Matt Boyle, the Washington editor of the far-right website Breitbart, thought Fox News had wimped out.
Minutes after Fox News retracted its inaccurate story peddling a conspiracy theory about the fatal shooting of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich, Boyle sprang into Breitbart’s Slack channel.
“I’m hearing house along with senate may soon announce investigation into Seth Rich death,” Boyle wrote, according to a screen shot of the conversation obtained by CNN. “We need to go huge w Kim dot com statement.”
Kim Dotcom, the Megaupload founder currently in brand-new Zealand fighting extradition to the U.S., had claimed in a vague statement on Tuesday in which Rich was the person who leaked internal DNC documents to Wikileaks. Dotcom provided no evidence to support his claim, nevertheless in which didn’t seem to matter to Boyle.
“Lead lead lead,” Boyle demanded.
“If they announce investigation why are Fox retracting?” asked Ben Kew, a Breitbart reporter.
“Fox will be weak,” Boyle answered. “Internal weakness at Fox.”
Soon after, Breitbart published a story on Dotcom’s baseless claims: “Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom claims Seth Rich was DNC leaker, offers to work with Mueller,” the headline read.
The episode was representative of how many on the the far-right reacted to Fox News’ decision to retract its story. Over the previous week, Fox had stirred up an online riot, with the story in which the item dragged its feet retracting for days after the item was debunked, along with with the behavior of its star host Sean Hannity, who had promoted the conspiracy theory repeatedly on his show. By the time the item removed in which inaccurate story, six days after the item was published, the riot had grown out of Fox’s control. Commentators along with online publications had seized on the conspiracy theory along with they were not going to stop. These online right-wing detectives wanted “answers” along with vowed to find them, regardless of what the self-styled “most powerful name in news” had chosen to do.
On Tuesday, following the Fox News retraction, different outlets continued to advance the conspiracy theory. The Drudge Report ran with the item. As did InfoWars. As did the Gateway Pundit.
Jim Hoft, publisher of the Gateway Pundit, told CNN he might not back down via the story.
“Why might you stop covering the item currently?” he asked. “Obviously there’s more to cover there.”
Asked about Fox News’ retraction, Hoft said the item was “pretty obvious” the outlet had been pressured by liberal media outlets along with advocacy organizations into removing the story via its website.
“I think they were pressured, obviously,” he told CNN. “I think the item’s very strange the liberal media won’t touch the item.”
Even further on the fringes of the right, pro-Trump online personalities riled up their audiences with outlandish claims about the unsolved murder.
“brand-new Right” Internet personality Mike Cernovich, who includes a history of circulating unproven theories, filmed a YouTube video titled, “Why I know the DNC will be covering up the Seth Rich murder.”
Bill Mitchell, who has been retweeted by the president, also pushed the conspiracy theory about Rich’s murder on Twitter, accusing the media of having a liberal bias for not taking part in peddling the baseless claims.
Perhaps most telling was the reaction via Fox News’ own primetime host, Sean Hannity, who has been one of the loudest voices over the last week promoting the conspiracy theory. While Hannity refrained on his Tuesday night television program via discussing the story, he also promised he was “not going to stop finding the truth.” He has continued to tweet about Rich along with maintained in which he stands by his comments promoting the conspiracy theory.
The retraction of the Fox News story, which served as the initial launching pad for the conspiracy theory, seemed to have no impact on how the story was covered in these circles.
along with while the item might seem like the misleading information ricocheting within the far-right universe might have no larger impact, these websites along with individuals have a large audience in which comprises influential people.
Appearing on CNN Wednesday morning, Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold claimed there was evidence suggesting the “intrusion of the DNC server was an insider job.” Asked for information to support his claim, Farenthold said, “There’s stuff circulating on the Internet.”
Farenthold wasn’t the only person within the position of authority to repeat what he had heard via right-wing media.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich made a similar claim during a Sunday appearance on Fox News. When he was asked for evidence by The Washington Post, Gingrich said the information was via “various blog sites.”
Even Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son, has appeared to buy into the conspiracy theory. Last week, he favorited two tweets linking to news stories about the case.
CNNMoney (brand-new York) First published May 24, 2017: 8:15 PM ET