By James F. Tracy
Yet another harbinger of corporate news media’s continued demise is evident when a familiar mainstream journalist with admitted ties to US intelligence agencies plays covert roles in the issues and events he claims to report objectively on. The case of Kurt Eichenwald suggests how the CIA’s famous Operation Mockingbird is alive and well in the twenty-first century.
On December 16, 2015 FAU administrators terminated this author on pretextual grounds. Less than 24 hours beforehand the same school officials received an inflammatory email from Newsweek‘s Kurt Eichenwald, among the internet’s most avid gun control advocates and anti-Trump crusaders who boasts of being “deeply wired into the intelligence community.”
In the query, one of thousands of emails produced by FAU during discovery, the fiercely partisan Eichenberg more than subtly pressures the FAU administration on Tracy’s public speech concerning the Sandy Hook massacre event, further suggesting that Tracy is mentally ill, guilty of criminal harassment, and may pose a legal liability to the university.
Eichenwald’s email was received by the university’s chief public affairs officer and immediately forwarded to FAU President John Kelly, General Counsel David Kian, and Provost Gary Perry. Perry forwarded the email to Associate General Counsel Lawrence Glick and Vice Provost Diane Alperin. Less than 24 hours thereafter Alperin informed this author he would be fired.
Fwd: Interview request re: James Tracy
From: Peter Hull <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: John Kelly <—–@fau.edu>, David Kian <—–@fau.edu>, Gary Perry <—–@fau.edu>
Date: Tue, 15 Dec 2015 06:25:17 -0500
And now this…
Vice President for Public Affairs
Florida Atlantic University
Begin forwarded message:
From: KURT EICHENWALD <——–@mac.com>
Date: December 14, 2015 at 10:52:19 PM EST
Subject: Interview request re: James Tracy
My name is Kurt Eichenwald and I am a senior writer with Newsweek and a contributing editor with Vanity Fair. I am currently working on an article about people in positions of authority who are advocates of bizarre conspiracy theories or advance ideas far outside the mainstream that do not appear to supported by rational evidence.
As you may know, Professor James Tracy of your school has been harassing parents whose children were slaughtered at Sandy Hook. He is suggesting that their children never existed, that they have been bribed and/or received compensation to pretend their children existed, and that – in at least once instance – a five year old killed Sandy Hook was in fact killed two years later in the Peshawar Army School shooting in Pakistan.
I have several questions that I would like to discuss with you:
1. Do any other members of the faculty or administration also advance these theories of Mr. Tracy?
2. Has any official research been conducted by anyone at the university through the use of university funds to determine that the Sandy Hook attack was fake?
3. Does President Kelly subscribe to the belief that the Sandy Hook attack did not occur?
4. As you may be aware, Mr. Tracy has been contacting parents of children killed at Sandy Hook, calling them “so-called parents” and generally harassing them. Are you aware if this has been done during school hours or while using school computers? Does this conform with policy of the school
4. Does Mr. Tracy have tenure?
5. Have there been any complaints from students, parents or other stakeholders in FAU regarding concerns about Mr. Tracy’s mental stability?
6. If neither the school nor President Kelly subscribes to the belief that Sandy Hook never occurred, is there concern on the part of the school that allowing a man who may be mentally unstable to work on campus could place students or faculty in danger?
7. Has administrators school held any discussions about the potential liability Mr. Tracy might pose if the Sandy Hook parents decide to sue the school for facilitating his harassment?
Finally, under the state open records act, I am requesting all emails sent or received by any member of the office of the president regarding Mr. Tracy since the date of the Sandy Hook attack.
I look forward to hearing from you.
In dozens of court motions, and at the TracyvFAU trial, FAU attorneys repeatedly argued that our constitutionally-protected speech had nothing to do with the abrupt termination, and that university officials acted lawfully in ending the tenured professorship. US District Court Judge Robin L. Rosenberg, appointed to the bench in 2014 by President Barack Obama, agreed with FAU and acted to exclude crucial evidence from the December 2017 trial where a misled jury found in favor of FAU.
In the time since Kurt Eichenwald prodded FAU to discipline Tracy, the Newsweek reporter has continued his anti-journalistic attacks and Twitter tantrums against public figures, evident, for example, in his accusations that then-Republican Party presidential candidate Donald Trump was a drug addict and mentally ill.
Fun fact: In 1982, Trump started taking amphetamine derivatives. Abused them. Only supposed 2 take for 25 days. Stayed on em 8 yrs. Really.
— Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) August 21, 2017
Indeed, Eichenwald’s vitriol toward conservative political stances and pro-liberal bias does not fit well with a profession that calls for reportorial discretion and objectivity. He was forced to walk back and delete some of his more blatantly slanderous anti-Trump Tweets.
Major corporate media have promoted and are perhaps even actively involved in false flag events for several years now, a practice that has only intensified with the 2012 passage of the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act. Journalists like Eichenwald who boast of their intelligence community ties easily fit in to such an environment.
In the video below, for example, Eichenwald delivers “a message I’ve got from people from the CIA [sic]” to FoxNews host Tucker Carlson and President Donald Trump.
In late 2016 Eichenwald enthusiastically promoted a politically volatile conspiracy theory that he knew was false. This was accomplished when he established the “Russian meddling in US elections” myth by seizing on and publicly distorting a reportorial error made by Sputnik journalist Bill Moran, who published an Eichenwald-authored piece found within an email between Sidney Blumenthal and Hillary Clinton submitted to Wikileaks .
“When Wikileaks released Clinton campaign chair John Podesta’s emails,” the Observer explains,
Moran misinterpreted an email, which included an article by Kurt Eichenwald copied-and-pasted into a conversation between Podesta and Clinton adviser Sidney Blumenthal. Moran, in haste to be the first journalist to publish the finding, mistakenly thought Eichenwald’s writing was Blumenthal’s. Moran published an article about Benghazi being avoidable, caught his mistake less than 20 minutes later, and subsequently deleted the article. By that point, over 1,000 people had already read it; tweets making the same claims went viral on Twitter and Trump mentioned the article’s claims in a rally later that day.
Even though Moran realized his mistake and took down the article in less than 20 minutes it had gone viral and been commented on by Trump. When the partisan Eichenwald caught wind of the error he proceeded to write an article, “Dear Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin, I am Not Sydney Blumenthal,” therewith establishing the Democratic Party’s grand conspiracy theory of a direct link between Vladimir Putin and the Trump campaign. Eichenwald went even further to bizarrely assert that the article was a planned attack between Trump and Putin against Hillary Clinton.
Eichenwald tweeting out his story 37 times is how you know it's good pic.twitter.com/Vg8G7C2DXt
— Adam H. Johnson (@adamjohnsonNYC) October 11, 2016
Moran regarded Eichenwald’s attacks as nothing short of a witch hunt. “It was the only time I ever considered suicide,” Moran explained.
Eichenwald’s smears were one of the last things my dad heard about me before he died. I had the same birthday and same name as my father and he always took pride in that and always told me to protect that name—it was the one thing of value he had to give me.
After Sputnik fired Moran for the mistake, a series of emails reveal how Eichenwald offered to find Moran a reporting job at other Washington DC-area news outlets, “ones that won’t serve to taint your reputation for the rest of your career,” the Newsweek writer warned. According to Moran, Eichenwald explained to the fired journalist in a subsequent telephone call
that the “intelligence community” was monitoring both Sputnik and a separate Twitter account, which he holds responsible for the blowback (as opposed to his own story). He went on to say that everyone at Sputnik had an intelligence file on them, and asked if Moran had made any foreign phone calls that might have raised eyebrows. He went on to imply that Moran might have issues getting a re-entry visa into America if he ever traveled abroad, and then offered to help Moran “find a real job” to extricate him from the situation. He went on to say that both Sputnik and Russia Today have been targeted by the intelligence community, and will soon be subject to sanctions that aim at shutting them down for good.
In 2017 Moran, a Georgetown Law graduate and eventual member of the Maryland bar, filed suit against IBT Media, Newsweek‘s then-parent company for defamation and libel. After several months of litigation IBT settled with Moran for an undisclosed sum. “The lawsuit was settled amicably and to my satisfaction,” Moran remarked. “After the settlement, the stories were removed, the parties agreed not to speak about the terms of the settlement, so I can’t talk to you about what the settlement entails.”
Similar to Eichenwald’s misleading deployment of Sputnik’s blunder to advance a political agenda, all under the guise of journalism, the 2015 email to FAU is the essence what plagues many journalistic institutions today–specifically the use of journalistic prestige and credentials to manipulate, coerce, and ultimately befuddle the public in the service of broader political agendas. Instances involving Eichenwald point to one or more ulterior political agendas his readers remain distanced from.
Along these lines if today’s corporate news media demonstrated a greater integrity, Eichenwald’s acknowledged affinity with US intelligence agencies alongside an apparent willingness to do their bidding might result in a collective mea culpa, followed by intense self-examination, and resounding calls for reform and renewal. The fact that such a perversion of the profession is accepted as par for the course suggests why the “fake news” moniker is so richly deserved.