In a statement Monday, Fox's president of news, Jay Wallace, called Wheeler's accusation that the story was published to detract from the Russian investigation "completely erroneous". In May, Fox News published a story that quoted Rod Wheeler, a Fox News contributor and former homicide detective hired to investigate Rich's death, saying there was in fact evidence showing Rich had been in contact with Wikileaks.
Now comes more intrigue, as former Sputnik News White House correspondent, Andrew Feinberg, made an announcement which seems, at least on the surface, to implicate Vladimir Putin himself as one of the conspirators in creating and pushing the Seth Rich story.
By now most of our readers have heard about the unfortunate Seth Rich hoax which was pushed hard by the far-right and many reporters at Fox News, before the network announced that they were pulling the story.
According to the lawsuit, Malia Zimmerman of #Fox News made up two quotes which credited Wheeler in an article published on May 16. He wants the article out immediately Its now all up to you.
"On April 20, a month before the story ran, [wealthy Trump supporter Ed] Butowsky and Wheeler... met at the White House with then Press Secretary Sean Spicer to brief him on what they were uncovering", NPR reports.
Fox retracted the story after just a week, admitting it did not meet its journalistic standards.
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Parnes notes that the former top diplomat won't entirely blame her loss on Comey and Putin. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.
Fox removed the story from its website a week after it was published. For his part, Butowsky told NPR that his statement about Trump approving of the story was a joke. "But don't feel the pressure", the text said. So not only does it appear that President Trump may have colluded with Russia to help win the election, but it also appears that he is continuing to do so in order to divert attention from the Trump/Russia story line. Butowsky said that Wheeler complained to him that he was misquoted, but that he has emails showing him approving the quotes.
"According to the complaint, at the same time that 21st Century Fox's General Counsel, Gerson Zweifach, was meeting with the United Kingdom regulators in an attempt to convince them that Fox had in place procedures to ensure compliance with broadcasting standards to purchase Sky, Fox News was working with the Trump administration to disseminate fake news in order to distract the public from Russia's alleged attempts to influence our Country's presidential election", said Douglas Wigdor, a partner at Wigdor, LLP, who is representing Wheeler, in an emailed statement.
Beyond his business, Butowsky has also plied his trade as a go-to analyst for reporters and broadcasters, frequently popping up on television or in news articles. Wigdor said this would include the president and Spicer.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump had no knowledge of the false story before it was posted and that it was "completely untrue" that the White House had any role in shaping it.
Sanders says she sees nothing wrong with Spicer meeting with members of the press. He asked for a 10 minute meeting, with no specified topic, to catch up and said he would be bringing along a contributor to Fox News. He also claims the entire process took place with the knowledge of the White House.