Produced by ‘Sway’
From the big lie to Bill Gates’s supposed Covid vaccine microchips, the internet loves a conspiracy theory. In this conversation, Kara Swisher revisits one that is almost a decade old: that Sandy Hook was a hoax. After a shooter at Sandy Hook Elementary School killed 26 people, including Noah Pozner, his father, Leonard Pozner, began seeing online musings that the tragedy was a production of crisis actors and part of a scheme to attack Second Amendment rights. The conspiracies were rampant on Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, WordPress blogs and YouTube videos — and they were amplified in particular by the far-right broadcaster and conspiracist Alex Jones on his media outlet Infowars.
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Kara asks Pozner why he “respected the possibility that people had questions” about the massacre and how he engaged with Sandy Hook deniers. She and Pozner cover the lawsuits that he and other Sandy Hook parents are pursuing against Jones. And they discuss the responsibility borne by platforms like Facebook and Twitter, which hosted Jones for so long. As Pozner points out, “The focus for all of these platforms is growth and expansion. They really don’t want to deal with the cleanup at all.”
(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)
Credit…The New York Times
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“Sway” is produced by Nayeema Raza, Blakeney Schick, Daphne Chen, Caitlin O’Keefe and Wyatt Orme. The senior editor is Nayeema Raza and the executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Irene Noguchi. Fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones; mixing by Carole Sabouraud and Sonia Herrero; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.