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Petition: “Hold FOX 5 DC Accountable for Irresponsible Seth Rich Reporting”

by Prince Of Petworth May 19, 2017 at 12:30 pm 42 Comments

Thanks to Michael for passing on the petition: Hold FOX 5 DC Accountable for Irresponsible Seth Rich Reporting. As of 10am there were over 1,000 signatories.

Dear FOX 5 DC Advertiser,

By advertising with Fox 5 DC (WTTG) you are supporting irresponsible reporting that is harming our community.

In July 2016, 27-year old Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich was brutally murdered on his way home. Since his death, far-right conspiracy theorists have tormented the Rich family.

This week, reporter Fox 5’s Marina Maracco published a report claiming that Seth was in contact with Wikileaks in the days preceding his murder.

According to National Public Radio: “There is no hard evidence that is true. In fact, further reporting has blown large holes in Fox 5 DC’s Monday report.”

Maracco, failed to confirm their story with the DC Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation or even the Rich family. The Fox5DC story has been debunked – and yet the station stands by their unsubstantiated report.

The Rich family has called for it to be retracted and those responsible for its publication to be held accountable. We agree, and hope you do too.

We call on you to stand with our community and pull all advertising from Fox 5 DC until they hold Ms. Maracco and her superiors, including News Director Paul McGonagle and Assistant News Director Kyle Carmean accountable for their actions.

Until then, I will not patronize your business and will call on my friends, family and neighbors to do the same.


Concerned Citizens of the Washington, D.C. Metro Area

Yesterday Fox5 added an Editor’s Note above their original story.

To make matters worse:

  • lizcolleena

    Seems like a longshot, but good luck.

    Koons Auto
    Giant Supermarkets
    PennFed Credit Union
    RCN Cable
    Pohanka Honda
    America’s Best Eyeglasses
    University of Maryland University College (UMUC)
    Long Roofing
    Quality Care for Men
    MGM Casino

  • stacksp

    The story was reported that way nationally from Fox 5 to Daily Mail. I am not sure what retracting the statement and someone being “accountable” actually gets you in this instance. The family hired a private investigator and can clear up any misinformation. No one needs to fired over this. She reported what was being nationally reported.

    • Mike

      Stacksp – Fox5 didn’t passively report what was being reported elsewhere, it’s their wildly inaccurate and unsubstantiated reporting that led to it becoming an international story. The station should be held responsible for their irresponsible actions that are hurting our family and harming our community.

    • Ed. Note: When replying to stacksp please try not to curse too much.

      • B

        OMG! PoP, you win the Internet today. Since I can’t respond to stacksp without cursing, I will just leave it at that.

    • Anonymous

      Isn’t the family looking at suing the PI for breach of contract by discussing the case with media outlets? Still I believe that once someone embodies the feelings of what the OP has- retraction or not will always leave a bitter taste.

    • Bobert

      stacks – I don’t think you understand what transpired here. You couldn’t be more wrong.

      • stacksp

        Perhaps I am wrong. It would not be the first time. I am human. I did not give much credence to some of the reporting as it ties back to the DNC etc and viewed it all as speculatory at best. I never assumed any of some of those conspiracy theories were deemed valid. I perceived the situation as an ongoing investigation.

        • Anon

          Ya know, you don’t have to post a comment like you did when you don’t know the facts. (And I think it is reasonably inferable from the original post that the local story was the source of the national reporting.)

  • CapitalDame

    Wish I could sign this 100 times over. Used to be my favorite local news, but after watching them laugh and play the x-files theme song while discussing Seth’s murder I will never watch again. Completely disrespectful. I get that the media are giddy to discuss anything other than what a dumpster fire Donald Trump’s administration is, but show some respect for Seth and his family.

    • Bloomy

      wow – didn’t realize they did that.

  • CapHill

    This is Pizzagate all over again. It has to end now.

  • LosLobos

    Hannity has been using this story to discredit the Comey’s FBI. Now he can cite this (and other) uninformed reports as legitimate news organizations that have reported this conspiracy as fact.

  • ST21

    I mean this was clearly a tragedy and it’s hard to fathom that there are no leads. But sorry, petitioning FOX to be “held accountable” is ridiculous… Can you imagine if we petitioned every news station to be “held accountable”?? It would consume our lives. The media in general has lost all accountability- both liberal and conservative news outlets, btw. CNN, FOX, MSNBC, etc… It’s all just a big shi*tshow right now so singling out FOX and “petitioning” is absurd. I know this blog is liberal, as are the commenters, but c’mon.. kind of a ridiculous thing to petition.

    • ST21

      Then again- maybe I’m uninformed. I gotta be honest- I’ve completely tuned out the news and media with all this BS. It’s pretty liberating.

      • anon

        Yes you are uninformed about this case. Ignoring the media does nothing to hold them accountable. This Fox 5 story is propagating completely unsubstantiated rumors and wild conspiracy theories that have been tormenting the family and friends of a murder victim. You’ve chosen to be blissfully ignorant about the Comet Pizza conspiracy theories – well, lucky that you weren’t one of the people who there when a gullible and deranged person opened fire in the restaurant. This petition to hold the media accountable for what they report is an attempt to keep something like that from happening again.

    • Seriously! That bullet that was shot in Comet Pizza didn’t even hit anyone!!

      • ST21

        The Comet Pizza thing was so bizarre that I didn’t even bother to read up on it too much. Obviously it was a bunch of nut jobs working each other up on internet forums, which lead to an extreme nut job carrying out a twisted plan. But did any “credible” news outlets actually promote a “pizzagate” conspiracy theory? I must have missed it if they did but I was under the impression this was a far right crazy dude thing- not the media. As I said in my comment, maybe I’m uninformed about what FOX reported but don’t we see media outlets picking up and running with unsubstantiated reports all the time now? Real journalism and news coverage is hard to find. All I’m saying is that if we had to petition for every media outlet to be held accountable then we’d be creating new petitions non stop. Once again, not sure exactly what the OP is referring to with the FOX report. Don’t mean to offend anyone.

        • B

          Sorry, ST21, but I think your comment re: the media losing credibility – and lumping FOX in with CNN and MSNBC – is actually the problem. We are talking about reports on FOX, Breitbart, and other outlets that repeatedly distribute FALSE accounts framed as “news”. Sadly, these outlets have allowed folks like you to then simply dismiss all news (often news they don’t want to agree with). Yes, CNN, the Washington Post, and many other news outlets have certain biases – but they typically follow certain journalistic standards. I often check in on these right news sites (and sadly have FB friends that reference the stories). This Seth Rich story (and Comet Ping Pong before it), were HUGE stories on those sites. Yes, we should be putting pressure in any way we can to make them stop spreading falsehoods. No one can point to similarly FALSE stories on CNN or MSNBC – so stop dismissing ALL news as having credibility issues. In my view, this is how we ended up with our current president.

          • ST21

            @B .. Fair enough. Breitbart isn’t “credible” to me and I can honestly say I’ve never looked at their website. But CNN and MSNBC, in addition to FOX, definitely give hot takes on flimsy stories all the time. I think most news outlets really do have credibility issues. I mean you have Brian Williams straight up lying about being involved with stories or situations that he was nowhere near. Obviously that blew up in his face years later but that still happened.. on NBC.. Journalists seemed more concerned about breaking a story “first” rather than thorough investigation and background checking before publishing anything. People are so quick on the twitter fingers now because they want to break something. Happens all the time. As for facebook? I deleted my account years ago because I could not care less about what my Aunt Judy thinks about politics.

          • Mamasan

            You mean like how those news outlets reported falsely and/or irresponsibly for months during/leading up to the election? MSNBC, under the control of Comcast, has shifted from a once valuable network providing important insight from progressive shows and hosts into something that often rivals Fox News in its corporate worship and liberal criticisms. All Mainstream media outlets should be held equally accountable.

          • kanon

            +1 gazillion. Also, the WAPO/NYT/MSNBC etc are killing it right now with their reporting.

          • INWDC

            In response to kanon, I disagree with the NYT/WAPO “killing it” …I’d say the NYT’s reporting does appear a little more balanced and rational, while the WAPO feels like a buzzfeed clickbait fest. I agree with ST21 that most major news outlets are basically just liberal or conservatives versions of the same shitty reporting. For me, the only place I feel I can consume qualitative news that doesn’t have some breathless reporter talking in a pearl-clutching tone is on PBS’s newshour ( or in written form from something like The Economist). NYT is still better than most, but I think they are falling victim to the clickbait crap that has infected so much of the news world (and let’s not kid ourselves by calling it journalism).

      • lizcolleena


      • jonah

        Wait, PoPville is a liberal blog? I am leaving until the next Wawa post.

    • Leeran

      This is a terrible take. There’s no comparison here between what Fox 5 has done and outlets like CNN and MSNBC.

      The Fox 5 reporter blatantly made up a connection between Seth and Wikileaks and the station hasn’t retracted it — it’s completely reasonable to try to protest that. Their fake story has been peddled by Fox News national several times this week, and other right-wing outlets. Think of the poor guy’s family…

    • Margrave of Mt. Vernon

      So your problem is that getting decent news would be too difficult and time consuming? “Oh lord, the petitions, who has time for that?”

      Enjoy your participation trophy in civics.

    • Actually I CAN imagine “if we petitioned every news station to be “held accountable!!!” That is exactly what citizens are supposed to do. Commercial businesses depend on advertising. Email them and tell them you will never support advertiser XYZ as long as they continue to publish garbage.

  • Reality

    I’m sick of these desperate right-wing conspiracy theories that attack businesses and families. Pizza restaurants and families should not suffer because random internet trolls get their jollies out of making up stories with the intent to hurt. Desperate attempt to keep eyes off real stories, like the collapsing Trump administration.

  • Duponter

    I love the idea that the Clintons are so smart and capable of committing multiple murders over the years, but twice now couldn’t use that power to rig an election in Hillary’s favor.

    It’s just more nonsense that people spew to try to make the Clintons seem evil while ignoring the fact if they were that good at being evil, they’d have probably figured out how to get Hillary into the White House by now. I’m very glad we elected Trump so that the White House could be scandal free! Good job, America!

    • anon

      Like how they got 3 million people to vote illegally, but failed to put any of them in a swing state….

    • Q


  • bruno

    So who/what is behind the murder? Seems it’s unresolved. Also, bad word choice putting this in such a bulletin: “….further reporting has blown large holes…” Yikes.

    • Q

      Uh, crime? When you hear hoof beats, think horse, not zebra.

  • Greg

    I’ve seen those ads all over Bloomingdale and LeDroit Park. In his memory and for his families sake I have thought about just ripping them down but feel like that could be considered disrespectful. Any thoughts?

    • eva

      Why would it be disrespectful that the proper authorities (the police) are doing what they can to publicize the case and try to motivate witnesses to come forward?

      There is an unsolved homicide in my neighborhood from 2013 and we still have these signs around. I am glad they are there because I am hopeful that the family will eventually see justice and closure.

    • Bobert

      MPD-supplied ads are not the problem.

      • bruno

        His family lives in Minnesota.

    • mousanony

      Greg raises a legit question because these are not the MPD flyers. If you look at the 2nd from the bottom grouping of text, you can see it mentions the GOP lobbyist Jack Burkman’s $100K reward in addition to the $25K MPD reward. Here is the link to the official MPD flyer: https://mpdc.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/mpdc/publication/attachments/rich_seth.pdf

  • John G

    Without seeming lazy…is there anyone who can provide a semi-comprehensive list of advertisers for Fox5? While the report certainly was carried nationally, I’d prefer to focus on local sponsors…and its not always easy to discern the difference.

    • Q

      Too lazy to scroll up to the list provided in the first comment?

  • Colleague of Seth’s

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