March 19, 2017: Rich’s brother Aaron starts a GoFundMe page with a goal of $200,000. The money will be used to hire “investigative, forensic and analytical services” in order to solve his murder.
May 15, 2017: The Fox News affiliate in D.C. hosts Rod Wheeler, a private detective who claims there is “absolutely” a “confirmed” connection between Rich and Wikileaks. He claims to have a source at the FBI, and says the secret lies on Rich’s laptop. “The police department nor the FBI have been forthcoming. They haven’t been cooperating at all. I believe that the answer to solving his death lies on that computer, which I believe is either at the police department or either at the FBI. I have been told both,” he says.
May 16, 2017: Fox News runs a story on its website saying that Rich sent over 44,000 internal DNC emails to Wikileaks before he was killed.
May 16, 2017: The Metropolitan Police Department tells Fox’s D.C. affiliate that Wheeler’s claim of the DNC asking them to stand down on Rich’s murder investigation is “absolutely false” and “preposterous.”
May 17, 2017: Wheeler walks back his statements and tells the Fox D.C. affiliate that they were a “miscommunication.” The Rich family responds, “The family has relayed their deep disappointment with Rod Wheeler’s conduct over the last 48 hours, and is exploring legal avenues…”
May 23, 2017: Fox News issues a formal retraction of the Wheeler story. “The article was not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny we require for all our reporting. Upon appropriate review, the article was found not to meet those standards and has since been removed.”
May 23, 2017: Fox News host Sean Hannity promises to keep investigating Rich’s murder. “I am not Fox.com or FoxNews.com, I retracted nothing,” he says. “For all of you in the media, I’m not going to stop doing my job and asking questions, because I know the lies you’re telling, and the conspiracies you’ve spun, with no evidence, to destroy a president in conjunction with the deep state.”
May 23, 2017: The left-wing group MediaMatters continues its war on Hannity by publishing a list of his advertisers and encouraging followers to boycott them. “Sean Hannity is a professional propagandist for President Donald Trump, as well as a bigot, a sexist, and a conspiracy theorist,” they explain of their crusade to get him removed from Fox News.
May 23, 2017: Rich’s parents beg the conspiracy theorists to cease their efforts. “The amount of pain and anguish this has caused us is unbearable,” they write. “With every conspiratorial flare-up, we are forced to relive Seth’s murder and a small piece of us dies as more of Seth’s memory is torn away from us.”
May 24, 2017: Several companies that advertise on Hannity pull their ads from the show, according to BuzzFeed, including Cars.com, mattress and pillow maker Casper, video doorbell company Ring, and Peloton, which makes exercise bikes.