t stop that.

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