Means, motive and opportunity.

Those are the key elements of a crime detectives are trained to look for in the search for suspects.

They certainly never rule out those who know the victim, especially when robbery does not appear to be a motive.

But when the victim, in this case of murder, is the information technology specialist for a national political party consumed in an IT nightmare that could doom the chances of its presidential candidate, not interviewing co-workers is – by police standards – unthinkable.

Even more significant, when there are broad hints that thousands of emails embarrassing to the party and the presidential candidate find their way onto WikiLeaks, it is cause for suspicion.

When the leader of WikiLeaks mourns the victim on television and talks of the extreme risks involved in the work the organization does, there’s enough smoke for the FBI to step in and take control of the victim’s computer.

And when an FBI forensic report of Seth Rich’s computer – generated within 96 hours after his murder – showed he made contact with WikiLeaks through Gavin MacFadyen, a now-deceased American investigative reporter, documentary filmmaker and director of WikiLeaks who was living in London at the time, you have motive, means and opportunity.

Does all this prove anything?

No.

But it also doesn’t call for the major media to scoff at renewed interest in Rich’s death – especially when the DNC claimed, and continues to claim, the party was hacked by Russians conspiring with Hillary Clinton’s opponent in the presidential race, Donald Trump.

I don’t know about you, but I have not heard any responsible person accuse the DNC of murdering Rich. But I have heard Hillary Clinton, her campaign manager and dozens of high-ranking Democratic officials state unequivocally that the DNC was hacked by Russians in cahoots with Trump.

So, the question is: Who’s doing the conspiracy theorizing here?

That question could be directed to ABC News, CBS News, CNN, NBC News and other major media. But I’m going to direct it to the Washington Post – the biggest newspaper in the capital city where Rich was shot in the back in the streets.

Why is the paper so incredulous that questions would be asked about who killed Seth Rich?

I don’t like to link to Washington Post stories because the paper has a big scoreboard in its newsroom where staffers cheer about the stories that get the most “hits.” Besides Jeff Bezos’ deep pockets, those hits are what pay their salaries. But I’m going to make an exception here because I want people to read this story – not because it’s good journalism, but because it is textbook crap. And I say that as a former journalism instructor and former top editor at major market dailies.

The headline? “In rumors around a DNC staffer’s death, a whiff of a Clinton-era conspiracy theory.”

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Apparently, the gullible reporters and editors at the Post believe politicians are incapable of evil deeds – especially Democratic politicians. And anyone who pokes around at stories about such the murder of Seth Rich is a “conspiracy theorist.”

They include me in that category – and other independent journalists and news organizations that reported on a private investigator’s revelations about what he found when he was hired to look into the murder after a year of zero progress by the Keystone Kops of Washington, D.C.

By the way, this is the same paper quoting anonymous sources reading memos reporters have never seen while suggesting President Trump has committed impeachable offenses.

Where have the standards of the so-called “mainstream media” gone? How low have they plummeted? Have they all but vanished?

I take no pleasure at this transformation of the only industry I have ever loved. I am, after all, a refugee from the establishment press. I loved every minute of the 20 years I worked in that institution – never wanted to do anything else but be a newspaper guy.

But boy am I glad I started the independent online media revolution two decades ago.

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