Fox News Promotes Fake News Story Falsely Claiming A Murdered DNC Staffer Was A Wikileaks Informant

 In Fake News   Last Updated: August 6, 2017

Fox News released and continued to promote a story claiming a murdered DNC staffer was a wikileaks informant.  The story claimed that an FBI analysis of the staffer’s computer and emails identified the connection.

The Washington D.C. Mayor’s Office and Police Department both denied any validity to this story and called it fake news.  The family of the slain staffer also issued a cease and desist letter to Rod Wheeler, stating he was not authorized to speak on this subject.

The FBI is also not involved in the investigation and does not have possession of the staffer’s computer.

Rod Wheeler, the private investigator who provided this information to Fox News, was alledgedly hired by a conservative businessman on behalf of the family.  He later denied confirming this connection to BuzzFeed News:

On a television news segment that aired in Washington, DC, on Monday, private investigator Rod Wheeler was interviewed by a reporter. “You have sources at the FBI saying that there is information that could link Seth Rich to WikiLeaks?” she asks. “Absolutely,” Wheeler responds. “And that’s confirmed.  My investigation up to this point shows there was some degree of email exchange between Seth Rich and WikiLeaks,” Wheeler also said, according to a Fox News report.  But on Tuesday, Wheeler told BuzzFeed News that he had no personal knowledge of whether Rich sent emails to a contact at WikiLeaks.  “That story on Fox 5 last night was inaccurate,” said Wheeler, a former DC homicide detective. “I don’t even know where the computers are.”

Fox News later retracted the story.

Rod Wheeler filed a lawsuit against Fox News and Ed Butowsky, the wealthy conservative businessman who hired Wheeler to investigate this murder for the family.  The lawsuit claims that Fox News, Butowsky, and the White House fabricated Wheeler’s statements for the story and orchestrated the release and promotion of it.

According to the lawsuit, Trump press secretary Sean Spicer meets at the White House with Wheeler and Butowsky to review the Rich story a month before Fox News ran the piece.”





Zimmerman, Malia. “Family of Slain DNC Staffer Seth Rich Blasts Detective over Report of WikiLeaks Link.” Fox News. FOX News Network, 16 May 2017. Web. 20 May 2017.
FACT CHECK: Did DNC Staffer Seth Rich Send ‘Thousands of E-Mails’ to WikiLeaks Before He Was Murdered? N.p., 19 May 2017. Web. 20 May 2017.
Seitz-Wald, Alex. “DNC Staffer’s Murder Draws Fresh Conspiracy Theories.” NBCUniversal News Group, 17 May 2017. Web. 20 May 2017.
Koerner, Claudia. “The Private Detective Who Ignited A Clinton Conspiracy Theory Says He Was Misquoted.” BuzzFeed. BuzzFeed News, 16 May 2017. Web. 20 May 2017.
Statement on Coverage of Seth Rich Murder Investigation.” Fox News, FOX News Network, 23 May 2017.  Web. 8 Aug 2017.
Folkenflik, David. “Behind Fox News’ Baseless Seth Rich Story: The Untold Tale.” NPR, NPR, 1 Aug. 2017.  Web. 8 Aug 2017.

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