Fox News retracts Seth Rich conspiracy story

Fox News on Tuesday retracted a story regarding the 2016 killing of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich after massive outcry over sharing conspiracy theories about the murder.

"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 retraction reads. "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.” 

Fox did indicate, however, it will continue investigating the story.

ADVERTISEMENT

Rich, 27, was shot and killed last year on the streets of Washington, D.C. Since his slaying, right-wing news outlets have sought to link his death, without evidence, to Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGOP rushes to cut ties to Moore Papadopoulos was in regular contact with Stephen Miller, helped edit Trump speech: report Bannon jokes Clinton got her ‘ass kicked’ in 2016 election MORE's presidential campaign and the WikiLeaks release of hacked emails from the campaign. 

Fox News host Sean Hannity has particularly focused on the Rich story in recent days, both on air and on Twitter.

The family of Seth Rich wrote a letter to Hannity's executive producer urging the primetime program to stop pushing the conspiracy theory.

“Think about how you would feel losing a son or brother. And while dealing with this, you had baseless accusations of your lost family member being part of a vast conspiracy," Aaron Rich wrote in the letter, which was provided to CNN.

"As the family, we would hope to be the first people to learn about any such evidence and reasons for Seth's death," Rich continued. 

"It is a travesty that you would prompt false conspiracy theories and other people's agendas rather than work with the family to learn the truth." 

The Rich family thanked Fox for the retraction.

"The family would like to thank Fox News for their retraction on a story that has caused deep pain and anguish to the family and has done harm to Seth Rich's legacy," a family spokesman told CNN

"We are hopeful that in the future Fox News will work with the family to ensure the highest degree of professionally and scrutiny is followed so that only accurate facts are reported serving this case."

Hannity took to Twitter on Tuesday afternoon to defend his decision to cover the story. 

Media Matters for America posted a link to a list of Hannity's advertisers in a tweet to its nearly 300,000 followers.

The group targeted former Fox host Bill O'Reilly's advertisers amid sexual harassment allegations, helping lead to his ouster last month after more than 50 companies pulled their ads from his program. 

The Hill has reached out to Fox News for comment.

- Updated at 2:55 p.m.