There's one particular quote from Tracy's blog that is being used to indict him as a Newtown-denier. Anderson Cooper used it in the beginning of his segment, and it goes like this:
...one is left to inquire whether the Sandy Hook shooting ever took place, at least in the way law enforcement authorities and the nation's news media have described.Beginning with the authoritative "AND I QUOTE," AC read those words while a picture of Prof. Tracy was plastered on the screen. Go ahead and watch the clip, or read the transcript. The key point is to note where the quote begins, with the words "one is left to inquire."
That is the most prominent quote from Tracy's blog used in this story and the other stories circulating in the national media: 28 words in all. The key, however, is in the ellipsis, those 3 little dots preceding the words "one is left." You see, there's actually 6 words that have been strategically erased in the ellipsis, 6 words that change the entire meaning of the sentence, but 6 words that CNN's AC360 obviously chose to delete. Here's how the full sentence reads on Tracy's blog:
While it sounds like an outrageous claim, one is left to inquire whether the Sandy Hook shooting ever took place -- at least in the way law enforcement authorities and the nation's news media have described.
In short, AC 360 deliberately chose to delete those 6 crucial words where Tracy qualifies his statement--which it calls "horrifically outrageous"--by saying that he himself knows it "sounds like an outrageous claim." It doesn't necessarily say he doesn't believe there was some kind of conspiracy, but it does fundamentally qualify the sentence, and AC360 could only present Tracy in this light by removing those initial 6 words. Worse yet, this is on a segment that AC360 calls "Keeping Them Honest." The segment begins with Cooper warning us that this "hard to believe" and that we may even "need to sit down" to process the information we are about to receive. Normally, he assures us, they wouldn't "dignify" such "horrifically outrageous claims" except for the fact that the individual "peddling" this conspiracy is a professor--not just a professor, we are reminded, but a tenured professor at a state university which receives taxpayer money. At this point, the tone of the program shifts to one generally used for criminals and deviants. "His name is James Tracy," Cooper announces as Tracy's picture comes on screen, "This is a picture of him. This is what he looks like." ("This is what he looks like"??? I mean, it's like he's a sexual predator, a child molester, the boogeyman or Big Foot). "James Tracy is his name," Cooper repeats, as if surprised that even a mother could have given a name to such an obvious monster.
To be perfectly honest, Jim Tracy is a friend and a colleague, but I don't understand, much less agree, with the stuff he's been writing about in his blog. But I do find the cruelest irony in the fact that his writing and teaching attempt to uncover media lies and distortions, and as far-fetched as his ideas often seem, now he finds himself caught in the middle of his very own media frame-up. In the best case scenario, his intellectual reputation has been unfairly besmirched. In the worst case scenario, there is a good chance he may actually get fired, despite his tenured status as an associate professor, because academic freedom means so little at a place like FAU. In disheartening but predictable fashion, all the authorities at FAU up to President Mary Jane Saunders, who also appeared on AC360, have immediately put distance between Tracy and FAU while making absolutely no efforts to defend academic freedom, or even basic free speech. On that note, I am now going to STFU.