Bush dishonoured by freedom of speech awards
From The Thomas Jefferson Centre
For its unprecedented efforts of discouraging, changing, and sometimes censoring the reports and studies of government scientists in order to make them more supportive of political policies, a 2007 Jefferson Muzzle goes
to… the Bush Administration.
Unfortunately, under the Bush administration examples of political interference in science no longer appear to be to isolated incidents but “a system-wide epidemic,” says Dr. Francesca Grifo, director of the Union of
Concerned Scientists’ Scientific Integrity Program.
For selectively imposing a policy prohibiting the use by collegiate teams of Native American names, mascots and symbols, a 2007 Jefferson Muzzle goes to… The National Collegiate Athletic Association.
For expelling four students who created a video that featured evil stuffed animals unsuccessfully dispatched to kill a teacher, a 2007 Jefferson Muzzle goes to… the Charles A. Beard Memorial School Board of Knightstown,
In the video movie The Teddy Bear Master , a character with the power to control stuffed animals orders a number of the usually inanimate objects to kill a former teacher who had embarrassed him when he was a
student. The evil plan of the “Master” is thwarted, however, by several fellow students who battle the teddy bears and thereby save the teacher’s life.
The makers of this 78-minute opus come not from Hollywood, but from Knightstown, Indiana. From the fall of 2005 until the summer of 2006, four sophomores at Knightstown High School wrote, directed, acted, and video taped the movie on their own time,
off school grounds. The last name of the teacher / victim in the obviously fictional work was the same as the last name of an actual teacher at Knightstown Intermediate School, a school which several of the students had previously attended. A DVD
copy of the video briefly was available for sale on the popular MySpace website for $5.00 but was removed when school officials became aware of it.
For filing a discrimination complaint against Geno’s Steaks solely on the basis of the public display of a sign reading “This is America . . . When Ordering, Speak English,” a 2007 Jefferson Muzzle goes to… the
Philadelphia (PA) Commission on Human Relations.
For launching and sustaining a program, ostensibly aimed at counter-terrorists, that gathered and stored extensive information about lawful anti-war demonstrators and other citizen groups that posed no national security threat, a 2007 Jefferson
Muzzle goes to the… United States Department of Defense.
Late in 2005, reports surfaced that a covert branch of the Department of Defense had been compiling and maintaining dossiers on peaceful protests within the United States, and on some of the advocacy groups that
organized and took part in those protests. Despite the publicity and the concern expressed by some sectors, Congress took no action.
For denying a beer distributor’s application to sell three beers in the state because it disapproved of the artwork on the beers’ labels, a 2007 Jefferson Muzzle goes to… the Maine Bureau of Liquor Enforcement.
For broadening substantially the scope of broadcast material that may constitute forbidden “indecency” and for targeting alleged “profanity” as well, a 2007 Jefferson Muzzle goes to… the Federal Communications Commission.
In 1927, Congress adopted the first law that regulated the content of material aired by federally licensed broadcasters. Since then “indecent” and “profane” utterances have been subject to sanctions by the Federal
Communications Commission, along with material that is “obscene.” Until recently, the Committee declined to classify all uses of vulgar and taboo four-letter words on licensed broadcast stations as violations of this law and its successors. Several
years ago, however, following widespread criticism of the infamous “Wardrobe Malfunction” during the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show, and other widely publicized linguistic challenges, the FCC has adopted a markedly tougher stance on suggestive
language and imagery. Specifically, use of the “f-word” regardless of context has now been deemed “to have an inherently sexual connotation.”
For suspending students for wearing black armbands to school in protest of a new school dress code policy, a 2007 Muzzle goes to… Watson Chapel (Arkansas) School District.
For calling upon the Justice Department to seek criminal sanctions against a newspaper and its staff for disclosing publicly the existence and extent of covert, warrantless surveillance by the National Security Administration, a 2007 Jefferson Muzzle
goes to… U. S. Representative Peter King (R., N.Y.)
For canceling the contract with the owner of a public access television station because he criticized City Council policies on air, a 2007 Jefferson Muzzle goes to… the City Council of East St. Louis, Illinois.
For attempting to remove children picture books from school libraries because the books were not sufficiently critical of life in Cuba under the Castro regime, a 2007 Jefferson Muzzle goes to… the Miami-Dade County (Florida) School Board.
For selectively blocking the workplace access of Kentucky state employees to certain political blogs and other Internet sites that had posted statements critical of the governor and his administration, a 2007 Jefferson Muzzle goes to… the
Administration of Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher.
For three separate but remarkably similar acts of censoring the content of high school publications, a joint 2007 Jefferson Muzzle is awarded to the administrations of… Ben Davis High School (Indianapolis, IN), Princeton High School (Cincinnati, OH)
and Wyoming Valley West High School (Kingston, PA).
For requiring, under the Ohio PATRIOT Act, that all applicants for employment with the State of Ohio or any of its agencies, must answer satisfactorily six intrusive and ambiguous questions pertaining to political beliefs and activities, a 2007
Jefferson Muzzle goes to… the Ohio General Assembly.