A media professor at Florida Atlantic University who is questioning the Sandy Hook massacre has caused controversy with his conspiracy claims.
James Tracy, who writes a personal blog about conspiracy theories, believes the events that unfolded at Sandy Hook did not happen as reported.
The professor writes on his blog, Memory Hole, “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.” He suggests that there were multiple shooters and that the number of dead is incorrect. The blog post was published on the Global Research site, where it caught the attention of the Web.
The academic, who is known for his conspiracy theories on 9/11 and the Oklahoma bombing, believes—as he claims on his blog and recently stated on a radio show—that trained “crisis actors” may have been employed by the Obama administration to shape public opinion on gun control.
The 47-year-old, who holds a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in mass communication, wrote on his blog, “ As documents relating to the Sandy Hook shooting continue to be assessed and interpreted by independent researchers there is a growing awareness that the media coverage of the massacre of 26 children and adults was intended primarily for public consumption to further larger political ends.”
According to his faculty profile, the professor "teaches courses examining the relationship between commercial and alternative news media and socio-political issues and events." He also lists his recent work in “Censored 2013: Sourcebook for the Media Revolution. The Top Censored Stories and Media Analysis of 2011-2012."
When questioned about his theories by a local CBS12 news reporter, Tracy responded, "The whole country mourned about Sandy Hook, but yet again the investigation that journalistic institutions should have carried out never took place, in my opinion."
He added, "As a society we need to look at things more carefully. Perhaps we as a society have been conditioned to be duped."
His blog, with 222 followers, lays out his theory in detail, suggesting that it was a training exercise in which actually nobody was killed. He writes, "To declare that the shooting 'never took place' is cause for intense opprobrium in most polite circles where, in familiar Orwellian fashion, the media-induced trance and dehistoricized will to believe maintain their hold."
Speaking on behalf of Tracy, Peter Phillips, president of the Media Freedom Foundation and Project Censored, said in a statement to Yahoo News:
James Tracy isn't promoting a "conspiracy" theory regarding Sandy Hook, but rather saying the mainstream media distorts the news, and doesn't follow up on important questions. There were reports of more than one shooter in the Sandy Hook case. Tracy is not denying that it happened, but he is saying that when such events do happen it is the responsibility of the media to fully investigate all aspects of the story and not just sensationalize the tragedy.
Tracy’s employer has distanced itself from its faculty member’s remarks. Mary Jane Saunders, the president of Florida Atlantic University, said in a statement to Yahoo News that reads in part:
I am sure that many of you are aware of the recent comments by a Florida Atlantic University faculty member regarding the tragic events that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, on December 14. I want to make it clear that those views and opinions are not shared by Florida Atlantic University, and I am personally saddened by any media stories that have added to the pain felt by the victims’ families. FAU joins the entire nation and people around the world in feeling profound grief for the lives lost on that awful day.