Sean Hannity announced earlier tonight that he was going to stop talking—”For now,” anyway—about the murder of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich on his Fox News show. Rich’s death, back in July, is the center of an online conspiracy theory that’s attracted a number of conservative proponents who should probably know better, from Newt Gingrich all the way down to right-wing internet celebrities like Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom. As Hannity himself has discussed a number of times before tonight, the idea is that Rich was supposedly the person who leaked DNC emails to WikiLeaks right before the Democrats’ national convention, and that his bosses turned around and promptly murdered him to punish his transgression, disguising his death as a robbery gone wrong. Last week, Fox News published a story on its web site, stating that Rich was the one who made the leaks; that’s since been retracted, although Hannity has made it clear that he, personally, isn’t retracting shit.
Understandably, this has all been pretty upsetting for Rich’s parents, who have frequently asked that people not turn their son’s murder into the latest political football to get kicked around the media landscape. Hannity—who’s now essentially top dog of the burnt-out wreckage of Fox News, an organization that’s been badly damaged in recent months by scandals, departures, and resurgent competitors—claims to have spoken to the family today, and told his viewers that he’s tabling discussing of Rich’s murder for now. (True to form, though, he did so in a long, rambling speech about the “Destroy Trump media,” “liberal fascism,” and fake news.) But still: Sean Hannity was successfully shamed into not talking about something for once! That’s gotta be a win, although presumably not for us, or Hannity, or Rich’s family, or anyone, actually, now that we think about it for very long
Meanwhile, Hannity tweeted the following out earlier tonight, assuring fans that a) no amount of pressure from groups like Media Matters—which has been criticizing Hannity’s discussion of the alleged Rich conspiracy, and which is working to organize an advertising boycott similar to the one that ousted Bill O’Reilly—would get him to leave, and b) no matter what he said on the air, Encyclopedia Sean is still on the case: