On January 11, 2013 CNN’s Anderson Cooper sent reporters to my campus office, and later my residence, in an effort to inquire why a professor trained in media studies and criticism would ever publicly question the corporate news media’s reportage of the Sandy Hook massacre event.
A major theme this author hit on in early 2013 was the fact that when it came to events such as Aurora or Sandy Hook, much of the journalism produced by Cooper and his superstar colleagues often left the public more confused than informed. As I have recently written, mainstream news coverage of such events wasn’t traditionally like this.
Some MHB readers will recall how I later gave Mr. Cooper a piece of my mind, imploring him to rise to the occasion and once and for all give the lie to those irksome conspiracy theorists.
“I think you’ll agree that it’s time to put these Sandy Hook ‘truthers’ to rest for good,” I told Anderson in June 2014, “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,” I continued, “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?”
Over eighteen months later I still await Anderson’s response.
The point of my letter, of course, was to call out a celebrity journalist for his profession’s consistent failure to actually report the news, and to instead partake in the sensationalism and mud-slinging that is turning more and more Americans away from the affairs of the day.
The world has been turned upside down when those with the overwhelming power to inform the public partake in subterfuge and simply lazy journalism. As of this writing Cooper is still employed by CNN. As most are aware by now, I was removed from my tenured teaching position on January 8, 2016.
I will be sending my resume to CNN shortly. After all, if Anderson refuses to accurately report the news and CNN wants to continue to take itself seriously someone has to step up to the plate.
Here’s that 2014 letter to Mr. Cooper.
June 15, 2014
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.
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.
At a January 7 “Guns in America” forum (hosted by CNN) President Obama became flummoxed attempting to echo Cooper’s 2013 observations that his administration’s severe executive actions on gun control are a “conspiracy [theory].”
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?
James F. Tracy
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