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The shameless abuse of Rosen, an innocent bit player in the Newtown drama, is fed by the mushrooming so-called Truther movement. Its adherents claim the mass shooting was somehow staged to stir up the debate on gun control. Some suspect that media organizations, perhaps in cahoots with the U.S. government, are concealing part of the story.
The outlandish theory has gained traction in the last couple of weeks. It has been endorsed by extremists like James Wickstrom, a Michigan-based white supremacist and academics like James Tracy, professor of Communications at Florida Atlantic University, who has made his doubts about the veracity of media coverage during events like the Sandy Hook shooting public on his blog, www.memoryholeblog.com. It’s even gotten play from a TV anchor from a local Fox affiliate in Cincinnati.
Rosen’s televised comments were widely seen — he appeared on network news show. But his commends were later derided and reposted on various conspiracy websites including one called www.sandyhookhoax.com. A YouTube video that calls his interview a preplanned “audition tape” has garnered nearly 50,000 views.
The YouTube comments below the video are revealing. They range from “Gene Rosen is a fraud,” to “How come in these set chewing performances does ‘Gene’ not shed a single actual tear? Must be a hallmark of the Holocaust school of acting.”
So how did Rosen, admittedly a Good Samaritan, but one who played a relatively minor role in the story, end up being a target? Is it just a case of no good deed goes unpunished.
Experts on anti-Semitism say it’s not surprising that an iconic national tragedy like the Newtown shooting has become the focus of conspiracy theorists. They also say it is more or less inevitable that extremists will eventually come to blame Jews in some way.