On June 12, police in Alabama discovered Birmingham TV news anchor Christopher Sign dead in his home at 45 years of age from an apparent suicide.
Under normal circumstances, Sign’s death would have remained a local tragedy. But it’s taken on national importance in the right-wing rumor mill after conservative media personalities and a member of Congress saw an opportunity to exploit Sign’s death by suggesting he had been murdered at the orders of the Clinton family.
Now Sign has been added to the fictitious “Clinton body count” alongside Seth Rich, the Democratic National Committee staffer whose still-unsolved 2016 murder in Washington, D.C., is believed by police to be the result of a botched robbery. Fox News personalities like Sean Hannity seized on Rich’s death to suggest he was somehow involved in the release of Democratic emails obtained by WikiLeaks—a claim that was quickly discredited, and resulted in a confidential Fox News settlement with Rich’s family.
But while the conspiracy theories about Rich percolated for months on obscure forums and hoax news sites before making it to mainstream right-wing media, Sign’s death was immediately seized on by major conservative figures, including a congresswoman and national talk radio hosts.
Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), who praised the QAnon conspiracy theory during her campaign, was one of the first major Republican figures to suggest Sign was murdered by the Clintons.
“Why is it that so many who cross the Clinton Crime Syndicate end up dead?” Boebert tweeted on June 13, attaching video of a Sign appearance on Fox News in 2020.
As a local TV news reporter in Arizona, Sign broke the news in 2016 that Bill Clinton met secretly with then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch on the tarmac at the Phoenix airport. While Lynch claimed she had mostly just talked to Clinton about traveling and his grandchildren, the meeting drew attention because it came during a Justice Department investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server.
In a 2020 Fox & Friends appearance to promote his book about the meeting, Sign claimed that he had received death threats as a result of his reporting.
Police in Hoover, Alabama, where Sign’s body was found, didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Speculation about Sign’s death has taken off on conservative talk radio, where host Dan Bongino also suggested the Clintons could have somehow been involved in Sign’s death.
“Could this story have a perfectly normal, albeit tragic, explanation?” Bongino asked in a June 14 broadcast of his show. “It could. Anyone claiming otherwise should produce evidence. But I am suggesting it’s getting quite odd, isn’t it? People in the Clintons’ circle—it’s strange.”
In a segment on Sign’s death, talk radio host Charlie Kirk read out a list of other supposed victims of the “Clinton body count” and suggested
“If you have any information about the Clintons, I recommend you get a bodyguard,” Kirk said.
Pro-Trump cable news channel One America News went perhaps furthest of all after Sign died, suggesting that Sign’s death was somehow tied to wealthy sex offender Jeffrey Epstein’s 2019 jailhouse death. As an OAN narrator discussed Sign’s death in a voiceover, the network showed pictures of Bill Clinton with Epstein, claiming that Sign was the latest person with ties to the Clintons to die “under mysterious circumstances.”
“Sign’s death follows a line of people who were seen as dangerous to the Clintons and died, including Jeffrey Epstein,” the narrator of the OAN segment said.
The idea that Bill and Hillary Clinton are master assassins, directing teams of hit men that have left dozens of people tangentially connected to them dead, has persisted since the 1990s. In stories related on chain emails and hoax websites, anyone with damaging information on the Clintons risks being “Arkancided”—executed on the Clintons’ order.
Brooke Binkowski, the managing editor of fact-checking website “Truth or Fiction” and the former managing editor of Snopes, said stories puncturing the Clinton body count smears were consistently the most popular articles on the debunking sites where she has worked—a mark of how widespread the conspiracy theories had spread.
“I think the Clintons in general are ideal for the conspiracy theorists of the world because of their power and influence,” Binkowski told The Daily Beast. “They get folded into the Illuminati conspiracy theory and give the haters political direction. Hillary Clinton, in particular, is a perfect person for the world’s misogynists to focus on.”