Foster conspiracy theorist media now promoting Foster conspiracy theorist candidate

››› ››› ERIC SCHROECK

The same right-wing media figures who promoted conspiracy theories surrounding Vince Foster's suicide are now promoting GOP Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell, who in 1996 called Foster's death a "murder" and suggested that President Bill Clinton may have been "involved in wrongdoing" in Foster's death.

O'Donnell in 1996 called Foster's suicide a "murder" and suggested Clinton "involved" in Foster's death

O'Donnell: "[W]e're not giving the case of Vincent Foster a fair trial -- when there is a lot more empirical evidence that Clinton is involved in wrongdoing." In a 1996 C-SPAN interview, O'Donnell discussed ethics investigations of then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich and stated:

O'DONNELL: I think it's very interesting that President Clinton has come on a lot more charges and a lot more serious charges than what Newt Gingrich is being charged on, yet we're not making as big of an issue, we're not forcing that he go to trial. We're not giving people like Paula Jones a fair trial, we're not giving the case of Vincent Foster a fair trial -- when there is a lot more empirical evidence that Clinton is involved in wrongdoing.

Later in the C-SPAN segment, O'Donnell referred to Foster's suicide as a "murder," stating: "[T]here's also the issue of murder with Vincent Foster. That's a much more serious charge than failing to seek legal advice, and yet we're all just blowing that off, and everybody's trying to focus on Newt Gingrich like a witch hunt."

Prior to O'Donnell's 1996 comments, Foster's death had been conclusively determined by several investigations to have been a suicide. The Office of the Independent Counsel -- then headed by Kenneth Starr -- completed its inquiry into the circumstances surrounding Foster's death with a report issued on October 11, 1997, which concluded that "based on investigation and analysis of the evidentiary record, that Mr. Foster committed suicide by gunshot in Fort Marcy Park." The Office of the Independent Counsel's report also excerpted the findings of several other investigations into Foster's death that conclusively determined that his death was a suicide - all of which were completed prior to O'Donnell's comments in 1996. These investigations included:

  • An August 10, 1993, joint report by the Department of Justice, FBI, and Park Police, in which Robert Langston, chief of the U.S. Park Police, asserted: "The condition of the scene, the medical examiner's findings and the information gathered clearly indicate that Mr. Foster committed suicide. ... Our investigation has found no evidence of foul play."
  • A June 30, 1994, report by special prosecutor Robert B. Fiske Jr., which concluded that "[t]he overwhelming weight of the evidence compels the conclusion ... that Vincent Foster committed suicide in Fort Marcy Park on July 20, 1993."
  • An August 12, 1994, report by Congressman William F. Clinger Jr., then the ranking Republican on the House Committee on Government Operations, concluding that "all available facts lead to the undeniable conclusion that Vincent W. Foster, Jr. took his own life in Fort Marcy Park, Virginia on July 20, 1993."
  • A January 3, 1995, report by the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs stating that "[t]he evidence overwhelmingly supports the conclusion of the Park Police that on July 20, 1993, Mr. Foster died in Fort Marcy Park from a self-inflicted gun shot wound to the upper palate of his mouth."

Media figures who pushed Foster conspiracy theories now promoting Foster conspiracy theorist O'Donnell

THEN: Limbaugh has repeatedly suggested Hillary Clinton ordered Foster's murder. Rush Limbaugh has repeatedly invoked right-wing conspiracy theories that the Clintons were involved in Foster's death and suggested that Hillary Clinton had Foster murdered.

NOW: Limbaugh takes credit for O'Donnell fundraising; defends O'Donnell against Rove attacks. Limbaugh stated on the September 16 edition of his radio show that after he asked everyone in his audience to give $1 to O'Donnell, "you couldn't get on [O'Donnell's] website for awhile. We crashed it. You couldn't get in." On the September 15 edition of his show, Limbaugh criticized Fox News' Karl Rove for attacking O'Donnell's "checkered background" following her primary victory.

THEN: Hannity has suggested a "massive cover up" in Foster's death. Fox News host Sean Hannity has repeatedly invoked Foster conspiracy theories, once suggesting a "massive cover up" surrounding Foster's death. For instance, on the October 19, 2009, broadcast of Hannity, Hannity hosted Mark Fuhrman, and the two discussed "the strange death of Vince Foster." Fuhrman declared that the Foster death was a "classic example of journalists sitting on their hands" and not properly investigating the story. On the July 15, 2007, edition of Fox News' Hannity's America, discussing Hillary Clinton, Hannity asserted: "[T]here are still many chapters remaining open from her time at the Rose Law Firm. Take Whitewater and the death of Vince Foster." On his July 22, 2007, Fox News show, Hannity again discussed Foster's death and asked, "Did a close friend of Hillary Clinton commit suicide or was it a massive cover up?" During the segment, Hannity also asserted that on July 20, 1993: "Vince Foster got in his car and drove to Fort Marcy Park in Virginia. And he supposedly walked through the woods, and depending on which version of the story you believe, he took his own life." He also claimed that "[i]n the minds of some," questions regarding the contents of Foster's files following his suicide "may have provided a motive for foul play."

NOW: Hannity rushes to O'Donnell's defense against Rove's critical comments about her and then, hosted her on his program. On the September 14 edition of Hannity's Fox News show, after Rove stated that O'Donnell does not "evince the characteristics of rectitude and truthfulness and sincerity and character," Hannity disagreed with Rove, stating that "I've met her, I've interviewed her a lot over the years, I've found her quite impressive. And more importantly, she is a solid conservative." Hannity also hosted O'Donnell on the September 15 edition of his Fox News show, during which she promoted her website.

THEN: Geller promoted movie that claimed Clinton administration was involved in Foster's death. Right-wing blogger Pamela Geller has repeatedly invoked Foster conspiracy theories, by embedding the conspiracy theorist movie The Death of Vince Foster: What Really Happened? on her website and by stating after the conviction of former Dick Cheney aide Scooter Libby, "Scooter Guilty [sic] is guilty and Hillary and Bill Clinton are free. Vince Foster is dead."

NOW: Geller endorses O'Donnell: She "embod[ies] the ideals and aspirations of this great nation." On May 5, Geller endorsed O'Donnell, stating that O'Donnell "embod[ies] the ideals and aspirations of this great nation" and that she has "the clarity, the spine, the morality, the logic, the intelligence and the guts to fight the scourge and decadence of the left and return our homeland back to its constitutional principles."

THEN: Kilmeade referred to Foster's death as a "murder." On the April 9 edition of his radio show, Fox News' Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade called Foster's death a "murder" and speculated that his death could be an issue if Secretary of State Clinton were nominated to the Supreme Court.

NOW: Kilmeade: O'Donnell "starting to win me over." Kilmeade said during the September 15 edition of his radio show that O'Donnell is "starting to win me over." Fox & Friends also hosted O'Donnell on September 15 for a softball interview following her primary win.

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