On the morning of the Sandy Hook massacre, retired psychologist Gene Rosen found six first-graders and a school bus driver in front of his Newtown home. They told him they had run away from the school because someone had killed their teacher, 27-year-old Victoria Soto. Rosen, who gave a series of emotional interviews in the days following the shooting, invited the terrified children into his home for food and juice while they waited for their parents.
"I comforted them because I'm a grandfather," the 69-year-old Rosen told "Today" a few days later.
Rosen is now a prime target of a group of people dubbed the Sandy Hook Truthers -- conspiracy theorists who believe the Sandy Hook shooting is part of some kind of media or government cover-up, or a ploy to enact stricter gun control laws.
“I don’t know what to do,” Rosen told Salon. “I’m getting hang-up calls, I’m getting some calls, I’m getting emails with, not direct threats, but accusations that I’m lying, that I’m a crisis actor, ‘how much am I being paid?’”
“The quantity of the material is overwhelming,” Rosen said of the rumors flooding the Internet. “There must be some way to morally shame these people, because there were 20 dead children lying an eighth of a mile from my window all night long."
The Sandy Hook Truther movement has gathered steam in recent weeks. Gawker points to a 30-minute video, "The Sandy Hook Shooting - Fully Exposed," which summarizes most of the conspiracies circulating the Internet. Posted January 7, the video now boasts more than 8.5 million views.
"When Sandy Hook first happened i just had a feeling like it was all too perfect," the man behind the video explained to Gawker. "I just had this feeling deep down that these people and the whole town had this artificial vibe about them."
One of the Truthers' seemingly more mainstream voices is Florida Atlantic University communications professor James Tracy, who wrote in a blog post: "The public’s general acceptance of the event’s validity and faith in its resolution suggests a deepened credulousness borne from a world where almost all news and information is electronically mediated and controlled."
The condition is reinforced through the corporate media’s unwillingness to push hard questions vis-à-vis Connecticut and federal authorities who together bottlenecked information while invoking prior restraint through threats of prosecutorial action against journalists and the broader citizenry seeking to interpret the event on social media.
FAU distanced itself from Tracy saying, "James Tracy does not speak for the university. The website on which his post appeared is not affiliated with FAU in any way."