Is Fox News About to Fire Sean Hannity After Advertisers Pull Out?
The Fox News Channel has retracted a week-old story based on a groundless conspiracy theory involving the death of a staffer for the Democratic National Committee, conceding it did not meet the network’s standards. Rich worked for DNC, and Fox and Hannity have been reporting, without evidence, that an unidentified source at the Federal Bureau of Investigation found that Rich’s laptop somehow showed that he’d had contact with Wikileaks and could have been the source of the internal emails Wikileaks ended up publishing. The Metropolitan Police Department continues to investigate the murder and police say there is evidence to suggest Rich was the victim of a botched robbery.
Hannity’s theory, which he promoted relentlessly for a week on his Fox show, radio show and Twitter account, alleged that Rich had been killed for providing Wikileaks with thousands of internal DNC emails. Only after Rich’s family begged the media to stop pushing conspiracies and FoxNews.com retracted a story on the subject did Hannity agree to drop it, “for now”. We don’t have the ability to influence content at the time we make our advertising purchase.
The Chicago-based Cars.com said it had been watching Hannity’s show closely and made a decision to suspend its backing.
Some advertisers in the show have been shifting their advertising buys into other Fox News Channel shows.
The Drive reached out to Hyundai, who provided us with the following statement: “We are aware of the sensitive storyline raised by Mr. Hannity and expect Fox News will use editorial discretion to ensure that all reporting is substantiated”.
On Tuesday, Fox News reported that the slain DNC staffer had been in contact with Wikileaks before he died. The op-ed did not mention Hannity but Aaron Rich, Seth’s brother, exchanged emails with Hannity earlier in the day, the host said and a family spokesperson confirmed.
Long before the retraction, the Fox News story fell apart nearly the moment it was published. On his Fox News show Tuesday evening he said he would back off the story “for now”, but he continued to post cryptictweets about Rich’s death. “I’m like the last, sole remaining person there from the old guard”, he told the Huffington Post, saying that pressuring advertisers can “silence the voice”.
The Rich family thanked Hannity in a statement for “respecting their wishes by not giving a venue to conspiracy theorists which would only prolong the pain and anguish they have felt over the past week, and many months since Seth’s murder”. “Don’t read into this”, he told viewers Tuesday. According to Business Insider, the statement was issued “in response to Twitter users who slammed Peloton for advertising on Hannity’s show”.