In my new column at CJR, I argue that the media should be wary of giving additional attention to Sandy Hook truthers, which may actually help to spread their false claims. Here's how it begins:
In the weeks since the tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, fringe conspiracy theorists have suggested that the shooting rampage there was staged or even perpetrated by the government to advance an anti-gun agenda—claims so absurd that even Glenn Beck has denounced them as preposterous.
The fact that these theories have been circulating should not surprise us; tragedies frequently give rise to anti-government conspiracy myths (9/11, Waco, etc.). More surprising—and unfortunate—is how much attention some media outlets are devoting to these claims, which have not been endorsed by any prominent politicians or commentators. While the coverage to date has generally sought to marginalize these conspiracy-mongers, it risks drawing more attention to their false claims and propagating the myth further.
For more, read the whole thing.