That’s how a young man described the reportage out of Newtown after the massacre there. Reporters can make various kinds of mistakes: out of haste, jumping to conclusions, picking up on a rumor without checking it out, reliance on untrustworthy sources, or simply not understanding the context of an event well enough. Reporters are trained to avoid these mistakes, but occasionally they make them anyway.
Clearly, reporters are not trained to regard government sources as untrustworthy. Reliance on government sources in certain circumstances creates an artificial vibe. What do we mean by this kind of artificiality? Think of the BBC reporter who announced around 5:00 pm on September 11, 2001, that World Trade Center 7 had collapsed, while the tower still stood in the distance behind her! Twenty minutes later, the forty-seven story building did collapse, in a controlled demolition.
Reporting of the Newtown massacre had so many elements of artificiality, one does not want to list them when time is short. As you listen to reporters covering the story on December 14, 2012, you can hear impatience in their voices because they cannot get the story right. They don’t even know who their sources are. They report one thing after another, and nearly everything they say turns out to be false. The story changes by the minute. By the time they settle on a narrative, it’s nearly empty of detail, and even the general account does not hang together. That’s artificial.
Yet journalists, academics and officials attack people who point to this artificial quality as crazy truthers. One has to admire the persistence of people like James Tracy and David Ray Griffin, who maintain their courage and commitment through ridicule and dismissive contempt. Someday the first will be last, and the last will be first. The so-called truthers will be the only honest people left. That will happen if we travel with the anti-truthers down their crowded, easy path.