Fraud. An intentional perversion of truth for the purpose of inducing another in reliance upon it to part with some valuable thing belonging to him or to surrender a legal right; Anything calculated to deceive, whether by a single act or combination, or by suppression of truth, or suggestion of what is false, whether it be by direct falsehood or innuendo, by speech or silence, word of mouth, or look or gesture.-Black’s Law Dictionary, 6th Edition
Three years ago the public learned of the most significant mass shooting in recent US history involving the deaths of 20 young school children and seven adults. As a father of three I immediately empathized with the parents, reminding myself there was no real way to fathom the sense of loss such an experience must involve.
After several days of reflection, however, my instincts as a media analyst took charge. In reviewing news coverage of the Sandy Hook School massacre I began to recognize very unusual features in the alleged forensics, the emergency response and the overall way the event was being reported.
Commonplace emergency protocols were abandoned. There was no surge of EMTs into the building, no proper triage protocol employed or Med-Evac helicopters called. Parents were not even allowed to view and hold the bodies of their deceased children, and law enforcementoddly admonished those who questioned the official narrative online were subject to criminal prosecution.
When I chose to publicly share my analyses and suggest that the event was being inaccurately reported and seized upon by politicians to implement long-sought agendas I was attacked and labelled a “conspiracy theorist.”
This media frenzy (here and here) developed into a campaign to embarrass my university employer into firing me. My continued research on this topic has developed into a scholarly project that the institution of tenure was intended to protect. But how could one ever dare propose such subject matter?
Beginning in the 1960s women and racial minorities who secured a toehold in the academy used their tenure to address controversial topics that drew fire from conservative administrators and trustees. Unfortunately this tradition of radical inquiry has evolved into a stultifying, almost Victorian ethos of political correctness that often precludes honest exchange, sees oppression where none exists, and makes tenure a charade. It also renders profane the idea of questioning the motives of America’s first black president and attorney general.
In the December 10, 2015 online edition of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel Leonid “Lenny” and Veronique Pozner mounted a vicious attack that sought to intimidate my employer into removing my tenure and depriving me of my livelihood because of the questions I’ve raised concerning the Sandy Hook event and confirmation of Mr. Pozner’s unusually tenacious and profuse copyright claims.
Normally an endeavor targeting an individual’s primary asset would take shape as a lawsuit where proper discovery and judicial procedures might be adhered to. The recent 425-page volume of research on the Sandy Hook eventcompiled by six professors (including myself) would constitute for the Pozners a tremendous burden of going forward. They have thus once again chosen the low road of playing upon the prejudices of decent, good-hearted yet often poorly-informed Americans.
Along these lines, in June 2014 I sent CNN’s Anderson Cooper, who similarly attacked me on national television for questioning the state-sanctioned Sandy Hook narrative, anopen letter to join me in a trip to Newtown so that we could together reexamine the facts underlying the horrific tragedy he played a major part in covering. I emphasized that such a scoop could be tantamount to the next Watergate, and if he could satisfactorily put to rest my skepticism I would seriously consider resigning my academic post.
To this day my request has gone unanswered. Perhaps like me, Mr. Cooper knows that Newtown and Connecticut officials have failed to fulfill a multitude of public records requests which would readily confirm the nightmare Cooper and his media colleagues related as fact three years ago.
In a geographically vast country where imagery and emotion reign supreme, where fact is often replaced by unsubstantiated claims and hearsay, the eventual result will likely involve mass fraud leading to a severe loss of our freedoms, perhaps eventual tyranny, as de Tocqueville suggested following his tour of America almost two centuries ago.
Today more than ever citizens would be well served to recognize that much of what they are left to witness via mass media requires serious interrogation, possible only through a consistent regimen of intellectual self defense. This makes good reporters and worthwhile journalism. If that is an outmoded ideal and a skill that can no longer be practiced or taught to young adults I stand guilty as charged.