You could ask why the Murdoch family would doing something as crazy as allowing Fox News to become the de facto state-sponsored propaganda outlet for Trump, akin to what RT is for Putin, but this is the same clan that kept Roger Ailes in control of the cable channel as he continually attempted to use its green rooms as his own personal Plato’s Retreat. Much like the President himself, the Murdochs have been operating so dishonestly for so long, the pointer on their moral compass may be permanently broken.
In a legal sense, however, these recent machinations are a step beyond other predations they’ve enabled and lies they’ve aired in the past. If Robert Mueller’s investigation proves that not only did Sean Hannity and others at Fox collaborate with the White House on the ugly Seth Rich fan fiction but the company also coordinated stories with Russian agents to benefit Trump and the Kremlin, there will be hell to pay and no out-of-court settlements will do.
One way or another, the Trump gambit will end ruinously for Robert, James and Lachlan, unless the orange supremacist manages to end U.S. democracy and become the nation’s first authoritarian ruler. Seriously, that’s the best-case scenario for them!
· · ·
From a John R. Schindler Observer column:
The Trump administration has started employing Chekist-style disinformation to protect itself from the increasingly serious KremlinGate investigation. An unpleasantly illustrative case that has just come to light is that of Seth Rich, a 27-year-old Democratic National Committee staffer who was murdered in Washington, D.C. in July 2016. His killing remains unsolved; there has never been any reason to think it was anything more than a tragic, random late-night shooting of the kind that happens in our nation’s capital more often than it should.
Nevertheless, for nearly a year, pro-Trump mouthpieces have parroted a fact-free conspiracy theory that Rich—not Russia’s intelligence services—was the “real” source of the purloined DNC emails that were disseminated in the summer of 2016 by Wikileaks, to Hillary Clinton’s detriment. Julian Assange has repeatedly hinted that Rich was his source and that the young man was assassinated by a vengeful Clintonian hit-team, without offering any evidence.
Which he can’t, because there isn’t any. This is just another absurd lie broadcast by a well-known Kremlin front, albeit a particularly nasty one that has tortured the grieving young man’s family. The story doesn’t end there, however. Fox News, too, gleefully parroted Assange’s lie. Here a preeminent role was played by Sean Hannity, a Fox News star plus a friend of Assange’s, who in mid-May broadcast fact-free assertions about Seth Rich and his alleged role in leaking DNC emails.
Rich’s enraged family denounced Hannity and threatened legal action, leading Fox News to take the rare step of retracting Hannity’s fabricated “bombshell” story. Yet the damage was done, and this became yet another case of Kremlin-backed disinformation transforming into a pro-Trump trope on the right-wing, despite there being zero evidence for its veracity. It should be noted that Moscow played a direct role in creating and spreading this noxious Rich mythology. Sputnik, the Kremlin propaganda website, actually cashiered one of its American reporters when he refused to go along with an obvious lie about the murdered young man.
It now turns out that Fox News, too, was complicit in spreading lies about Seth Rich to aid the White House. As reported by NPR, a lawsuit filed by Rod Wheeler, a former cop and sometime Fox News contributor, against the right-wing media giant, alleges that the network consciously spread lies about Seth Rich to help the president deflect attention from the Russia scandal—and that the White House was directly involved in this conspiracy to deceive the public.•