‘Sandy Hook’ Writer Paints a Tragedy of First Gun Violence, Then Misinformation | WFAE 90.7

December 142012, a gunman opened fire on Sandy Hook Elementary Schoolkilling 20 first graders and six educators.

In the aftermath of the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy, family members of the victims then faced another unimaginable struggle – online conspiracy theorists began lying about the shooting, including absurdly claiming that the shooting was staging to increase gun control laws across the country.

The conspiracies were amplified by Alex Jones, a right-wing provocateur who runs Infowars, a website known for posting fake news.

Ten years later, viral lies and conspiracy theories seem to have become more common. From PizzaGatefor QAnonto members of Congress keep pushing lies of past elections, author Elizabeth Williamson writes that “Sandy Hook was the first mass tragedy to spawn an online circle of people who were impervious and hostile to reality” – and argues that the repercussions of Sandy Hook are being felt nowadays.

We’re joined by Williamson to discuss how the Sandy Hook tragedy has become fodder for conspiracy theorists and what could be done to stem the continued flow of misinformation.


Elizabeth Williamsoncolumnist for the New York Times and author of “Sandy Hook: An American Tragedy and the Battle for Truth

Lola R. McClure