Big-Money PR War Over Seth Rich’s Death
Two competing lobbyists have been waging major PR campaigns over Seth Rich’s murder.
Citing a former Fox News contributor, a local Fox station reported that DNC employee Seth Rich was “communicating with WikiLeaks before his death” and could be tested with “tangible evidence on Rich’s laptop.”
But a spokesman for Rich’s family said there is a hole in the Fox 5 D.C report: Private investigator Rod Wheeler does not have access to Rich’s laptop.
“We know where Seth’s personal computer is, and we know where his DNC computer is,” said Brad Bauman, who represents the Rich family, “The Daily Beast.”
Rich was killed shortly after 4 am one block from his home in July last year. His work as a member of the Democratic National Committee during an election cycle in which his employer was hacked-fed conspiracy theories of the extreme right. Until Tuesday, those theories were relegated to websites such as InfoWars and 4chan, but Fox News brought those conspiracies into the mainstream following Wheeler’s claims Tuesday.
The WikiLeaks statement, which focused on Twitter on Tuesday and reached the national broadcast and Fox News website, is the latest in a war between two political consultants on opposite sides of the corridor to frame the death of Rich as part of a Largest global conspiracy. To the spokesman of the family.
One, headed by a Republican from “Never Trump” named Jack Burkman, claims that Rich’s death was perpetrated by the Russian government.
Wheeler, a Fox News contributor who the family said is funded by a pro-trump writer Breitbart, spread the other conspiracy, that Rich’s death was linked to a communication with WikiLeaks for which he provided no evidence of its existence.
Both have received permission from the family to conduct independent investigations, but were not paid by the family, as other media said, Bauman said.
“There is an overwhelming fact in this whole thing every few months: there are people who continuously use Seth Rich and his murder to further their political goals,” Bauman said. “It is my hope that these people will get what comes to them.”
Fox 5 D.C. Reported that Wheeler had been “hired by the Rich family.” Bauman said that this too “is not true,” and that Wheeler was funded in a totally independent manner. Bauman later stated that Wheeler had been hired by Ed Butowsky, a Dallas pro-Trump real estate manager who regularly appears on Fox Business and writes about Breitbart’s economy.
The Daily Beast approached Butowsky for comment, but did not respond in the press. He told MSNBC that “I did not pay anyone. I did not hire anyone” on Tuesday afternoon.
Wheeler once appeared in The O’Reilly Factor to report on a “national underground network” of “violent lesbian gangs” in 2007. The Southern Poverty Law Center criticized the segment for fabricating nonexistent bands of women who “indoctrinated” The force Children as young as 10 “to become lesbians.
Big-Money PR War Over Seth Rich’s Death
But the far right seized Wheeler’s story Tuesday that Rich was “absolutely” tied to WikiLeaks before his murder last July. While President Trump’s accidental escape of confidential information to Russia took over the covers of most of the major news sites, Fox News published a story titled “Slain DNC Staffer Had Contact with WikiLeaks, Say Multiple Sources.” For providing emails to WikiLeaks.
Later, NBC News weakened the Fox News story, confirming that the FBI never owned Rich’s laptop, despite Fox News reporter Malia Zimmerman’s claim that an office agent had access to the computer. The title was later amended to read “The family of DNC staff member Seth Rich exploited the detective over the WikiLeaks liaison report.”
That story, now discredited, continues with its original title on Fox News’s sister site Fox Nation.
Meanwhile, stories about Trump’s ties to Russia were relegated to below-double-billing on FoxNews.com.
“Over the past year, several people have taken advantage of the Rich family to push their own political agendas. It’s disgusting,” Bauman said.
Fox 5 D.C. Is not new in the current stories about Seth Rich’s death involving a global conspiracy without asking for evidence or involving Rich’s family.
In March, the station issued a segment on a “possible break in the case” citing lobbyist Jack Burkman’s claims, but again provided no evidence. That story, which blamed Rich’s death on the opposite side of the political aisle to Fox’s more recent 5 D.C. report, was not mentioned in its WikiLeaks story Tuesday.
During the 2016 election cycle, Burkman worked as a lobbyist for an anti-Trump GOP group called Free The Delegates.
The Daily Beast was approached in February by the public relations firm that represented Burkman and his investigation, but opted not to write a story. Glenn Selig, who runs the public relations firm, told The Daily Beast on Tuesday that Burkman also had no access to Rich’s computer, and issued a press release demanding Wheeler’s evidence that Rich had ties to WikiLeaks.
“This was a surprise to us too,” said Selig, adding that Burkman is working with students in the George Washington University forensics department to try to discover Rich’s killers. “Our research is independent of the family, I do not know anything about this researcher, it is possible that this guy has gone mad.
Bauman said Fox’s two contradictory stories, which are not mentioned among themselves, “provide cover for real killers to stay underground even longer.”
“If there is a God in heaven, he would shut down that publishing department,” Bauman said. “First, it was Russia, now it’s WikiLeaks – all they seem to be interested in doing is wooing the controversy, all they do is that they keep the Metropolitan Police Department from doing its job.”
The Metropolitan Police told the Washington Post that “there is nothing we can find that either [Wheeler’s story] is accurate” on Tuesday.
In the midst of the firestorm, Seth Rich’s parents, Joel and Mary Ann Rich, issued a statement to deny the bomb invented by Wheeler, who reached the top of most alt-right websites on Tuesday by the afternoon.
“As we have seen over the past year of unsubstantiated claims, we do not see facts, we have not seen evidence, we have been approached without emails and we only learned about it when contacted by the press,” he said. “We are a family committed to the facts, not with false evidence that comes every few months to fill the void and distract law enforcement and the general public from finding Seth’s killers.”
When asked how Rich’s parents are handling the consequences of Wheeler’s allegations, Bauman said they are “absolutely devastated.”