It is understandable that so many people have come to mistrust the media, because Fox News so often reports poorly sourced speculation as if it were news. This has happened again, in a particularly egregious case, that of Seth Rich, a young man who was murdered recently in Washington, D.C. Fox News today retracted a story that one of its stars, Sean Hannity, has been flogging -- that Rich's murder was somehow connected to the acquisition by Wikileaks of emails from the Democratic National Committee's account. Rich worked for DNC, and Fox and Hannity have been reporting, without evidence, that an unidentified source at the FBI found that Rich's laptop somehow showed that he'd had contact with Wikileaks and could have been the source of the internal emails Wikileaks ended up publishing. From that bit of nothing, Hannity speculated that Rich was murdered for his role in the Wikileaks affair. Of course, Rich had no role in the Wikileaks affair, and his family, in the midst of their grief, have been begging Fox and Hannity to stop smearing his memory. Also seizing on this (could Pres. Trump's persistent and actual scandals have something to do with the promotion of this fake scandal?) has been Newt Gingrich. But the private investigator who was a source for the story recanted. Other, more legitimate news organizations dug into the story and found the FBI never had Rich's laptop so could not have found anything on it. The story was false from start to finish, as Fox has belatedly admitted. But in the meantime, they've done real harm to a family that just lost a beloved son. It's shameful. As a journalist, I am ashamed.

Will Doolittle is projects editor at The Post-Star. He may be reached at will@poststar.com and followed on his blog, I think not, and on Twitter at

@trafficstatic.

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