Two notable professional academic publications examine disciplinary measures taken against James Tracy for media attention given to articles appearing on memoryholeblog that questioned the official Newtown narrative.
Chronicle of Higher Education: Florida Atlantic U. Disciplines Professor Who Questioned Accounts of Newtown Shootings
April 11, 2013
By Peter Schmidt
Florida Atlantic University has formally reprimanded a tenured professor for mentioning his institutional affiliation in blog posts in which he questioned official accounts of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Conn
The university’s decision to issue a letter of reprimand to James F. Tracy, an associate professor of communications, comes three months after the height of a public uproar over his blog posts, which questioned whether the December incident in Newtown took place as law-enforcement officials and the mainstream news media have described it. In the weeks after Mr. Tracy’s initial posts, Florida Atlantic’s administration resisted widespread calls to fire him but distanced itself from his controversial remarks.
The administration’s willingness to stand behind the professor, however, clearly hinged on his compliance with a demand that he distance himself from Florida Atlantic in his controversial blog on politics and the media, Memory Hole, according to recent correspondence between Mr. Tracy and administrators obtained by The Chronicle.
Read more at Chronicle.com
Inside Higher Ed: Reprimand for a Blog
April 12, 2013
By John Jaschik
In January, Florida journalists noticed that a professor at Florida Atlantic University had been blogging about his doubts that a massacre really took place at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school in December. The professor, James Tracy, teaches communication and writes, among other things, about his view that mainstream media is inaccurate or deceptive in many ways. He has taught about conspiracies.
Of Newtown, he wrote on his 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.” Tracy speculated that the Obama administration was using Sandy Hook to advance a gun-control agenda.
The university responded at the time (in public at least) the way many institutions do when their faculty members say things that are controversial. A spokeswoman told local reporters that “James Tracy does not speak for the university. The website on which his post appeared is not affiliated with FAU in any way.”
What wasn’t clear at the time is that the university was meeting with Tracy, complaining that he had not done enough — in the opinion of FAU officials — to distance his views from the institution that employs him.