Until recently, I was happily unaware that an active conspiracy theory has metastasized around the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, what can be thought of as the soot and sludge of the still-rolling ethics train wreck created by that tragedy, except that this is unfair to soot and sludge. The internet is abound with theorists, including at least one professor, who believe that the shooting was an elaborate hoax, possibly engineered by the Obama administration to facilitate gun confiscation and the repeal of the Second Amendment.
In a recent incident reported by Salon, a Newtown man who sheltered some students from the school after the shooting has been relentlessly harassed by Sandy Hook Truthers who have accused him of being part of the government plot.
Obviously, these conspiracy theorists are demented, but the increasingly polarized and biased news media has fertilized the dementia with its incompetence. If there were a trustworthy mainstream news media that had not proven itself beyond all doubt to be unethically protective of this President, sympathetic to his administration’s objectives and reluctant to report, much less investigate, incidents and scandals that might undermine the President’s influence and power, I doubt that such unhinged conspiracy theories could attract enough supporters to fill a good sized SUV. Large scale conspiracies like the Newtown theorists posit are impossible to even conceive of with a vigorous and non-partisan press doing its duty. As it is, however, the idea that a complicit, gun-hating journalistic establishment could be recruited to assist in a manufactured crisis to put the NRA on the defensive is almost plausible.
Except, of course, that it’s nuts.
Unfortunately, the absence of a vigorous, objective, non-partisan press in America creates a fertile ground for distrust, cynicism, fear and paranoia to take root.
Facts: Salon 1
Graphic: Some Canadian Skeptic