In an extraordinary radio interview that aired Wednesday afternoon, former Republican Gov. John Rowland, now host of a drive-time talk show on WTIC, relentlessly grilled Martha Dean, the former Republican nominee for attorney general who had posted a Sandy Hook truther video on her Facebook page.
The exchange, which took up most of the 5 o’clock hour, touched on an array of topics, from the Lusitania to Benghazi to Susan Smith.
But Rowland, a surprisingly nimble and aggressive interviewer, spent most of the time trying to pin down exactly why Dean thought it was a good idea to post a video that casts doubt about the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School that claimed the lives of 20 children and six educators.
“People want to know why you posted the video on your Facebook for Facebook followers,” Rowland asked. “What was the purpose, what was the point? What were you trying to prove, what are the questions that you’d think that people need to bring up in Connecticut..that’s what people want to know.”
Rowland called the video “vile”and “toxic,” and pointed out the pain it could bring to people who lost a family member in the rampage.
Dean said she uses her Facebook page as a forum for ideas, some of which she agrees with and some of which she doesn’t.
But Dean also say repeatedly that the video “raises questions” about the narrative that unfolded on Dec. 14. Among the questions she cited: How did shooter Adam Lanza get into the school? (He shot his way in.)
Was a man in camouflage supposedly seen on school property a second shooter? Police say no, but Dean appears unconvinced. “I believe Adam Lanza is the shooter,” she said. “I do not know whether he’s the only shooter. I do not have enough information to know that.”
And was the government involved in the shooting in any way? Dean says it’s “theoretically possible” but “highly unlikely.”
Dean had other questions. “How was it that every single child was shot dead? It’s very hard to do that,” she said. “When you look at the other mass shootings…even if you’re trying to kill everyone, it’s very hard to do it when you’re not using an automatic firearm.”
Dean is a lawyer and Rowland is not, but he continually pressed her when her answers were vague and rambling.
Here’s one example:
Dean: “Let me just say the assumption that the parents are harmed by people who want to get to the truth–they have the same interests, they want to get to the truth, they want to now what really happened in Sandy Hook…so we as a people and a government—”
Rowland: “You don’t think the parents know what happened at Sandy Hook?”
Dean: “Why? No.”
Rowland: “You don’t think the parents of these children know what happened at Sandy Hook?”
Dean: “Why. Why it happened.”
Rowland: “Of course the why. The investigation will be going on for months.”
Dean: ”But that’s what I’m saying. Just like we had everyone in the state participate and to vote on what kind of capitol we want — that’s how we have our capitol building, we should have everyone put their questions down and there should be a repository of questions. If people are offended by them then nobody’s tagged with these questions, put them all down, get them to the investigators…because many of us have experience–”
Rowland: “So what questions do you think are not…the conspiracy thing and all of the hoax video–”
Dean: “Forget conspiracy. I want to know….who he was talking to online? Because that is…”
Rowland: “All that stuff is going to come out, but how does posting this hoax conspiracy video get to that?”
Dean: “I’ll show you. So, for example, the man in the woods. I want to know how he got into the school. I want to know–”
Rowland: “He didn’t get into the school.”
Dean: “He didn’t get into the school?”
Rowland: “He was a guy in the woods, they grabbed him, they questioned him, and let him go, everyone knows that.”
Dean: “No no no how Adam Lanza got into the school with his firearms.”
Rowland: “We know—that’s already been reported. He blasted his way through the front door.”
Dean also took issue with Rowland’s repeated referral to the “hoax video.”
Dean: “You call it a hoax video, I call it a video raising questions, some of them are offensive.”
Rowland: “So name one question that’s legitimate.”
Dean: “Did the guy in the woods who’s running away in camouflage…could [he] have been a shooter from outside and so Adam Lanza could have been inside while somebody else is working from outside through a window or whatever and we don’t know the answers to these questions.
“But I want to know who was Lanza in touch with, what medication was he on. We know that their are medications that change behavior. It’s been proven with these cases of people who are cannibalistic……they’re on drugs, how could a human do that? … who kills their own mother, especially a good mother, drugs can do that.”
Rowland: “The video goes so far beyond any of that. They questioned whether the parents were even lying about their children being dead….the suggestions are all over the place that this was a movie set, the suggestions all over the place that the government wanted this to happen.”
Dean: “I don’t endorse any of that.”
Rowland: “So what do you endorse from the movie?”
Dean: “I endorse asking questions and I endorse asking questions that go beyond what the media are asking, and go beyond the questions that perhaps the investigators are asking and trying to get those questions together in some central place…”
Rowland: “Do you think the video is cruel to the families of those victims, yes or no?”
Dean: “I think there are aspects of it that are hurtful and thats why I apologize for posting it even for general discussion purposes.”
But, Dean added, “you know there are many things that are cruel that are out on the nightly news. You wouldn’t want to see a murder of your son or husband in Benghazi
and yet there’s full video footage of the horror that occurred in Benghazi online.”
Rowland: “So you’re comparing the mainstream media with a conspiracy hoax video?”
Dean: “I’m saying in an investigation where we’re trying to get to the facts, it is a very uncomfortable process and it makes the victim feel more victimized.”
At one point, Dean talked about a snippet of video showing one of the parents of the murdered children smiling. Conspiracy theorists have seized upon that as “evidence’ that the killings did not happen, but as Dean herself noted, victims don’t spend all their time crumpled in a heap of tears. She said she was 16 and learned that a close friend had died, she laughed because she was in shock.
But Dean also said that reaction could be a potential “red flag” to investigators.
Rowland: “We’re going to investigate the father of one of these poor children killed?”
Dean: “No, no, no..an investigator looks at all of the different pieces of information and starts running alternate theories, possibilities, at the same time and ruling them out as information comes in that allows you to rule them out…”
Rowland didn’t take any calls during the interview but he promised to let the public weigh in when he returned to the topic on Thursday. Stay tuned.