Confronted by reporters, a communications professor at Florida Atlantic University who questions the credibility of news media accounts of the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., has refused to back away
from his controversial claim that the event may have been shaped by authorities to highlight the gun-control issue.
James Tracy, a tenured adjunct professor at FAU for the last 10 years, is known for his conspiracy theories, from the Kennedy assassination, to the events surrounding 9/11, to the Oklahoma City Bombing.
In this case, Tracy suggests there were multiple shooters at the school, despite reports to the contrary, and that trained "crisis" actors may have been employed by the U.S. Government. The professor went so far as to say the News shooting didn't actually happen.
"I think that the entire country mourned about Sandy Hook," he told Boca Raton CBS News 12. "And yet, once again, the investigation that journalistic institutions should have carried out never took place, as far as I'm concerned."
Tracy says the event may have been shaped by authorities in order to redirect public discourse around a discussion of gun control.
"I think we need to, as a society, to look at things more carefully. Perhaps we as a society have been conditioned to be duped," he told CBS 12.
The fervor over Tracy's claims began when he posted blog comments that perhaps the shooting didn’t happen as the nation had learned about it, or perhaps at all.
"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," the 47-year-old professor wrote on his blog, Memory Hole.
"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," Tracy wrote.
FAU has gone on record to distance itself from Tracy’s claims.
"James Tracy does not speak for the university. The website on which his post appeared is not affiliated with FAU in any way," the university’s media director, Lisa Metcalf, told the Florida Sun-Sentinel. The school is part of the state system.
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