Tag Archives: FAU

James Tracy on Kevin Barrett’s Truth Jihad Broadcast

Kevin Barrett and James Tracy discuss free speech, academic freedom and the TracyvFAU case that is presently before the US Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. This program originally aired on August 10, 2018.

Additional information on Barrett’s work is available at kevinbarrett.heresycentral.com

From original show post:

Tenured Communications professor James Tracy was illegally and unconstitutionally forced out of his job at Florida Atlantic University due to his skeptical investigations of possible false flag events. Tracy is pursuing legal action against FSU and the mainstream media is providing distorted coverage. We will discuss his case and academic freedom in general (including the Anthony Hall case which just drew more MSM coverage from journalist Tadzio Richards). We’ll also discuss James Tracy’s new article on the anti-free-speech lawsuits involving Alex Jones and Richard Gutjahr.

See Also:

Kevin Barrett and James Tracy on Another French False Flag

Checkin’ It Out with Kevin Barrett

Kevin Barrett and James Tracy on We Are Not Charlie Hebdo

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US News Media Targeted Professor for Questioning Sandy Hook While Failing To Do Theirs – Fake News Indeed

Via PhiBetaIota

James Tracy: In Solidarity with Alex Jones: US News Media Targeted Professor for Questioning Sandy Hook While Failing To Do Theirs – Fake News Indeed

 

Mr. President,

I am a former Associate Professor of Journalism and Media Studies at Florida Atlantic University (FAU). In early 2013, I became the target of a smear campaign led by prominent news media after I questioned coverage of the 14 December 2012 Sandy Hook massacre. The media called on FAU to fire me because of my concerns. I therefore appreciate your clear condemnation of the Mainstream Media (MSM) for “fake news” where those posing as journalists spread falsehoods and propaganda.

As a student of news narratives for nearly two decades, I observed several contradictions and anomalies in the media’s presentation of the Sandy Hook event. Following the shooting, for example, emergency response protocols were abandoned and first responders were refused entry to school grounds. Authorities apprehended an alleged gunman but placed him in the front seatof a police car.

Continue reading US News Media Targeted Professor for Questioning Sandy Hook While Failing To Do Theirs – Fake News Indeed

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Federal Appeal Filed Challenging Florida Atlantic University’s Unconstitutional “Outside Activities” Policy

Miami, Florida – Attorneys for James Tracy filed an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit of the summary judgment rulings granted by the District Court in favor of Florida Atlantic University (“FAU”) and various public university officials. Tracy’s lawyers also argue that the jury verdict should be reversed and the Court should grant judgment in Tracy’s favor as a matter of law.

James Tracy was a distinguished tenured faculty member in FAU’s School of Communications who taught journalism history, communication theory, and courses on the media’s coverage of conspiracy theories. Tracy received awards for his work, regularly earned excellent reviews, and was a former president of the FAU faculty union.

Despite Tracy’s outstanding academic record, FAU fired Tracy in retaliation for controversial posts he made on his personal blog questioning the legitimacy of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. In January 2016, FAU terminated Tracy’s tenured professorship, falsely claiming he had been “insubordinate” for failing to disclose his blogging activity under its conflict of interest outside activity Policy.

On appeal, it is argued that summary judgment should have been granted in Tracy’s favor by the District Court, since the Policy FAU used to terminate his professorship is unconstitutionally vague “because blogging is not mentioned as a potential conflict of interest, key terms used within the Policy are undefined, and FAU does not have a policy on blogging.

Over twenty professors have blogs or other online speech activities, and Tracy is the only one to have ever been required to report, much less disciplined, for failing to report under the Policy. This is all the more compelling given that Tracy’s blog was publically available and well known to FAU, and his speech was widely reported and highly controversial.”

The record demonstrates FAU’s Policy violates the First Amendment “because it fails to provide employees with a reasonable opportunity to understand what blogging it prohibits and authorizes” and the Policy “did not provide sufficient guidance as to what blogging had to be reported, it could not be enforced without reference to the content of an employee’s speech, thereby facilitating viewpoint discrimination targeting disfavored speech. Indeed, FAU found Tracy’s posting violated the Policy despite having no policy at all on blogging while it fully protected expression that it favored.”

Additionally, Tracy’s lawyers argue that the jury verdict (that Tracy’s speech was not a motivating factor in his termination) is contrary to overwhelming evidence, and no reasonable jury could have determined that Tracy’s speech was not a motivating factor in his termination because:

  • Tracy’s blogging was obviously not a conflict of interest;
  • FAU’s reason for firing Tracy was legally insufficient;
  • FAU’s history of disciplining and monitoring Tracy’s blog;
  • FAU’s selective enforcement of a vague Policy;
  • Evidence of complaints and negative publicity;
  • FAU’s termination letter citing the blog; and
  • FAU emails celebrating Tracy’s termination.

Moreover, the District Court wrongfully excluded evidence that directly impacted Tracy’s ability to enforce his rights at trial.

The full brief is available here:

See also:

Legalizing Pretext: How an American Public University Conspired to Beat the First Amendment

The Death of Academic Freedom: Professor James Tracy Denied First Amendment Rights By Federal Court

TracyvFAU: A Very Dangerous Precedent

Through Jaundiced Eyes: Palm Beach Post, Sun-Sentinal’s Hardcore Bias in TracyvFAU Coverage

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Five Years Later: An Open Letter to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Editor’s Note: Five years ago MHB posted the letter from James Tracy to the Sun-Sentinel and accompanying statements republished below. The newspaper and its editor, Howard Saltz, played key roles in circulating fraudulent and deceptive reports and commentary on the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, Boston Marathon bombings, and subsequent mass casualty events, while Sun-Sentinel editorial staff took aim at FAU Professor James Tracy for analyzing such events on his personal blog, Memory Hole.

Saltz’s inflammatory articles targeting Tracy culminated in a December 11, 2015 opinion piece purportedly authored by Lenny and Veronique Pozner, parents of a Sandy Hook child victim, according to the incident’s official narrative.

Saltz was terminated by the Sun-Sentinel’s parent company, Tronc, in February 2018, just days after the major mass shooting event at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida. During his seven year tenure at the paper Saltz frustrated Sentinel reporters for allegedly censoring important stories at the newspaper, with one critic calling him a “cancer on Florida journalism.”

On June 3, 2013 James Tracy sent a letter to Sun-Sentinel editor-in-chief Howard Saltz citing the paper’s repeated attacks on Tracy for publicly questioning government pronouncements and overall news coverage of the Sandy Hook massacre and Boston Marathon bombing. In a June 17 response to the letter Saltz maintains that the Sun-Sentinel’s remarks are defensible given its newsworthiness and under the tenets of free speech.

“Our news coverage has not judged the merits of your arguments,” Saltz contends. “It never will. We will report them, and let the chips fall where they may.”

Tracy’s article, “The Sandy Hook School Massacre: Unanswered Questions and Missing Information,” received wide circulation in alternative media outlets in late December, immediately prior to the Sentinel‘s string of stories and commentaries highlighting Tracy.

The letter is reprinted in its entirety below followed by excerpts from Saltz’s response.

James F. Tracy, PhD
Boca Raton, FL

June 3, 2013

Howard Saltz
Editor in Chief
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
500 East Broward Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33394

Sent Certified Mail: Return Receipt Requested

Dear Howard Saltz,

I am writing in reference to the numerous articles and opinion pieces published by the Sun-Sentinel regarding my public commentaries on the December 14, 201[2] Newtown massacre and the April 15, 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Without seriously assessing what I have actually sought to argue, each of these pieces have almost without exception vigorously assailed my character and overall assessment of these public events while advocating for dismissal from my faculty post at Florida Atlantic University, implying or explicitly calling attention to my alleged moral or even mental incapacity to hold such a position. Taken as a whole, the uniformly negative nature of such articles and commentaries can be considered as nothing less than a concerted campaign against me and is arguably libelous.

The following are quotes from some of the news and opinion articles published by your newspaper since January 7, 2013:

“A communication professor known for conspiracy theories has stirred controversy at Florida Atlantic University … “ Mike Clary, “FAU Prof Stirs Controversy By Disputing Newtown Massacre,” January 7, 2013.*

“A tenured professor has to spout a lot of craziness before you can oust one … I find conspiracy theorists fascinating. They view the world through a permanent prism of distrust and paranoia. Maybe they were dropped on their head when they were babies, or it’s something in the genes.” Chan Lowe, “FAU Prof’s Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theory,” January 11, 2013.

“James Tracy still has a job at Florida Atlantic University, FAU media relations director Lisa Metcalf said Wednesday. But beyond that, she didn’t say much about Tracy, a tenured associate professor of communication who has brought much embarrassment to the university with his comments questioning the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre … I’m all for academic freedom, but there’s a not-so-fine line between critical thinking and crackpot lunacy. I sure am glad I’m not FAU president Mary Jane Saunders. I don’t know if I’d fire Tracy. Perhaps the best we can do is ignore him.” Michael Mayo, “FAU Takes Heat for Professor James Tracy’s Sandy Hook Comments,” January 24, 2013.*

“So score another one in the weird column for FAU … After taking a public relations hit last month with the wacky Internet musings of tenured communications professor James Tracy about the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre …” Michael Mayo, “FAU Stadium Deal with Prison Company is Odd Way to Feather Nest,” February 20, 2013.

“So far, 2013 has been a controversial year for the university. In January, associate professor James Tracy questioned on his personal blog whether the Sandy Hook massacre happened.” Scott Travis, “FAU Apologizes After Jesus Assignment Sparks Outrage,” March 25, 2013.*

“In January, after professor James Tracy made national news by suggesting the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre may have been staged, it took Saunders two days to release a statement saying his views were not shared by the university.” Sun-Sentinel Editorial Board, “More Missteps at FAU,” March 27, 2013.*

“Earlier this year, you had the public relations fiasco involving professor James Tracy, a tenured professor of communication who claimed that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings may not have happened, or didn’t happen as reported. The claim got national publicity, and not the good kind.” Gary Stein, “Does Stomp Jesus Show FAU Needs an Image Makeover?” March 27, 2013.*

“Unveil latest course offerings at school’s ‘edgy’ communications department: ‘Muhammad Cartoon Drawing 101,’ ‘Advanced Holocaust Denial,’ and ‘Professor James Tracy’s Lies, Damn Lies and Conspiracies.’” Michael Mayo, “How Low Can FAU Go?” March 27, 2013.

“ … professor James Tracy’s blog musings about the Sandy Hook massacre … “ Michael Mayo, “FAU President Says She’s ‘Totally Secure’ in Job,” April 3, 2013.

“ … FAU’s conspiracy theorist.” Scott Travis, “Controversial FAU Professor Questions Boston Bombing,” April 23, 2013.

“‘Our own FAU handbook says an employee may be terminated for questionable conduct, professional or personal,’ [FAU] trustee Robert Rubin said. ‘And what Professor Tracy said wasn’t?’ But making comments that are embarrassing to a university is not grounds to fire a tenured professor … “ Scott Travis, “Controversial FAU Professor Questions Boston Bombing,” April 23, 2013.

“Tracy’s Sandy Hook postings received nationwide attention and prompted FAU to issue him a formal reprimand.” Scott Travis, “Controversial FAU Professor Questions Boston Bombing,” April 23, 2013.*

“Florida Atlantic University professor James Tracy … obviously needs a hobby so he can stop coming up with crackpot theories.” Gary Stein, “Should the FAU Professor be Fired for Off-the-Wall Theories?” April 25, 2013.

“FAU Professor James Tracy offered his opinion on the recent events that occurred in Boston in the Sun Sentinel on April 24 … While the vast majority of our university professors tend to be to the left of the political spectrum, most of them try to minimize mixing their ideological views with their professional responsibilities. There are others however, who use their title and position to intimidate and coerce students who do not subscribe to their way of thinking.” Caren Besner, “Some Professors Trying to Force Views on Students,” May 7, 2013.

“Forget the Clowns, Send in the headlines! … James Tracy’s musings …” Michael Mayo, “More Questions at FAU,” May 8, 2013.

“And everyone got mad when tenured communications professor James Tracy started spouting conspiracy theories about the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre and Boston Marathon bombings on his personal blog.” Michael Mayo, “FAU President’s Resignation No Surprise,” May 15, 2013.

“It didn’t help that Saunders had to deal with a wacko professor who twice made national news for doubting the veracity of the massacres at Sandy Hook Elementary School and later, the Boston Marathon.” Sun-Sentinel Editorial Staff, “What’s Next for FAU, Given It’s President’s Resignation,” May 16, 2013.

“As president, [Mary Jane Saunders] could not be blamed for the antics of some of her faculty (conspiracy theories …), Chan Lowe, “FAU’s Saunders Resigns,” May 16, 2013.

*Note: The memoryholeblog.com site had existed since March 2012. The blog and I were thrust into the national news only after the Sun-Sentinel published its January 7, 2013 story, “FAU Prof Stirs Controversy by Disputing Newtown Massacre.” Thereafter the Sun-Sentinel repeatedly refers to the “controversy,” suggesting its spontaneity, even though the paper played a major role in initiating and perpetuating it.

Published Letters to the Editor

“But I was also dismayed because the Sun Sentinel chose to put the article on the front page, needlessly giving more attention to this nut-case than he deserves.” Richard Mangan, “Give FAU a Break,” April 28, 2013.

“FAU professor James Tracy certainly has to have his First Amendment rights protected. However, if the students are as rankled by his blogs as many of us are, just don’t register for any of his classes.” Mike Marcus, “Don’t Attend James Tracy’s Classes,” April 28, 2013.

“When will this insanity stop? FAU associate professor James Tracy should be fired immediately. A person with his kind of thoughts has no place teaching young adults. Who knows what a mentally disturbed person like Tracy could do in the future. Let us stop hiding behind tenure.” David Hofield, “Why Should Tracy’s Tenure Matter,” April 28, 2013.

As the above examples clearly indicate, the Sun-Sentinel has repeatedly attacked my person and character. Your paper and staff have on numerous occasions published material suggesting that I be relieved of my position. At no time, however, has your paper sought to seriously dispute what I have said or written concerning Sandy Hook or Boston, instead choosing to ride the tide of poorly informed public outrage it has played a major role in fomenting. Such conduct is not so much journalistic as it is political.

As noted above, the entire controversy regarding my analysis of Sandy Hook massacre news coverage can be traced to a January 7 story written by Sun-Sentinel senior reporter Mike Clary. Clary expressed his delight that the story was picked up nationally in a January 8, 2013 telephone conversation with me. He again drew attention to this a few days later in a follow-up piece. “A Monday story in the Sun Sentinel in which Tracy discussed his views went viral and touched off a firestorm of controversy,” Clary wrote. “While many callers and emailers defended or even applauded Tracy’s remarks, others, including current and former FAU students, said they found his theories outrageous and offensive.” Mike Clary, “FAU Prof Should Be Fired, Newtown Official Says,” January 10, 2013.

Thus much of the “controversy” the Sun-Sentinel repeatedly points to with the underlying suggestion that it is spontaneous can be traced to its initial story—a story that your staff clearly sought to make as sensationalistic as possible. On the evening of January 7 in a telephone discussion with Mr. Clary, your reporter forcefully and repeatedly pushed me to assert that the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre was staged. He seemed irritated when I responded to his queries by remarking, “It’s a possibility,” or “The coverage suggests that it may have been.” My responses mirror the commentaries on my blog.

Further, in our initial telephone interview on the afternoon of January 7 Clary sought to question me under a false pretense—stating that he had been informed that the FAU administration was potentially initiating disciplinary action against me because of my blog. I have been told by one reliable party working within the FAU administration at the time that administrators knew nothing of my blog until Clary’s January 7 article was published and thereafter became a national story. Indeed, I was never spoken to by administrators about my blogging until January [18], [two] weeks after Clary’s initial story ran.

I have done a considerable degree of research on both the Newtown massacre and the Boston Marathon bombing. With the above in mind, and since the Sun-Sentinel is a newspaper with a skilled staff and a significant regional and national influence, I formally challenge you or any member of your editorial or reportorial staff to a public debate on the veracity of either Sandy Hook or the Boston Marathon events as related by government and law enforcement agencies, as well as in your newspaper and by the US press more broadly, versus the arguments that I have put forth.

I am sure you will agree that such a dialogue will be of special value since it will move us beyond tactless name calling and toward consideration of substantive evidence and analysis of events with major import. If you are confident enough in your particulars of how each of the events transpired, as suggested by the paper’s continued publication of such such serious and continual denunciations of my being and character, I am confident that you or your staff will be pleased to engage me in such an exchange.

If you agree to my challenge, arrangements for a suitable public forum and accommodations will be negotiated between your staff and me. If the Sun-Sentinel prevails in such a debate the public will be reassured of the paper’s devotion to truth, journalistic integrity, and the censures of me will be wholly justified. I will thereafter devote myself to further contemplating and learning from the flurry of disparaging coverage and remarks your staff and its regional broadcast peers have directed toward me and my person. If you are not successful in the exchange you will publicly apologize for the uniformly negative series of reports and commentaries your newspaper has published about me over the past five months.

Thank you for your consideration of the above. I look forward to your reply.

Sincerely,

James F. Tracy, PhD
561-___-____

On June 17 Mr. Saltz replied to the above correspondence via email, making the following points quoted verbatim here:

  • There is no concerted effort. Reporters and columnists are looking for stories, as they always do. And they’re finding stories in this situation.

  • Are the stories you cite legitimately newsworthy? I say yes. You’re a high-profile member of the community, in a position to influence others, espousing viewpoints that are unusual and perhaps inflammatory. That’s newsworthy, almost by definition.

  • You suggest in your letter that you may have been libeled. I am quite comfortable in my belief that the SunSentinel has not libeled you. We will therefore act accordingly.

  • The facts provided in the articles are, to the best of my knowledge, correct and true. If you believe there is an error of fact in our coverage, please feel free to tell me. You have not cited any in your letter.

  • The opinions expressed are within the bounds of fair comment. You advocate unusual theories; people will always challenge unusual theories and, perhaps unfortunately, some will be offensive in doing so. The people expressing these opinions are using the same free-speech right with which you espouse your views.

  • We would not engage in debate. That’s not what newspapers do. Your suggestion confuses our reporting of positions contrary to yours with taking positions contrary to yours. They are not the same thing.  If you engage in a public debate with someone else, we would report that. You could also express your views on the Newtown and Boston Marathon situations in an op-ed article; I would be happy to publish it.

Our news coverage has not judged the merits of your arguments. It never will. We will report them, and let the chips fall where they may.

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FAU Faculty Support Academic Freedom (Restrictions Apply)

By James F. Tracy

Are faculty at FAU and universities across America pristine embodiments of integrity and truth? Do they support a flourishing of scholarly perspectives, or are they political ideologues who carefully police their own ranks?

Flashback to Spring 2013: A liberal instructor and Democratic Party activist is under fire by conservative groups for a classroom exercise that at least one student claimed was offensive to his religious faith. He put in a kick and local media leapt on the event. After an outcry in the blogosphere FAU administrators responded apologetically to the student and public, stating instructors would never repeat such an experiment with students. Even Florida Republican Governor Rick Scott, ever the opportunist, responded by chiding FAU administrators.

This was the famous, “Stomp on Jesus” incident, where FAU instructor Deandre Poole, an African American, was carrying out an exercise published in a widely-circulated communication studies textbook that asked students to write the name “Jesus” on a piece of paper, then see if they could draw themselves to drop the paper to the ground and place their foot over it.

After the incident was called out by conservative groups and Poole received death threats there was an outpouring by progressive left faculty members, students and community members, who placed pressure on the administration to defend Poole by publicly demonstrating in defense of  “academic freedom.”

Continue reading FAU Faculty Support Academic Freedom (Restrictions Apply)

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James Tracy Returns to FAU

Plants Flag on Boca Raton Campus

The two articles linked below discuss former FAU Professor James Tracy’s lecture in FAU Political Science Professor Marshall DeRosa’s April 5, 2018 Issues in American Politics class. Tracy presented a roughly 75-minute presentation on “The CIA and the Media.” The discussion was based on information from 1970s Congressional hearings and subsequent historical treatments of the phenomenon, which Tracy argued continues to this day. The presentation was followed by about 50 minutes of addressing questions from students.

Continue reading James Tracy Returns to FAU

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Through Jaundiced Eyes: Palm Beach Post, Sun-Sentinel’s Hardcore Bias in TracyvFAU Coverage

What Would Fair and Balanced Journalism Have Looked Like?

By James F. Tracy

The Palm Beach Post and South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s overall coverage of the December 2017 TracyvFAU trial looks as if it could have been written by the Defendant University’s “Department of Media Relations.” Post and Sun-Sentinel managements recognize how FAU’s multitude of advertising dollars is a key  support in their erroneous and uncritical reportage of complex public events and broader operations. With the trial each outlet skewed its reportage and editorial commentary to heavily favor the school, thereby securing for their client a positive verdict in South Florida’s court of public opinion.

One need look no further than the Post and Sun-Sentinel‘s article titles to gather an overview of the TracyvFAU’s editorial thrust:

-“Trial To Begin for Fired FAU Professor, Conspiracy Theorist James Tracy,” Sun Sentinel, November 27, 2017

-“Ex FAU Professor, Conspiracy Theorist James Tracy, Testifies about Firing in Free Speech Case,” Sun Sentinel, November 30, 2017

-“FAU Professor James Tracy Claims School Fired Him for Sandy Hook Rants,” Palm Beach Post, November 30, 2017

-“Ex-FAU Prof on Trial Tries To Downplay Attack on Sandy Hook Parents,” Palm Beach Post, December 1, 2017

-“FAU Prof Wasn’t Fired Because of Sandy Hook Blog, FAU Official Testifies,” Sun Sentinel,December 4, 2017

-“Christie: Tracy-vs-FAU More about Arrogance Than Free Speech, Insubordination,” PalmBeachPost.com, December 5, 2017

-“FAU Prof James Tracy’s Firing ‘Wasn’t a Surprise’ to Him, University Officials Say,” Sun Sentinel, December 5, 2017

-“What It Was Like in the Class of FAU’s Conspiracy-Spinning Professor,” Palm Beach Post, December 8, 2017

-“Claims against FAU by Sandy Hook Denier Headed To Federal Jury Monday,” Palm Beach Post, December 8, 2017

-“Jury Rules against Fired FAU Prof James Tracy in Free Speech Case,” Sun Sentinel, December 11, 2017

An editorial by Palm Beach Post opinions editor Rick Christie, arguing that the content of Tracy’s speech and disbelief in government-endorsed conspiracy theories make him “arrogant.”

In fact, the papers pulled their reporters from the courtroom entirely when crucial testimony was given by Professor Tracy’s colleagues and fellow union officers giving the lie to the central argument of FAU’s million-dollar defense—that Tracy consciously violated a school policy rigorously adhered to by all other faculty and employees.

Continue reading Through Jaundiced Eyes: Palm Beach Post, Sun-Sentinel’s Hardcore Bias in TracyvFAU Coverage

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