“I totally, completely understand how upset and how hard this is on this family, especially over the recent coverage of Seth’s death,” Hannity said at the top of his show. “Now, I’ve been communicating with them. I got a very heartfelt note. I also sent them a heartfelt note back. I reached out personally today to Seth’s brother, Aaron. ... I’m a father. I don’t think I’d ever recover from losing a child.”
He continued, “Out of respect for the family’s wishes, for now, I am not discussing this matter at this time.”
Then he went right into a rant about the “conspiracy” involving the Democrats and the media linking Russia to the Trump campaign.
The change in tone came just hours after Hannity continued to peddle a retracted Fox News story on his radio program. The thinly sourced story, which was also removed from Fox News’ website, pushed a conspiracy theory linking the slain former Democratic National Committee staffer to WikiLeaks. Police suspect Rich was fatally shot in a robbery attempt while he was walking in his Washington, D.C., neighborhood last July.
Also on Tuesday night, Hannity addressed his future at Fox News, which has been under scrutiny for weeks, since the network parted ways with top executive Bill Shine.
“As for my job here at the Fox News Channel ― I serve at the pleasure of the Fox News Channel,” Hannity said. “And I’m here to do my job every night ― I’m under contract ― as long as they seem to want me.”
During Hannity’s program, the Rich family released a statement thanking Hannity for respecting their wishes and “not giving a venue to conspiracy theorists.”
Hannity’s comments galvanized his fans, who took to Twitter using the hashtag #IstandwithHannity to share their unwavering support of the Fox News host pushing the very conspiracy theory he said he would not discuss.
As his program ended, Hannity sent out tweets saying he was “closer to the truth than ever” and used a Seth Rich-related hashtag, less than an hour after he said he would stop discussing the case.
Folks on Twitter continued to call out Hannity for continuing to tweet about the matter.