Is Fox News finally waking up to the fact that media hobgoblin Sean Hannity might be bad for their brand? We can certainly hope.

For those of you who have not heard anything about this Seth Rich conspiracy theory, bless you, you sweet, innocent dear. But I’m about to ruin your day.

In July of last year, Seth Rich, a young DNC worker was robbed and murdered in Washington D.C. No one has been arrested for his murder. Fast forward to October when paragons of integrity, Julian Assange and Roger Stone, begin implying that Rich was angry at how the DNC treated Bernie Sanders during the primary and was the source of the DNC emails that Wikileaks shared. This of course, would not only absolve Russia of hacking the DNC and put an end to these pesky questions our entire government is currently asking about Trump’s campaign’s relationship with a country that is OUR ENEMY, but it also fuels some of those darker stories about the Clintons being murderous monsters that those on the fringes of the right are so eager to believe. Of course if Clinton goes around murdering people who are inconvenient to her, someone needs to explain to me how Anthony Weiner is still alive, BUT I DIGRESS.

Anyway, on Monday, May 15th, a D.C. Fox station ran a story about how Rod Wheeler, a private investigator and regular Fox contributor, claimed that he was hired by the Rich family to investigate his death, and that he had FBI sources who were telling him that there was information tying Rich to Wikileaks. Human nasal cyst Sean Hannity took this story and RAN with it, as did FoxNews.com, Brietbart, The Drudge Report and all the other usual suspects. However, by Wednesday, May 17th, the original Fox station was walking back the story: turns out the Rich family did not hire Wheeler, some “third party” did, and in fact the Rich family sent him a cease-and-desist order. Wheeler himself also admitted that his “FBI sources” did not tell him there was a connection between Rich and Wikileaks, that it was all a “miscommunication.”

jennifer-sure-ok

However, that did not stop Newt Gingrich who went on Fox & Friends on Sunday to continue fanning this fake story, for Geraldo Rivera to get in the action:

But no one fully embraced the story as much as Sean Hannity who kept broadcasting the story on his show and tweeted charming things like:

Just to be very clear about what is happening here, these assholes are exploiting the tragic murder of a young man to peddle a fake story that has been debunked over and over again to distract the gullible on the right from the fact that our intelligence agencies strongly suspect and are actively investigating whether a foreign government interfered in our election and if our President might have colluded with them to do so. This is disgusting and harmful and dangerous. In fact, some crazies, supported by Russian Twitter bots, began to suggest that the Manchester bombing was to distract people from the Rich story. No, really:

Fortunately, all of this seems to be backfiring on Hannity. On Monday, The Daily Beast published a story in which anonymous Fox News staffers called Hannity’s fixation on Rich “embarrassing”:

Multiple sources said that hard-news reporters and staffers at the network are aghast at the network’s ongoing coddling of the baseless story and wonder why it has been allowed to continue.

Fox News staff spoke to The Daily Beast on the condition of anonymity.

“The other reporters I’ve talked to [about this] are similarly pissed about the whole thing,” another Fox reporter said. “Some find it embarrassing, others downright heartless [to spread this].”

“It’s just gross,” the reporter added.

Another news reporter said he is “befuddled” that the network hasn’t intervened to decisively put an end to Hannity’s incessant support for, and coverage of, this particular conspiracy theory.

And then yesterday morning, Fox News finally retracted the conspiracy story, pulling it from its site and issuing the following statement:

On May 16, a story was posted on the Fox News website on the investigation into the 2016 murder of DNC Staffer Seth Rich. The article was not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny we require for all our reporting. Upon appropriate review, the article was found not to meet those standards and has since been removed.

We will continue to investigate this story and will provide updates as warranted.

Hannity, however, continued to push his bullshit, saying on his radio show that he retracted nothing, and that his heart was not troubled in the least. He also promised a “huge announcement” on his show that evening:

But when the show aired, suddenly Hannity was singing a slightly different tune:

“Now I want to say something: I totally, completely understand how upset, how hard this is on this family, especially over the recent coverage of Seth’s death,” Hannity began to broach the subject on Tuesday night’s program.

After exchanging “heartfelt” notes with the family, Hannity said, “out of respect for the family’s wishes, for now, I am not discussing this matter at this time.”

“Now, let me explain this,” Hannity pivoted.

“There are so many issues here, not the least of which is the Democratic push of their Russia narrative: collusion Trump Russia narrative, Trump/Russia narrative. There is something clearly happening here,” Hannity blasted. “The Destroy Trump media, the Democrats, they have been pushing that Russian tinfoil hat conspiracy theory with zero evidence.”

Of Tuesday night’s change of plans, Hannity assured his viewers, “Please do not interpret what I’m saying tonight to mean anything.”

“Don’t read into this. I promise you I am not going to stop doing my job to the extent of my ability. I am not going to stop trying to find the truth….That’s what we do here every single day,” he continued.

“That effort is not stopping in any way, shape, matter or form. I am continuing the work that I promised to do every day for you. And at the proper time we shall continue and talk a lot more.”

As for his job at Fox News Channel, Hannity warned of an effort to “silence me.”

“Media Matters is attacking my advertising base, which is what we have called on this program ‘liberal fascism.’ I serve at the pleasure of Fox News Channel, and I am her to do my job every night. I’m under contract, as long as they seem to want me.”

So, he’s not going to discuss Rich’s murder out of respect for his grieving family. But only “at this time.” And we shouldn’t “interpret what [he’s] saying … to mean anything.” Got it.

Since his announcement, Hannity has taken to Twitter to whinge that Fox is being flooded with calls to his advertisers to pull their advertising from his show and “silence free speech.”

LOL, he has no idea what “freedom of speech” is.

In any event, if Hannity continues to push this story after he was clearly warned away from it by Fox News, the advertisers begin to pull their spots, and Fox News’ ratings continue to plummet, those of us who support truth in journalism and stopping the spread of conspiracy theories and #FAKENEWS might just have another head for our trophy wall. Fingers crossed.

In Other TV News

LOL. Ok, so this couple went on America’s Got Talent where they performed a song about “motherhood” and their bond with their daughter. And it was apparently Not Good. Meanwhile, their daughter was standing off-stage with Tyra Banks watching the whole thing and probably dying inside a little.. And now, the family is suing Tyra Banks and the show accusing Banks of physically manipulating and emotionally abusing the daughter, and they say that the daughter is “deeply depressed.” Probably because her parents went on a TV show and sang some horribly embarrassing song about her. Whatever the real story is here, it is amazing.

Here’s your new Game of Thrones key art:

‘I haven’t read your script, but I know how to fix it,’ and other unhelpful advice showrunners have received.

Someone made a Change.org petition to bring back Blake K., that handsome guy who was cut from the Bachelorette in favor of a tickle creep, a guy who brought a fucking doll to the McMansion and Whaboom.

Why Frank Underwood is a better President than the one we are actually stuck with.

Netflix series The Keepers has inspired the Baltimore police to start an online form for people to report sexual offenses that are described in the show.

Oh my God, Netflix is going to make that Rihanna & Lupita movie that Twitter inspired. This might be the first time I’ve ever said this but, yay social media! You did something right for once!

In Development

Casting News

WATCH THIS

The Real Housewives of New York: Oh, God, Dorinda is hosting the ladies at the Berkshires again. Let’s hope she invited Sonja this time. 8 p.m., Bravo

Dirty Dancing: Abigail Breslin, Debra Messing and Colt Prattes star in this completely unnecessary remake of the classic Patrick Swayze movie. 7 p.m., ABC

Arrow: Season finale. 7 p.m., The CW

Shots Fired: Season finale. 7 p.m., Fox

Survivor: Final tribal council. 7 p.m., CBS

The 100: Season finale. 8 p.m., The CW

Law & Order: SVU: Two-hour season finale. 8 p.m., NBC

Late Night: Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon: Orlando Bloom, Zoe Lister-Jones, Mike Vecchione Late Night with Seth Meyers: Robin Wright, Hannibal Buress, Paul Simon, Bill Frisell The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Robin Wright, Hannibal Buress, Paul Simon, Bill Frisell The Late Late Show with James Corden: Ed Helms, Priyanka Chopra, Paramore Jimmy Kimmel Live: Zac Efron, Connie Nielsen, Zac Brown Band Conan: T.J. Miller, Lennon Parham, Missio Watch What Happens Live: Bethenny Frankel, Eric Stonestreet

WEDS. 7:00 7:30 8:00 8:30 9:00 9:30
ABC Dirty Dancing
(new)
CBS Survivor
(new)
CW Arrow
(new)
The 100
(new)
Local
FOX Shots Fired
(new)
Empire
(new)
News/Local
NBC Law & Order: SVU
(repeat)
Law & Order: SVU
(new)
Law & Order: SVU
(new)
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