NEW YORK — Fox News says it has removed from its website a speculative story about the 2016 murder of Democratic National Committee employee Seth Rich because it “was not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny we require for all our reporting.”
The report, published a week earlier, quoted a private investigator suggesting that Rich had some connection to Wikileaks and its leaks of Democratic National Committee emails during the last campaign.
Rich’s family has said they don’t believe their son, who was shot in July 2016 in Washington, gave any information to WikiLeaks. The investigator has since recanted his claim, and the independent researcher Politifact.com has said the notion that Rich was involved in the leak was flimsy and illogical.
No arrests have been made in the shooting. Washington police have said they think Rich was killed in a random robbery attempt, but conspiracy theories have emerged about his death.
Although Fox removed the story from its website, its statement did not say the story was wrong. The network said it will continue to investigate the story and provide updates as warranted.
The network had no other comment beyond the published statement on Tuesday. It also made no mention of Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity, who has done stories about the case on his prime-time television show.
Hannity said last week that he doesn’t believe Rich was killed as part of a robbery attempt.
“I am not backing off asking questions even though there’s an effort that nobody talk about Seth Rich,” he said.
On Tuesday, Hannity continued to stick by his claims, tweeting a link to a website promoting the conspiracy theory.