Sunday, January 27, 2013

In Defense of James Tracy and Holding the Media Accountable on Sandy Hook

FAU professor James Tracy speaks to students about issues in higher education on November 5th, 2012.

How the Mass Media Smeared the Messenger While Discouraging Critical Thinking

So by now, people who've been following Sandy Hook know who James Tracy is—the Florida Atlantic University professor who was vilified for daring to question the official narrative of the Sandy Hook massacre on his blog. This is the part he wrote that sparked outrage and incredulity across the world:
While it sounds like an outrageous claim, one is left to inquire whether the Sandy Hook shooting ever took place—at least in the way law enforcement authorities and the nation's news media have described.
Once the mainstream media caught wind that these words were not those of a crackpot conspiracy theorist but an academic, it reacted predictably with one collective knee jerk. Instead of addressing the more cogent claims in Tracy's post, journalists fixated on and skewed the "it may not have happened" part of his theory. They equated it as Tracy saying that it didn't happen at all, virtually putting words in his mouth and compromising his position from the outset. The headline from Daily Mail, as well as the controlling idea that permeated throughout the Internet, was "Conspiracy theory professor says Sandy Hook shooting may not have happened."

But as Tracy explained in part of his statement to CNN after Anderson Cooper took personal offense, his controversial words were taken out of context by the mass media:
I apologize for any additional anguish and grief my remarks—and how they have been taken out of context and misrepresented—may have caused the families who've lost loved ones on December 14.
Following up on his newfound notoriety in an interview with InfoWars days later, Tracy made it clear that he thinks children were killed at Sandy Hook, and commented on how the media spun his story differently:
I never said anything declarative in any of my articles about "this happened." I was saying, "Could this be a possibility?" And yet the media took that and ran with it—took my assertion as an allegation, when it was merely a question. And that, unfortunately, is how this has been framed, and how I think that it's been offensive especially to the people that lost their loved ones up there in Newtown. I never actually intended that in any way, shape, or form.
The context in Tracy's original statement should be reiterated because it's exactly the part that the mass media—the same institution that Tracy's being critical of—disregarded in regarding Tracy as a heretic on the level of a Holocaust denier.

Paybacks are hell, I guess?