By Jessica Bernstein and Hanna Hoffman

Ever since Seth Rich re-emerged onto the world stage there’s been a mad scramble by mainstream media to assassinate the story before it’s forever captured on the grainy historical tape of our collective consciousness. Buzzwords like “conspiracy theory” and “fake news” have been sprinkled like fairy dust over this unsolved murder to make it magically disappear into the X-files of other Michael Hastings-like mysteries. Democrats and Republicans have come together in an unusual show of bipartisan support to drown the story just as it was coming up for air.

The few who have dared raise questions are still recovering from the ether-stained rags shoved down their throats in the frantic frenzy of the establishment gag order. Republican Rep. Blake Farenhold – who did not even mention the words “Seth Rich” when saying the case was worthy of a congressional investigation – immediately brought the CNN anchors down on his head before he knew what hit him. Sean Hannity was mugged in broad daylight on his way back from interviewing the detective.

“Dishonoring the family” are the scarlet letters painted on the backs of anyone raising questions about this DNC staffer who was shot steps away from his home without even the most feeble attempt to make it look like a “botched robbery.” Meanwhile, the DNC has yet to offer a reward for details about his death, and their way of “honoring” Rich was to dedicate a bike rack in his memory.

As we celebrated Memorial Day, the Rich case brought Pearl Harbor to mind. It’s as if we are all sitting ducks as “they” attack us from every direction and with every weapon they’ve got, sowing fear and despondency every which way. Yet here we are, talking about honor, when the intent is obviously to kill off every semblance of free thought.

Progressives used to take pride in being critical thinkers. It’s how they distinguished themselves from Republicans. But concepts like “honor,” “morality,” “democracy” and “justice” have now become dirty words as they’ve been rebranded into phrases like “conspiracy theory.”

The silence of Republicans – the very ones who could not stop slinging mud at Obama and Hillary – now that they could bring down the entire Democratic apparatus, is strangely conspicuous. An even bigger mystery is Trump. He could take the air from the tires of the Russia “collusion” story overnight, just by appointing a special investigator to examine the Seth Rich death. So why doesn’t he? Are they all just holding hands with the “Deep State,” doing the circle dance through the hall of mirrors?

Perhaps most troubling is that even alternative media have been hard-pressed to cover this case. Only a handful of the usual suspects with smaller followings have been beating the drums. For those already taking risks to report government corruption, bringing light to the murder of a possible DNC leaker might be a little too close to home. Others may want to avoid being tarnished with the “conspiracy theorist” yellow badges mainstream media are so eager to distribute.

Somewhere, some people are having a belly laugh at our expense. While grass-roots activists shake their fists and sign petitions, the bad guys are erasing things from the Internet and erasing some people who get in the way.

Nevertheless, questions about this murder are seething beneath the fragile facade, promising to resurrect Seth’s case through organizations like Judicial Watch, which has already filed several Freedom of Information Act requests. “You can trust Judicial Watch to get to the bottom of this,” says the group that relentlessly pursued the Hillary Clinton email scandal.

Regardless of the findings of Judicial Watch, the campaign to silence this story is emblematic of a growing movement to shame citizens into submission. The murder of Rich cannot be left to die in the vault where other unanswered questions linger in the dark corners of our country’s history. It’s time for Democrats and Republicans to demand answers.

WND is one news agency determined to get to the truth about the Seth Rich murder. It has launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for three purposes – to put more resources into investigative reporting, to hire an independent private investigator and to provide rewards for new evidence that leads to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator.

Jessica Bernstein, Psy.D., is a freelance writer who has been published in the Los Angeles Times and has had several cover articles in Truthout, Counterpunch and Diabetes Health magazine. She has produced a prime-time series on KPFA radio and is producing a documentary called “Blood and Honey.”

Hanna Hoffman is a scientist, now retired, living in the state of Texas, with a keen interest in progressive politics, economics and technology issues. She has been published in Counterpunch and a wide variety of scientific publications.

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