Glenn Beck has not always been held up as a shining example of reason, but his episode tonight regarding the Sandy Hook “truthers” (in particular the claim that parents of slain children are not “sad enough”) casts a critical gaze on the phenomenon of conspiracy theories related to the Newtown school shooting.
In the clip below, Glenn Beck first displays and then debunks viral YouTube videos featuring parents like Robbie Parker who have sparingly spoken to press in the days and weeks since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary.
Beck, himself not unskilled at clever framing, explains that Sandy Hook truthers have been creatively editing videos and presenting what appears to be skepticism masquerading as evidence. And in the clip below, you can watch his takedown of the “crisis actors” aspect of the Sandy Hook conspiracy theories.
After our last post about Parker (regarding circulating claims that a brief, apparently nervous laugh at the start of a press conference one day following the death of daughter Emilie Parker at Sandy Hook Elementary indicated evidence of a larger, clearly obvious hoax), we spoke with Asha Tarry, LMSW, founder of the grassroots organization, The Collective Advocates.
We asked Tarry to review a clip of Parker that has unfortunately been one of the cornerstones of the Sandy Hook truther argument and the idea that a grieving parent should act a single, certain way in the wake of unimaginable grief, horror, and shock.
As we suspected, Tarry agreed that not only are the parents interviewed behaving in line with how those who have experienced such tragedy might be expected to but their behavior is indeed quite normal.
In her assessment of the clip, Tarry observes that Parker does smile before his emotional statement about Emilie, and says:
“I, like so many others, do not know what the conversation entailed prior to Mr. Parker approaching the mic and podium, but yes, I saw him smiling, and clearly that’s what it looked like.”
But what Tarry gleaned from the clip was not the chicanery alleged by Sandy Hook conspiracy theorists but rather an affect typical of people of faith. She explains:
“However, what I also saw at the time of his opening remarks and was immediately struck by, before his confirmation of this, was his faith in a higher power. He was able to acknowledge before his own loss, the loss the shooter’s family was also experiencing. It reminds me of the part of the Lord’s Prayer which says ‘forgive our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us’ — a hard practice to do, even for Christians.”