Tag Archives: news media

Sandy Hook Promise Rolls Out Nationwide School Surveillance Program

Multimillion Dollar Charity Aligned with US Secret Service

By James F. Tracy

Sandy Hook Promise, the multi-million dollar 501(c)3 predicated on the Sandy Hook Massacre event, is actively partnering with school districts throughout the United States to institute a nationwide, extralegal intelligence-gathering system targeting students at taxpayer-funded public schools.

The trade-marked “‘Know the Signs’ prevention programs” feature the “Say Something Anonymous Reporting System,” which encourages minor students and school staff whose institutions have partnered with Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) to divulge observational information directly to an SHP-operated “crisis center” on peers they suspect of being future “active shooters,” or who may otherwise be perceived as “at-risk of hurting themselves and others.”

SHP’s other trade-marked “violence prevention programs” include “Say Something,” “Start With Hello,” “Signs of Suicide,” and “Safety Assessment & Intervention.”

The Broward County School Board in South Florida, led by the former chief administrative officer of Chicago Public Schools Robert W. Runcie, has already signed a three year contract with SHP to implement the Say Something Reporting System across one of the largest school districts in the state.

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US News Media Targeted Professor for Questioning Sandy Hook While Failing To Do Theirs – Fake News Indeed

Via PhiBetaIota

James Tracy: In Solidarity with Alex Jones: US News Media Targeted Professor for Questioning Sandy Hook While Failing To Do Theirs – Fake News Indeed

 

Mr. President,

I am a former Associate Professor of Journalism and Media Studies at Florida Atlantic University (FAU). In early 2013, I became the target of a smear campaign led by prominent news media after I questioned coverage of the 14 December 2012 Sandy Hook massacre. The media called on FAU to fire me because of my concerns. I therefore appreciate your clear condemnation of the Mainstream Media (MSM) for “fake news” where those posing as journalists spread falsehoods and propaganda.

As a student of news narratives for nearly two decades, I observed several contradictions and anomalies in the media’s presentation of the Sandy Hook event. Following the shooting, for example, emergency response protocols were abandoned and first responders were refused entry to school grounds. Authorities apprehended an alleged gunman but placed him in the front seatof a police car.

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Annapolis Shooting: Mayor Discusses Active Shooter Simulation on National Television

Attended Drill, Spoke With Gazette Editor Minutes Before Shooting

This morning Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley pointed to the fact that there was an active shooter drill conducted by the city’s first responders less than one week before the Capital Gazette shooting, on June 22.

In a somewhat uncomfortable exchange on Fox&Friends, Annapolis’ mayor repeatedly glanced downward and stumbled through what appear to be a set of canned statements. He pointed to the fact that he conversed with the Capital Gazette‘s editor minutes before the event transpired, and further noted how he was present as the city’s police and fire departments rehearsed such a scenario one week ago.

“So many resources were thrown at this,” Buckley explained. “The fact that we had done … a drill … less than a week beforehand. And I had watched these guys come in and practice … Little did they know they would actually be doing that a week later.”

Buckley goes on to plead for mental health and gun control measures, in addition to the purported role social media (i.e. independent and uncensored information) may have played in the shooting.

These specific passages of the interview are transcribed verbatim below.

Fox&Friends: Joining us now is a mayor that probably didn’t get very much sleep last night, Gavin Buckley. Mr. Mayor sorry you’re going through this. Uh, what did you find when you got on the scene, and what could you tell our listeners and everybody—our viewers and everyone around the world, uh, what’s the latest with the shooter?

Buckley: So, uhm, we uh … I was speaking to the editor of the the Capital probably 20 minutes beforehand. That editor was not in the building when the shooter came in or he would have been dead I’m sure.

Uhm, he doesn’t go away very often. He works really hard. The journalists that lost their lives—all those journalists are like his children. He, uh, it’s going to be along time for his—him to recover.

Uh, we got the news, uh, we came straight to the scene. There were, uh, what felt like a hundred, uh, uh, em-em—emergency vehicles here.Uh, the situation was being addressed.

Th—so many resources were thrown at this. I don’t think there’s anything more but … I’m so proud of first responders, because I know, uh, that what they did saved lives.

And the fact that they got in there as fast as they did. The fact that we had done, uhm, a drill, uhm, less than a week beforehand. And I had watched these guys come in and practice. They stepped over simulated, uhm, victims, ah, headshots and, uhm, chest-shots and, and, and flesh wounds. They had to walk through—past those simulated victims, and had to go to the shooter and take the shooter down. Little did they know they would actually be doing that a week later.

Buckley repeated the usual litany of topics covered by public officials in the wake of most every mass shooting event over the past several years, while asking the public to empathize with local news outlets like the Gazette.

Buckley: We have to do something about these guys. We have to do something about mental health. We have to do something about gun control. We have to do something that stops, uh, society being so t–tightly wound.

This paper is not a left wing paper. It’s not a right wing paper. It’s a local paper that reports on local things. It reports on our kids sports teams. [It] reports on all the things that matter to us locally. There’s nothing this paper does that would offend you that much that you’d want to kill people.

Shortly thereafter Fox steered Buckley toward the alleged impact that commentary on social media has in precipitating such events.

Fox&Friends: But the thing is with the social media postings. Are you going to be part of a process that maybe reevaluates the threats that are online locally? Is there a way to do that? Is that something you’re going to focus on?

Buckley: I think it has to be, uh, definitely something we look into, because, uh, Chief Altamari’s talking about increasing resources to, uh, public safety for such things. We have to, uh, reevaluate how we, uh, prepare for these things. We have to be vigilant. We-we have to, uh, look for tell-tale signs and, you know, I think that what people, uh, uh, [are] so isolated now. They-they live in their silos and they sit in front of their screens, and they don’t get out there so you can’t tell [sic].

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Annapolis Capital Gazette Mass Shooting

City of Annapolis First Responders Drilled For Event June 22

National news media today are proving wall-to-wall coverage of an apparent mass shooting event at the offices of the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis Maryland.

NBC’s Washington DC affiliate station reports:

Five people have died and several others are “gravely injured” after a shooting Thursday at the Capital Gazette newspaper building in Annapolis, Maryland, local and federal officials say.

The names of the dead were not released immediately.

The suspected shooter is 38-year-old Jarrod Ramos, three senior law enforcement officials briefed on the matter told NBC News. Anne Arundel County police declined to provide the suspect’s name.

The suspect threatened the community newspaper on social media, police department spokesman Lt. Ryan Frashure said in a briefing Thursay night.

“This individual had some type of vendetta against the Capital newspaper, and they were specifically targeted,” he said.

The suspect is in custody, and authorities are interrogating him, officials said.

The suspect obscured his fingerprints, making it difficult to identify him, two senior law enforcement officials told NBC News. But officials were able to identify him using facial recognition software, multiple officials said. County police declined to comment on any use of those methods.

Mainstream news media employees are blaming President Trump’s criticism of “fake news media” for the event, according to the Washington Examiner,

Along these lines there are attempts to link the event to recent remarks made by political provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos.

You’re about to see a raft of news stories claiming that I am responsible for inspiring the deaths of journalists. The…

Posted by Milo Yiannopoulos on Thursday, June 28, 2018

Of course, these same corporate media outlets and personnel will keep from their readers the fact that, perhaps coincidentally, an active shooter drill took place in at St. Mary’s High School in Annapolis less than one week ago, as the Capital Gazette itself reported on its website June 22.

As MHB has repeatedly observed, in the fake news era the everyday spectator watching such a drill unfold on national television would be hard pressed to be able to distinguish between such a readiness exercise and a “real” event.

(Click to enlarge image)

In a video posted with the above report, for example, Annapolis fireman Ken White narrates the active shooter drill that took place just last week on St. Mary’s campus.

“With the increase of active shooter incidents we’re seeing we–the city has determined that it is important for us to hold this training,” White explains, “so that in the event that something may happen we’ll be well-prepared.”

Annapolis firefighters Ken White briefs Capital Gazette readers on the active shooter drill held June 22, 2018.
The City of Annapolis Police and Fire Departments held an active shooter drill June 22, 2018 at St. Mary’s High School.

A drill being held by local law enforcement and emergency response agencies has been a repeated occurrence at Annapolis and numerous mass shooting events over the past several years, indeed ever since the number of such incidents exploded under the Obama administration.

H/t Tony Mead

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Four Years Later: An Open Letter to Anderson Cooper

Editor’s Note: On June 15 2015 James Tracy sent the correspondence below to Anderson Cooper inviting the longtime CNN anchor to Newtown Connecticut in order to conduct a true journalistic investigation of the Sandy Hook massacre event. Four years later Mr. Cooper has yet to take Tracy up in his quest. 

Since the US corporate news media’s presentation of Sandy Hook solely involved parroting the official government narrative, still leaving so many questions unanswered and information overlooked, we’re hoping that Cooper will finally do the right thing. 

By James F. Tracy

June 15, 2014

Anderson Cooper
C/O CNN
10 Columbus Circle
New York, New York 10019

Dear Mr. Cooper,

Seventeen months have passed since you featured me on your AC 360° program on consecutive evenings to call attention to my commentary and analysis of the December 14, 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. As you may recall, in the prelude to those January 11th and 14th 2013 broadcasts you sent a production crew to my place of employment that proceeded to pursue staff and administrators on my whereabouts.

[The record of Anderson Cooper’s January 2013 on-air attack of former FAU Professor James Tracy has been expunged from YouTube. The clip below is provided as a replacement of that video.]

Your staff then repeatedly telephoned my residence, later filming in front of my home and disclosing my address to a national audience without my knowledge or consent. This behavior jeopardized my family’s safety and peace of mind, and included a flurry of threatening and abusive communications directed at me. Further, some observers presumed that CNN and other national news media sought to create sufficient controversy that would lead to the termination of my employment. On the other hand, I understand how you may have perceived this as an act of due journalistic diligence rather than coercion.

Further, if at the time ample proof existed that the Sandy Hook massacre was genuine I think you may have been at least partially justified in such activity. Yet in the time since little evidence has emerged to uphold the notion that the event took place as it had been reported by CNN and other news outlets. In fact, the opinion of many independent experts and a wealth of data point to highly questionable elements of the Sandy Hook narrative that require rigorous interrogation through the intrepid investigative reportage of journalists such as you.

Anderson (if I may), that’s why I challenge you to join me on a reportorial quest to Newtown and Sandy Hook in order to revisit and rigorously question the painful affair that still rests so uneasily on the public conscience—one that is called up in memory with each report of another school shooting. Together let us ferret out and present the relevant information, interview the necessary parties, and get to the bottom of what transpired so that we can put the conspiracy theories to rest!

Anderson (again, if I may), this could very well be a landmark event in investigative journalism. If after a thorough investigation we prove that the event in fact took place as CNN and other major media reported, I will concede that you were in fact correct and seriously consider resigning my post in academe.

On the other hand, if we find holes in the official narrative this may in fact be a scandal requiring journalistic performance on par with the paragon set by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein over 40 years ago. It will call for—indeed require—the public service of news professionals like you to find out what really happened and bring the culprits to justice! Anderson, at the end of the day it’s just like you say each evening: we truly need to “keep them honest.”

Yet there are some who say that CNN and, I’m sorry to say, even you may have been in on what they call a “hoax.” These suspicious minds say that some of your reportage from Newtown in the wake of the shooting was “greenscreened.” Others point to the time you spent in the Central Intelligence Agency and subsequent involvement in student and activist groups of several foreign countries. Still others bring up CNN’s sometime questionable coverage of major historical events, such as the Persian Gulf and Iraq Wars.

I say “Hooey!” There are many fine young men from extraordinary wealth and privilege yet limited experience or career prospects who serve in our national intelligence services. These include the nation’s 41st president, George H. W. Bush, in addition to littérateurs such as Cord Meyer. In fact, for over fifty years some of our nation’s finest journalists and political leaders have either served overtly with or maintained ties to the intelligence community. Anderson, both you and I know that serving your country is nothing to be ashamed of.

I think you’ll agree that it’s time to put these Sandy Hook “truthers” to rest for good, thereby allowing the Sandy Hook victims’ families to find comfort in the millions of dollars in donations they have received from sincere and goodhearted Americans.

Anderson, let’s reexamine Sandy Hook together to confirm our own professional integrity, while at the same time striking a potential blow at corruption and deceit. Our conscience requires it. Our nation demands it. Won’t you join me?

Yours,

(signed)

James F. Tracy

SENT USPS CERTIFIED MAIL 7013 2250 0002 2334 3915

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Fixing the News: Blockchain-Powered Solutions for Media in Crisis

Editor’s Note: Does blockchain technology offer a potential solution to often misleading, censorial, and even fraudulent corporate news media that plagues the Western world? As the author notes in his conclusion, such projects may seem far-fetched at present, yet it was not that long ago that few believed Wikipedia would ever gain traction. Today’s real news and analyses are coming from citizen journalists who remain vulnerable to YouTube, Google, and social media gatekeepers. What if they were given the means to form their own “ecosystems” for news and commentary?

“Creating comprehensive community-powered marketplaces for production, distribution, and verification of news”

Kirill Bryanov
CoinTelegraph
(May 19, 2018)

In the US and around the world, quality journalism is going through difficult times. Against the backdrop of steadily declining trust in the mainstream press, systemic issues like the ever-intensifying political polarization of the media, proliferation of fake news, and asymmetric power relations between platforms and publishers, among others, stand in the way of the press striving to fulfill its crucial societal functions. The central role of the media in the society is, at least normatively, to provide the public with essential knowledge of the state of the world that would enable people to make informed choices. In a democracy, both institutional and social media are also supposed to facilitate an open arena for public discussion and deliberation where the wide array of voices and ideas are represented. However, the reality seems to be drifting away from this ideal in dramatic ways.

A longstanding critical tradition has an extensive list of claims to lay to the US media system’s structural deficiencies. Even in the pre-digital era, some scholars of communication were uneasy with the growing concentration of corporate ownership in media industries, seeing this trend as threatening the democratic process. Proponents of this intellectual current advocated for as wide a distribution of communication power as possible as a safeguard against power abuse at the hands of big corporate and state actors. The advent of digital news has seen yet another wave of similar criticisms, as it had soon become apparent that, contrary to early internet enthusiasts’ expectations, the new media ecosystem does not quite eliminate the disparities in communication power. Instead, it seemed to be reproducing the old patterns of power concentration, as well as giving rise to some new problematic trends.

Most of the contemporary media criticisms converge around one point: the digital news economy. The ad-based online business model often proves to be inadequate for sustaining certain forms of journalism that rely on specific and narrow audiences for financial backing. These forms happen to be the ones of social importance, like local news or investigative and issue reporting. Labelled the “attention economy,” the incentive system that social media news feeds have engendered rewards content that attracts eyeballs and generates clicks. Facebook and Google, which derive the bulk of their profits from selling targeted ads, have apparent reasons to stimulate as long user engagement with content as possible. Here’s where algorithmic newsfeeds come in handy, facilitating users’ selective exposure to content they will likely enjoy. Extrapolated to the political arena, this logic results in people getting locked up in ideological information bubbles, where partisan views become amplified and biases get confirmed. These bubbles also provide fertile soil for the spread of politically charged misinformation.

Aspiring media reformers have proposed multiple cures to these maladies. Among alternative models are philanthropic foundation-supported nonprofits, issue-specific donation-funded media outlets, and various forms of collaborative citizen journalism. Albeit sustainable in certain contexts, such solutions have so far failed to demonstrate flexibility and scalability needed to achieve any degree of mainstream adoption. Besides, these models mainly rely on goodwill of those people whose motivations are purely altruistic, which makes it difficult to ensure a steady flow of contributions.

A handful of blockchain-driven media startups that aspire to revolutionize the news economy are different in this important sense. They hope to not just draw in people longing for good journalism, but also provide them with economic incentives to contribute their efforts to sustaining the ecosystem for substantive news. Using the versatile incentive-building tools made available by crypto economy, combined with game-theoretic behavioral modelling and principles of decentralized governance, these projects aim at nothing less than creating comprehensive community-powered marketplaces for production, distribution, and verification of news.

A defining feature of each of these platforms is that they are all powered by the principles of the token economy. Unlike traditional fiat currencies or even a general-purpose cryptocurrency that could be used for any manner of transaction, crypto tokens are usually designed in a way that programmatically restricts the range of their uses to a certain set of roles and functions within a given system. Tokens therefore reflect the purposes and values of a certain platform, and can be used in order to align the economic interests of its individual users with the interests of the community at large. As a vehicle for transactions, such tokens are no longer a content-neutral instrument that simply enables transmission of information or value; rather, they entail the shared interests and values of those who subscribed to use them within a specific economic ecosystem.

Within the broader ecosystem of emerging blockchain-powered media startups, there is a wealth of platforms that use crypto-economic models to redefine the system of monetary exchanges between creators and consumers of information goods. The most common focus is on user-generated content and the ways in which regular folks in social media contexts are rewarded for their work: some examples include Steemit, Sapien, or Po.et, to name a few. The following review, however, focuses on a more specific set of projects, which explicitly address some problematic institutional aspects of the current news media system. As such, the projects in the list recognize the independent social value of news, and offer fixes that are designed to produce a better informed public.

More…

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The CIA and the Media: Historical Fact #94

A lengthy prosecution of teachers and owners of the Manhattan Beach California-based Virginia McMartin Preschool for sexual abuse allegations dominated news headlines and broadcasts throughout the 1980s. An initial investigation involving interviews with hundreds of McMartin students by an experienced child therapist found a majority of students affirming such abuse.

Despite abundant evidence and blanket media coverage the defendants were acquitted in 1990 after six years of trial proceedings costing $15 million. Defendant Raymond Buckey was retried shortly thereafter and again exonerated.

The observations of students included a number of tunnels existing underneath McMartin classrooms and bathrooms connecting to external exits, through which students passed to be taken to other locations where they attended and partook in occult rituals. Following the McMartin students’ allegations reports of similar abuse began to emerge at preschools throughout the US.

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