Hannity's Seth Rich Conspiracy Claims Were Planted by Russia's Foreign Intelligence Agency
July 10th 2019
The Seth Rich conspiracy, a wide-ranging and largely incomprehensible belief, originated as a propaganda campaign from the Russian intelligence services. This was a belief on the right that a Democratic National Committee staffer who was murdered in a botched late-night robbery was actually a mole who had uncovered corruption by Hillary Clinton and was therefore killed by Democratic assassins. It can be traced, directly, to the Russians.
That is the new report by investigative journalist Michael Isikoff. Three days after Rich was murdered, Russia's SVR crafted and spread a fake would-be "intelligence" report inventing the conspiracy outright. It immediately spread to the conspiracy-obsessed American far right, bounced quickly to the usual suspects of Alex Jones, Roger Stone, and Fox News, eventually leading to its promotion by the Trump inner circle itself, e.g. Steve Bannon, and by the ever-odious propagandist Sean Hannity. There was never a stitch of truth to it—it was a scam set up by Russian intelligence to divert blame for their own hacking of the DNC.
The right once again got played good and hard and, most importantly, extremely willingly, by conspiracy hucksters, only this time the hucksters were foreign intelligence agents whose extremely low opinion of the American right was once again validated in spades. There is a sucker born every minute, and several of them have their own Fox News shows.
This is not terribly shocking news. It was evident that Rich conspiracists were all acting out of their desire to reject Russian interference on Trump's behalf as "fake news" and replace it with some new theory exonerating the Trumpites and instead implicating his opponents; We have long known that Russia itself acted to amplify the conspiracy once it had started. Fox News host Sean Hannity was among the most aggressive promoters of the theory precisely because peddling the misdirection was beneficial to Trump. None of them had to be paid or even lightly encouraged to run with the hoax; Once Russian intelligence planted and distributed the story, it was assured that the most crooked among the right would latch on and squeeze it for all it was worth.
It may be Isikoff's retelling of how the rampant conspiracy mongering harmed the actual hunt for Seth Rich's murderers that stings the most. Former assistant U.S. attorney Deborah Sines relays the difficulty of attempting to push through waves of false information in the search for snippets of truth, and of having a foreign intelligence agency as her opponent.
So then: Smooth move, Sean Hannity. Fox News acted as co-conspirator in Russia's own propaganda efforts to distance itself from the hacking of Donald Trump's political opponents, and it was Sean Hannity's own enormous head that became the most visible outlet for the Russian agents' inventions. Smooth move, entire conservative movement. You own this one.
Posted with permission