NPR Airs Russiagate Reporter’s Take on Seth Rich Conspiracy Theories the Day After Lawsuit Over Their Seth Rich Coverage Goes Forward

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Isikoff Lays an Egg

Diana West  April 30, 2019

Investigative journalist Michael Isikoff may find comfort in the herd; however, the fact is, he led it. It was Isikoff who published the first news story based on this “third-hand stuff” from the so-called Steele dossier in September 2016 for Yahoo News, where he was—and still is—”chief investigative correspondent.”

It’s one thing to be a useful idiot (at best), who, after more than 30 years in the news business, is easily gulled by Democratic Party and Clinton campaign contractors into presenting pre-packaged slander against the Republican presidential nominee as responsibly sourced and credible information. It’s quite another to start with this “we” business to avoid taking responsibility for hoaxing the public in the first place.

Still, Isikoff has performed something of a public service. Thanks to “Russian Roulette,” the 2018 book he co-authored with David Corn, who happened to have written the second load of #FakeNews based on Steele’s “third-hand stuff” in October 2016 for Mother Jones, we can now walk through Isikoff’s steps to see how exactly it first came into public view as “news.”

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Judge greenlights libel suit against NPR over Seth Rich reports

Judge Amos Mazzant of U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas ruled Wednesday that the $57 million suit brought by Ed Butowsky makes plausible claims that the network may be liable for defamation for a series of online stories about Butowsky’s role in publicizing assertions that the murdered DNC staffer, Seth Rich, may have been involved in leaking Democratic emails.

NPR’s attorneys argued that the reports by NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik accurately described a separate, prior lawsuit filed by Rod Wheeler, a private investigator and former Washington, D.C., homicide detective whom Butowsky hired to explore the Rich case and who wound up suing Fox News and Butowsky for defamation after accusing Fox of fabricating quotations in a story about Rich’s murder.

Fox eventually retracted the online story it published, although Fox News prime-time host Sean Hannity publicly declared that he was not retracting his statements about Rich’s murder, including unproven claims that Rich might have been killed because of some role in leaking Democratic National Committee emails that U.S. officials say Russia hacked into and handed off to WikiLeaks.

Rich’s parents also sued Fox News and Butowsky for defamation over their roles in the Fox reports. A federal judge in New York dismissed that case, but the ruling is on appeal.

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‘Conspiracyland’ Debunks Theories About Murder Of DNC Staffer Seth Rich

Fresh Air August 8, 2019

Journalist Michael Isikoff hosts a new podcast exploring the motivation and methods of those who promoted wild conspiracy theories about Rich, who was killed in a suspected failed robbery in 2016.

Ed Butowsky has filed a defamation suit against NPR and NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik for their reporting on an earlier lawsuit that claimed Butowsky was involved in a retracted Fox News story about the Seth Rich conspiracy theory. Yesterday a federal judge rejected NPR’s motion to dismiss the suit, saying Butkowsky’s complaint is not defective. NPR says it stands by their reporting and will defend the case vigorously.

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