Debunking the Sandy Hook Debunkers
During the age of Obama, the major media have gone fully AWOL. If they fear that their reporting will lead to inconvenient discoveries, they simply stop their advance, lay down their notebooks, and disappear. This trend began in the Clinton years and picked up momentum after the 1994 electoral debacle, but the Clintons at least worried that the media might turn on them.
If Barack Obama ever had any such anxiety, the nonreporting on Fast and Furious, Benghazi and now Sandy Hook has had to reassure him. Sandy Hook is particularly disturbing because the truth is, or at least should have been, so accessible. This tragedy should never have spawned anything like a conspiracy theory, but it obviously has.
Protecting the major media's flank during retreat are many and sundry well-funded leftist blogs -- Huffington Post, The Daily Kos, Media Matters, and TPM among others. While the major media withdraw, the blogs attack those who might challenge the "narrative" the majors have left behind.
A case in point is a recent multi-media Huffington Post piece titled "Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theory Video Debunked By Experts." In the video intro, HuffPo editor Meredith Bennett-Smith laughingly dismisses the various alternate theories of what transpired at Sandy Hook. Says Bennett-Smith, "That is what conspiracy theorists love to do. They put out a lot of questions, but they don't necessarily provide a lot of answers." When there is a Democrat in the White House, alas, anyone who asks a question becomes a conspiracy theorist.
Like too many alleged fact checkers, Bennett-Smith addresses only the least significant of the challenges to the Sandy Hook narrative: the alleged use of crisis actors, the memorials that predated the shooting, the confusion about what weapon was in Adam Lanza's trunk. The "experts" she promises in the headline turn out to be other Obama-friendly fact checkers like David Mikkelson, founder of Snopes, and Robert Blaskiewicz, editor of a comparable blog called Skeptical Humanities. Absent in the piece is anyone who knows anything about guns or police work.
Predictably, what the HuffPo piece does not address are the two most troubling inconsistencies in the Sandy Hook reporting: the nature of the guns used and the presence or absence of a second shooter. Both questions have gained importance because of the White House's obvious political exploitation of a ginned up "assault weapon" hysteria.
As to the guns, on December 15, one day after the shooting, NBC's chief justice correspondent Pete Williams spoke with Today Show host Matt Lauer. Williams shared "new information" from a "couple of federal officials and state officials." Said Williams, "They say now that there were actually four handguns recovered inside the school, not just two as we were initially told; four handguns and apparently only handguns that were taken into the school." (Italics mine)
Williams said that Lanza also brought an "assault style, AR-15 style rifle" with him to school, but, he added, "We have been told by several officials that he left that in the car." In the days that followed, the story would shift to the AR-15, not as the exclusive weapon -- two handguns remained in the story -- but as "the primary weapon used in the attack." On December 19, CNN reported, "Police say Lanza's rifle used numerous 30-round magazines." By January 6, the Hartford Courant was reporting that Lanza used the handguns only to shoot himself.
This shift in reporting may be justified, and Williams' sources may have been wrong, but why has no one at NBC addressed the discrepancy? The police had plenty of time to establish the nature of the weapons used that first day. Williams cited multiple police sources. He is a seasoned reporter on a show that takes itself seriously. In retrospect, it is easy to see why authorities would want to bend the narrative to an AR-15, but why would anyone have chosen to mislead Williams on day two?
Equally under-reported is the disposition of the second suspect. On day one, the media were reporting that the police had apprehended a likely second shooter. As CBS News reporter John Miller said definitively, "They have a second person in custody." He pointed out that this was not at all unprecedented given that there were two shooters at Columbine. Fox News described this person as wearing a black jacket and camouflage pants. According to Fox, a SWAT team escorted him out of the woods.
The Alex Jones Channel, although not always reliable, put together a nonconspiratorial video using network news clips of the chase in the woods, the capture, and interviews with witnesses. ABC News interviewed both a well-spoken child and an adult who confirmed seeing the man in custody. "They did walk a guy out of the woods with handcuffs," said the man. The fellow then pointed the reporter to a police car where the alleged second shooter was still sitting.
Admittedly, the media got much wrong on day one: the name of the shooter, the mother's relationship to the school, the supposed murder of the father, but the media quickly walked this information back. If they retracted the stories about the four handguns or the second shooter -- or even explained the discrepancies -- I have been unable to find any clarification, and the Huffington Post piece provided none either.
Until I see firm evidence, I remain agnostic about the official Sandy Hook narrative. My investigations into TWA Flight 800 and the Oklahoma City bombing have taught me to be wary of an "evolving" story line. In those two tragedies, as is often the case, the early reporting was the most reliable.
With TWA Flight 800, for instance, all initial reporting pointed to a missile strike as the cause of the highly visible explosion that killed 230 people off the coast of Long Island in July 1996. In the weeks that followed, without any new evidence, the Clinton Justice Department ignored the 270 FBI eyewitnesses to a missile strike and shifted the storyline from a missile to a bomb.
The FBI talked exclusively to the New York Times, and the Times returned the favor by interviewing none of the eyewitnesses. The cherry-picked evidence led to the following above-the-fold headline four weeks after the disaster -- "Prime Evidence Found That Device Exploded in Cabin of Flight 800."
Although not as unnerving as a missile strike, the bomb scenario threatened the peace and prosperity message to be promoted at the Democratic National Convention just days away. Whether coordinated with the White House or not, the Times simply ceased reporting on the bomb. A month later, the official narrative shifted from a bomb to a center fuel tank explosion, a possibility that had been ruled out a month earlier. Like the networks at Sandy Hook, the Times never bothered to explain what happened to the evidence that led to the earlier conclusions.
In a similar spirit, days after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, the Washington Post reported specific FBI testimony describing "eyewitness accounts of a yellow Mercury with McVeigh and another man inside speeding away from a parking lot near the federal building." (Italics mine)
The media, however, quickly lost interest in the swarthy John Doe No. 2. The likely reason is that If he proved to be an Islamic radical, it would be harder to blame the "Republican Revolution" for the bombing. At McVeigh's trial, the Justice Department did not put a single one of the many reliable eyewitnesses on the stand because every one of them saw McVeigh with his foreign-looking accomplice. Again, the media chose not to notice the discrepancy. As Clinton himself acknowledged, Oklahoma City-i.e. the reporting on Oklahoma City -- saved his presidency.
Bottom line: if the Democrat-media complex can turn an obvious missile strike into a mechanical failure and lose John Doe #2 to history, turning four handguns into an assault weapon and making a second shooter disappear is small beer.