Dishonest suppression of public investigation of Seth Rich’s murder: Five examples via /r/WikiLeaks

Dishonest suppression of public investigation of Seth Rich’s murder: Five examples

Last night, I posted a challenge to those who would argue that the Seth Rich investigation is nothing — to explain why key pieces of evidence we know exist, and could contribute greatly to solving the case, have not been publicly disclosed. That still stands. But there's something else that's really bugging me: common but deeply flawed talking points people keep reciting to derail discussion of the case. Many of them are very misleading upon further inspection.

So here's another challenge: address these critiques of the typical arguments given against pursuing this case.

1. "Look at the TIMING. Isn't it obvious this is just a distraction from Trump disclosing classified information to Russia?"

Fox News did not invent the controversy over this case. It's been on a slow boil for the better part of a year, with the suspicious timing and circumstances of Rich's death followed by gratuitous hints dropped by WikiLeaks and Assange. It's possible that Fox carefully chose when to cover new developments — but they sure would be spoiled for choice. There hasn't been a day since Trump's inauguration when he hasn't been embroiled in some scandal or other. I'm not sure I'd even put this one in the top five.

Name a date since January 20th when a non-Trump political story couldn't be accused of being a distraction from the latest Trump-related controversy. And tell me why news outlets should wait around for slow news days to cover the investigation of Seth Rich's death. He's not "today's top five puppy videos".

2. "Look who's covering and following this case. All right-wingers. Clearly this is more politically motivated right-wing fake news."

It should be obvious before I say anything that this argument is a fallacy. The credibility of the case rests on its evidence, not who currently believes it. (Only hardcore "Bernie Bros" believed the DNC was sabotaging the Sanders campaign, based on suspicious circumstances most were happy to ignore — until the undeniable proof came out.) Putting it in artificial partisan terms just serves to prejudice left-wingers reading about it for the first time against considering the facts fairly.

It's true that it's mostly being covered by right-wing outlets, and you have to consider their motives and sources. But let's think this through. Most mainstream media outlets downplaying this case ferociously endorsed Hillary Clinton, and were subsequently implicated in unethical collusion by the DNC and Podesta leaks. "Russian interference" functions as a convenient excuse to misdirect blame for their breaches of journalistic ethics; "exposed by a disgusted insider who was then murdered" would look a whole lot worse for them. Fox News has a history of blatant right-wing bias, yes, but CNN, WaPo, NYT, etc. have a known conflict of interest and history of compromised ethics regarding this specific issue. Why do they deserve greater deference? You've got to focus on evidence and critical thinking, not on partisanship. (And just for the record, I'm a far-left Canadian feminist who despises Trump, voted for Trudeau, and is disappointed he hasn't been progressive enough. So no, this isn't an exclusively right-wing issue.)

3. "These wacky conspiracy theorists will believe anything."

I'm sure there are some people who are 100% convinced that the DNC killed Seth Rich. I'm not one of those people, though, and most people I've seen commenting on this issue aren't either. We're pointing out causes for suspicion that are largely going ignored — and the way they're being ignored and marginalized despite their validity is itself suspicious.

It's jumping to conclusions to assert that it wasn't the DNC, without evidence to the contrary, when there's cause to suspect that they would have both the motive (Rich having apparently been a Bernie supporter and at least potentially the source of the DNC leaks) and means (few organizations would have more pull in Washington than the DNC if they actually wanted to halt an investigation and urge the media narrative in a different direction). At minimum, they're a plausible lead, but many won't even consider it because of political bias.

Imagine if this wasn't tied to politics. Like, let's replace the DNC with Exxon, Seth Rich with an Exxon employee, perhaps secretly a vehement climate change activist, who was killed under suspicious circumstances right before a compromising leak exposing unethical conduct of the company, let's say falsifying documents to appear more "green". Imagine that despite a lack of conclusive evidence to prove it, the dominant media narrative was that Exxon's rival Shell was responsible for the leak, allegedly meant to give Shell an unfair market advantage, which conveniently turned Exxon's embarrassment into weapon to use against their competitor. I bet it would be a lot less controversial that we'd need to push to make absolutely sure that Exxon wasn't using its immense resources and power to get away with murder of a relatively powerless whistleblowing employee.

The most powerful deserve the most scrutiny because they're generally able to put a thumb on the scale and pull strings when they want to — and it's well known that it's often the most unscrupulous who gain the most power, almost by definition. And yet there's this tendency to dismiss anyone who expresses suspicion that a powerful entity may have done something nefarious as a wacky conspiracy theorist jumping to crAaAzy conclusions. No, letting the powerful off the hook without proper scrutiny –, above-average scrutiny even, given their advantages — is jumping to conclusions, and being absurdly trusting. It's pretty messed up how expressing suspicion about the very powerful has somehow been conflated in public dialogue with being convinced that UFOs used fluoride chemtrails to kill Elvis.

4. "The Fox News story this whole thing is based on was retracted. It was a hoax."

This might be the single most pernicious bit of misinformation going around. First of all, people were suspicious about the circumstances of Seth Rich's death and the "botched robbery" explanation WAY before Fox News ever covered it. Bruised face and hands, shot twice in the back, nothing stolen, "botched robbery". That never added up. DNC employee murdered 12 days before massive leak of DNC emails. Huh. Seth Rich was alive and talkative when police arrived, and yet there were no leads, or any information at all about the killer/s. Weird. Then Julian Assange named him in a response to a question about sources, and WikiLeaks offered the $20,000 reward for information leading to his murderer/s. That was already plenty to drive reasonable suspicion around his death.

But the most egregious thing about this claim that it was a retracted hoax is that most of Fox's coverage was not even retracted. The only part that was was Wheeler implying that he could independently corroborate the anonymous official's claim that there was correspondence between Seth Rich and WikiLeaks. Fox did not retract their reporting on the anonymous official's claim, or Wheeler's reporting on his own investigation, like his claims that a source in the police department said they were told to stand down, and that he was given the run-around and couldn't locate Rich's confiscated computer, where he thought the smoking-gun evidence would be. Every claim still stands unretracted, although concrete evidence is still lacking. The only thing that changed with the "retraction" is that the anonymous claim is not independently corroborated by the family's PI. That's it. If that's your idea of "debunked hoax", but "anonymous sources say Trump is literally KGB" is hard-hitting journalism, I don't know what to tell you, except work on your ability to form an independent thought.

5. "But think of the poor grieving FAMILY. They don't deserve to have their son's memory disrespected like this!"

Tell that to Brad Bauman. The family's DNC-friendly spokesperson is actively discouraging people from pushing to investigate Seth Rich's death in a case that's gone unsolved for almost year, and where there's clearly suppression of evidence going on (see my last post linked above). He's using their grief to shame people into ignoring this unsolved murder. That's despicable. They wanted answers — that's why they hired Rod Wheeler. I condemn jumping to premature conclusions for political purposes, but it is reasonable to suspect possible involvement of the DNC, which for the public good demands at least being convincingly ruled out. Even if it ultimately has nothing to do with the DNC, Rich's murder stands a much better chance of being solved if more people are paying attention to it. It's blatantly obvious that Bauman is not putting the interests of the Rich family first, and nor is anyone else who uses their grief to try to manipulate people into ignoring this case, and to especially disregard any possible involvement of the DNC, even though nothing has ruled that out.

But I'm thinking most of the people pushing these arguments already know all that — they just don't care. They seem perfectly happy to accuse political bias while acting on their own. That's my impression anyway. Please show me where I'm wrong in my reasoning. All I care about here is the truth, and making sure the powerful are not getting away with murder. If I could be convinced this was all right-wing propaganda, it would be a pretty huge load off my mind.

Submitted May 20, 2017 at 04:10PM by dancing-turtle
via reddit


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