Bonus Episode 5
Hi Everybody I'm Dan Kleinman Editor in chief of Yahoo News and welcome to this bonus episode of Yahoo News Conspiracy Land a new podcast podcast series on the murder of seth rich brought to you by skulduggery. I'm here with my colleague and skulduggery Co host Mike Issakov Yahoo News chief investigative correspondent and the host host conspiracy land and beyond Drita veteran news broadcaster WHO's reported for A._B._C. News C._B._C.. News is currently a C._N._N.. Contributor and is our former colleague at Yahoo in these special episodes we will tell the story behind the story of conspiracy land explore the larger themes this tangled and tragic case raises and here from Mike what it was like to report on the seth rich murderer as he plumbed the depths of the dark Netherworld of American political conspiracies each bonus podcast will be available available with the episode corresponds to today. We're discussing episode five Fox News Fallout Welcome back. Is it so intrigue. Let's dig right into it all right ISIKOFF <unk>. Who is Melissa Zimmerman? She is a Fox News website reporter based in California. She was an investigative reporter she he did some work on the Hilary Clinton email investigation during the two thousand sixteen campaign and she ends up being the reporter who Ed Batoszewski works works with to get this story this bogus story about seth rich being the leaker to wikileaks to Fox News and this is a local Fox News Well No. She's a national Melih. Zimmerman is a reporter for Fox News website nationally but the story story. This story originally breaks after me. Zimmerman says she has a source an anonymous federal investigator investigator. We all know which agency She's referring to who has seen the so-called forensic report that Cy Hirsch had originally described to Ed Bartelski purporting to show that there were communications between seth rich and wikileaks now remember from our last episode Cy Hirsch ultimately says he doesn't even know true and walked away from this story but that's not what <unk> Hausky wanted to hear and believe Zimmerman goes out and she says fines somebody. We have no idea who this person is who purports to confirm that there was such Investigator is no idea about whether there's any such F._B._i.. Forensic report but is trying to be you know helpful guy to this band of conspiracy mongers is working with and initially tells the Fox local Fox News reporter order that he has confirmed to me Zimmerman what it is that she wants to hear which is that there were communications between rich and wikileaks but he's learned this from me. I mean it's totally circular. It's completely circular. There's nothing to back it up and breaks every journalistic rule aw that we follow before about this story breaks every journalist four come up with before you go forward with a story right. Resume isn't the typical tactic one takes no no and it certainly not and there were so many red flags about what they were about out to report but and you get into the dynamics of cable TV Fox has this local affiliate then WANNA local local affiliate breaking a big story so once wheeler spills the beans about what Molina's Zimmerman has written and by the way at that point the story wasn't even even edited the editors at Fox News hadn't even seen the story at that point but oh my God the local Fox affiliate in Washington is reporting according on this they all get to work that morning and they see me Zimmerman Story and we gotta get this out there and they just posted and advocate Hausky who along all through this says this is not for his own public fame that he doesn't want any media attention is emailing producers and hosts. He's emailing Malik Princeton's favorite show the morning show friends now. This is by the way after he had put his own pressure on wheeler. You'll have to confirm the story telling him. The president wants this story out. He leaves them a voicemail and tells them so give me those quotes she needs because you know at the highest there's levels in the United States government. They want the story out so never talked to trump he never he was manipulating every talks to trump right. You know we don't know with Ed Bukowski your I ever quite the exchange with him about his relationship with Bannon couldn't keep straight. When's the last last time we talked to Steve Bannon who was quietly promoting the story as we point out in this episode so anyway so Fox News website Russia's the militia Zimmerman story onto the Internet they posted and who Hausky is emailing Idea this was going on. They didn't even know the Fox story was going to run and no one reached out to them. If so you know Mary rich says nobody reached out does about this all and they're sitting at home at night and suddenly there's Sean Hannity talking about their son as the leaker to wikileaks leaks and Sean Hannity eventually comes in Fox comes under fire for reporting this story but Sean Sean Hannity is pretty unrepentant. Tell our he waffles after he gets heat for several days advertisers bailing gene. We're bailing on him. The Washington polices denied the story the F._B._I.. Has denied the story and Fox News. Management is where Fox News Management Management is the story day after eight days they retracted the story took it down from their website issued a statement saying it didn't meet our editorial standards and Sean Hannity says it out of respect for the family family bought on not going to back down from doing doing my job which is a winking nod of his followers to his fans and then on his radio show says I've retracted nothing and he continues to talk about it in fact ours right. Yeah Yeah I. I don't know how much you continue to talk about it at that point because I e because he was getting a lot of heat and Fox was getting a a lot of heat but here is what's so pernicious about all. This is once something gets out there like this. It doesn't go away. Hey as Mary rich points out is yeah. They retracted but it's still out there on the Internet. It's still out there. People are still believing that they're still circulating. This and people like Ed Petoskey are not giving up in fact they continue to pump it. They continue to fan it and who else is doing so oh Roger Stone other conspiracy entrepreneurs out there and one of them will get to episode six is inevitably inevitably Jerome Corsi the dehaene of conspiracy theorists still let me ask you in this era of fake news and the president lobbing that accusation at every story headlined that he doesn't like or the disparages him what for our listeners what is the role that media plays throughout all of this because having the fame having the recognition of the Fox News brand their most popular most viewed commentators lawyers journalists whatever you WANNA call them. Pushing all of this out is what really got this story to be as big as it is absolutely you asked all the right questions and you presented facts that didn't seem to matter to some of these people no no because in our fractured polarized arrived political world facts are only useful when they confirm your own prejudices when they confirm. From what you want to know in what you want to hear and if those facts don't do that they're not serving their purpose anymore and people tune tune them out and they block them and it doesn't get through to their brains and nobody has the authority to call that out because in the conspiracy Land Diane that we've become every institution is under question. Every institution is suspect. There's the deep state. There's the people pulling strings behind closed doors. That's the view of the world that has taken up so much <unk> oxygen now and gets so much traction especially in the world of social media. That's what the Russians have taken great advantage of what the First First Amendment and anybody being able to spew whatever misinformation absolute they want to has Fox News taking any responsibility for its role role in this. What is this tragedy tragedy. They family retracted the story. They said at the well a few months later later when the lawsuits began on this that they were conducting an internal investigation into what happened and how the story came about. There's Servino findings that have been publicly released on that internal investigation. I talked to Fox for this <hes> they were. They got back to me. They talk to me. They said look you know we'll give you our statements but we can't say anything because this is a subject of continuing litigation and in their court short arguments they've argued that this was reporting protected by the First Amendment about an issue of public concern well. We can't end this <hes> bonus episode episode without coming back to marry rich you end the episode with her and this wrenching comment that she makes which you alluded to in one of our earlier bonus episodes so tell us <hes> yeah the sort of emotional we draining and heart rendering interview do we did because as we walk through what happened and we get to the Fox story that's when she just almost completely loses it and says this is a pain and we are living with every day and this is like losing our son all over again and we'll hear in in the final bonus episode about the effect this has had on her other son. Aaron rich yes and what he's been dragged through throughout this entire process as well yes or we'll I'll be back soon with the collateral damage episode six what is the true source of the seth rich conspiracy theory and who should be held accountable mm-hmm join us as we get to the bottom of it at news dot Yahoo Dot com slash conspiracy land and subscribe to conspiracy land on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen Kahad chemists.