Preview of New Documentary on TracyvFAU Federal Civil Rights Case Now on Appeal
Independent Media Solidarity proudly presents the first preview of our new feature-length film, The Conspiracy Theorist: What Happened to James Tracy Could Happen to You. From the makers of We Need to Talk About Sandy Hook, this forthcoming documentary goes behind the scenes of the most important First Amendment legal battle of our time: Professor James Tracy’s firing for his controversial online speech.
In 2015 Florida Atlantic University abruptly terminated Professor Tracy under a false pretext. When Tracy filed a federal civil rights lawsuit his attorneys discovered how university officials repeatedly schemed to defeat Tracy’s First Amendment rights without violating the US Constitution.
After a corrupt federal court threw out most of Tracy’s claims it then prevented the jury from viewing crucial evidence. News outlets continued to denigrate Tracy while publicly misreporting the case. The Conspiracy Theorist sets the record straight through extensive interview footage of Tracy, his legal team, and university witnesses and defendants.
Today social media play a gigantic role in our everyday lives. Will something you or your loved ones say online one day make you the target of harassment and defamation, perhaps even resulting in the loss of your livelihood? What happened to James Tracy could happen to you.
James Tracy: In Solidarity with Alex Jones: US News Media Targeted Professor for Questioning Sandy Hook While Failing To Do Theirs – Fake News Indeed
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.
Ignores How FAU is Imposing an Unconstitutional Prior Restraint on Its Faculty
Editor’s Note: As we have noted (e.g. here, here, and here), the Palm Beach Post and South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s TracyvFAU coverage suggests how their editorial boards live in a parallel universe when it comes to accurately reporting on such a significant First Amendment case. One exhibit is the excerpted August 6 article below, the spin of which denigrates Tracy while defending major media’s dubious narrative of the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre event.
In this instance we acknowledge that court reporter Jane Musgrave must have in fact read the entire appellate brief (or larger portions thereof) than a previous story suggests since she accurately references the name of its principal author.
However, the report fundamentally misses the crux of the case itself. The TracyvFAU appeal does not simply involve “former Florida Atlantic University professor James Tracy[‘s] … right to call Sandy Hook a hoax,” or his “ongoing quest to get his job back,” as Musgrave’s simplistic storyline suggests.
Rather, the case and appeal encompass the guaranteed free speech rights of every university faculty member at FAU and throughout the United States. In fact, the newspaper disregards what we make perfectly clear in last week’s public statement on the appeal:
Here’s what the Post’s overall coverage of TracyvFAU (perhaps intentionally) overlooks: FAU is using a policy derived from Florida State Statute as a prior restraint that intimidates with the threat of formal discipline all FAU faculty and staff members from commenting on matters of public concern, or making practically any public remark that could potentially displease FAU administrators and/or trustees, State University System of Florida officials, or the Governor of Florida himself.
Academic freedom and free speech at American universities should not resemble that of Communist China’s. Yet it would be difficult to conceive of a policy that is more openly hostile to the fundamental academic freedom and free speech tenets of any self-respecting US university.
Fired FAU professor declares it’s his right to call Sandy Hook a hoax
Lashing out at his former bosses and a federal judge, former Florida Atlantic University professor James Tracy is back in court, again claiming he was wrongfully fired for publicly and repeatedly proclaiming that the Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax.
In his ongoing quest to get his job back, Tracy insists a federal jury got it wrong in December when it decided the university fired him for insubordination, rather than for his conspiracy theories about the 2012 Connecticut school shootingthat left 26 children and teachers dead.
“FAU fired Tracy in retaliation for controversial posts he made on his personal blog regarding the legitimacy of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre,” attorney Richard Ovelmen wrote in a 63-page appeal filed last week with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeal.
The university’s claims that it fired Tracy because he failed to report his work on his controversial blog, Memory Hole, are nothing more than a ruse, Ovelmen told the Atlanta-based appeals court.
As proof, Ovelmen points out that at least 20 other FAU professors regularly post their views on social media. None has been required to report their activity to school officials, much less been disciplined, he wrote.
FAU administrators targeted Tracy after news of his blog ignited a firestorm of protest with scores of letters and phone calls streaming into the Boca Raton-based school, demanding his ouster.
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.
An excerpt from #TracyvFAU appeal brief, filed yesterday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.
This is what an unconstitutional #PriorRestraint at a public university looks like.
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.
Attorney Louis Leo IV discusses James Tracy’s pending civil rights lawsuit against Florida Atlantic University with University of Minnesota Professor James Fetzer on GCN’s The Power Hour, Monday, April 23, 2018. Leo is the lead attorney representing Tracy in the federal civil rights lawsuit against the South Florida-based public university.
The two examine Tracy’s unlawful firing by Florida Atlantic University, the corrupt and fraudulent trial defense conducted by FAU’s corporate attorneys (who received significant aid from the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida), and the implications for public employees’ right of free speech and association in the wake of the decision. Leo and Fetzer also discuss the circumstances that led to Tracy’s termination by FAU officials, which followed a smear campaign by cyber trolls and major news media seeking to defend the Sandy Hook event’s official narrative.
One day after the interview was recorded, on April 24, US District Judge Robin L. Rosenberg issued a 31-page final order denying all post-trial motions, defending her October 31, 2017 summary judgement rulings in favor of FAU, and asserting that Plaintiff Tracy was provided with a fair trial in her courtroom. With the decisions the case now proceeds to the US 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.
James H. Fetzer: My guest for the second hour has distinguished himself by representing James Tracy, who is an Associate Professor of Communications and the Media at Florida Atlantic, who is seeking to protect the American people from an elaborate scam by investigating the aspects of Sandy Hook, in particular, Lenny Pozner’s claim to have a son, Noah, who died there.
James was a skeptic at the time, but he was exercising his diligence and responsibility on behalf of the public to ensure they weren’t take in by a scam which wound up looting the American people of somewhere between $27 and $130 million in donations in the false belief that there’d actually been a shooting massacre, and that these 20 children and six adults had died. Divided by the 26 families that were impersonating the survivors, they split and derived over a million bucks apiece.
I believe this is one of the reasons Lenny Pozner has been so ruthless in going after those of us that have been seeking to expose the truth. James Tracy turned out to be targeted, where Lenny published several articles in the South Florida newspapers, including the Jewish journal, Forward, the Sun-Sentinel and others. Tracy ended up losing his position over this. The university had a flimsy excuse, but none better to address the issues here than Louis Leo IV, who represented him. Louis has a website, peopleoverpolitics.org, and he has authored a brilliant overview of Tracy versus Florida Atlantic, titled, “Legalizing Pretext: How an American Public University Conspired to Beat the First Amendment.” Louis welcome to The Power Hour.
Louis Leo IV: Thanks for having me.
Fetzer: I’m just delighted. Perhaps you’d like to begin with a thumbnail overview of what happened here, and how this American university beat the First Amendment.
Leo: Well, I can tell you there are a lot of moving parts in this case, but we’re still waiting for the court to rule on post-trial motions, which include a Motion for Judgement as a Matter of Law, as well as a Motion for a New Trial. And, we’re still trying to figure out exactly what happened. I guess you can say it’s been a long and disturbing ride through the legal system in this case.
Fetzer: I was just going to add that I too am a colleague, a collaborator, with James Tracy, and I was the head of his legal defense fund, and I believe in this man one-hundred-percent. In fact, I can’t imagine a less likely target for an action like this than James Tracy. He is so principled. He is so measured. He is so thoughtful. He is so intelligent. And he was actually undertaking at act of what’s technically known as super arrogation—going beyond the call of duty in an effort to determine the facts of the matter, and protect the American public from fraud.
Fetzer: They wound up being subjected to a theft by deception, by misrepresenting what had happened there. Lenny Pozner, Neil Heslin and others have defrauded the American people of a vast sum, and have gone on this stupefying campaign for gun control that’s completely one-hundred-percent the opposite of the interests of the American people. Louis, go right ahead.
Leo: I should start by saying that the reason Dr. Tracy lost in this trial is because of deception and fraud in the court, and it’s something that the court sanctioned, using the rules of evidence. This is outlined in our motion that the court made the grave error in excluding from trial evidence that showed just how blatant and pretextual the use of this policy was to terminate a tenured professorship.
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.
“Do Americans live in a false reality created by orchestrated events?”—Paul Craig Roberts
Our nation’s leading public intellectual was thereby responding to our work on Sandy Hook and the Boston bombing, but the extent and depth of deception by the American government with regard to the American people has no bounds. We even have a candidate for the office of the President of the United States resorting to the use of body doubles to keep the public from learning of the dire state of her health, which is copiously documented here. This is not theory: this is fact! The people are being played with the complicity of the mainstream media.