Indiana U Decision; New TracyvFAU Video Series
November 25, 2019
November 25, 2019
It all began in January 2013 when a media firestorm ensued over a handful of blog posts Florida Atlantic University Professor James Tracy wrote discussing the anomalous news coverage of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.
The controversy reached a crescendo when CNN’s Anderson Cooper sent reporters to FAU’s Boca Raton campus to pursue Tracy, then fumed incredulously over Tracy’s comments on his primetime news show.
Following FAU’s termination of Tracy in 2016 the fired professor requested his complete personnel file from the public university. Among the several hundred documents were a collection of notes hand-written by Tracy’s supervisor and dean, Heather Coltman, which were taken during administrative meetings addressing “JT”.
As Cooper took to the airwaves, Coltman joined top FAU administrators and attorneys to discuss ways to discipline or terminate Tracy. This presented a particularly thorny situation because the professor’s blog was protected by the First Amendment. Could Tracy’s speech be considered “misconduct”? “When was [the] disclaimer put on” his blog? How else could the professor’s speech activities be construed as a “violation of the CBA [Collective Bargaining Agreement]”?
After reading his blog and conferring with him briefly, Coltman concluded that Tracy was “not going to stop publishing”. The group thus resolved that he would somehow have to be reprimanded without attracting the public attention that might raise the ire of civil rights groups and FAU’s faculty union.
As the group continued to strategize it became evident that Tracy’s blog clearly fell under the First Amendment’s purview. “[A]cademic freedom,” was not at issue “because this was not academic”, Coltman wrote. A “hobby is diff[erent] from work at a univ[ersity]” and FAU officials didn’t want to be publicly perceived as “police[ing] people’s private lives.”
One way to get around the “1st Amendment,” was to “find winning metaphors,” that might create an avenue for terminating Tracy while providing “talking points” for FAU once they finally dropped the hammer.
During discovery and at trial FAU officials were loathe to acknowledge these incriminating documents. Although Coltman was “able to explain away all of the other notes she had recorded from her meetings in 2013,” attorney Louis Leo IV writes in his comprehensive overview of the TracyvFAU case, “Legalizing Pretext,”
Dean Coltman suffered selective memory loss when questioned at deposition and at trial about her note, “1st Amendment – finding winning metaphors”.
While FAU officials may not have wanted to remember or acknowledge what the note meant, anyone with common sense knows what it means. Government officials were looking for a pretext to retaliate against Professor Tracy for his protected speech.
So, what was the winning metaphor? In this case, it was a vague, confusing and selectively enforced school policy called the “Conflict of Interest/Outside Activities” Policy. It goes by many other names at FAU, including most often used “Outside Employment”, “Outside Business” or “Outside Activities” Policy.
Prior to Professor Tracy’s termination in January 2016, the Policy had never before been used to discipline, let alone terminate, a tenured faculty member for failing to report uncompensated online speech.
FAU’s million dollar legal team maintains that Tracy was merely terminated for insubordination because he failed to disclose his blogging to school officials for approval. This theme was dutifully parroted by South Florida news media, Weeks before trial the federal judge accepted this argument and nullified most of Tracy’s pleadings of their First Amendment challenges in her October 31, 2017 summary judgement order.
Before the US Court of Appeals FAU continues to hold that Tracy’s termination cannot be understood through a First Amendment lens. Consequently FAU still applies an “unconstitutionally-vague, content-restrictive” policy that at any time can be enforced as a prior restraint on any FAU professor or employee’s speech or activity that administrators for any reason deem undesirable. According to FAU, this practice does not present a civil rights concern and should remain immaterial under the US Constitution and federal rule of law.
This Thursday September 19 both sides will argue before a panel of 11th Circuit appellate judges whether FAU’s “Outside Activities Policy” was in fact the “winning metaphor” used to defeat the First Amendment.
Additional information on the oral argument venue is available here.
Dr. Suzanne Humphries explains how today’s notion of “informed consent” concerning the practice of vaccination is really “manufactured consent,” a consequence she traces to a $10 billion initiative by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that has enabled the World Health Organization to vastly reshape public sentiment toward vaccination and public health.
Manufactured consent has involved a vigorous ten year public relations effort centering on vaccine promotion and active suppression of any views running counter to this central propaganda campaign.
“You would think, as with other medical procedures,” Dr. Humphries explains,
that solid science would be at the core of patient information and consent. The reality is that the choices you make medically have never been on the basis of informed consent … In 1997 the World Health Organization formulated a strategy which was put into a book called, The Strategic Plan, which laid out a map to completely change the way people thought about vaccines. The plan had key points, which were used in the media to structure messages that changed public opinion to co-opt or persuade key opinion people in all levels of society–medical, lay and entertainment–to get pro-vaccine spokespeople at every level saying one message, and one message only.
[Editor’s Note: Once upon a time gun racks were a common staple inside every other pickup truck. The menacing specter of active shooters and mass shootings that so haunts the American psyche today seemed as distant and foreign as an invasion from mars. As the article below suggests, a right of passage for many boys growing up in rural or semi-rural America includes owning a firearm, which is used for target practice and even hunting small game, if their family’s are so inclined.
This author recalls how special it was to acquire his first BB gun at age 10 (a Daisy!), and a few years later a 22 caliber rifle. The rudiments of gun safety were emphasized, and I cannot recall any shooting accidents in our community, much less willful intent to harm, that resulted in even minor firearm injuries. Fast forward 40 years. Although mass shooting fatalities today constitute a very small fraction of the overall murder rate, and violent crime in the US is considerably lower than it was 30 years ago, major media propagandize mass casualty events to such a degree vis-a-vis political leaders’ pronouncements that it is difficult not to conclude there’s much more going here than meets the eye.]
Charles C.W. Cooke
(January 21, 2013)
Once upon a time, it was common for an American child to be packed off to school with a rifle on his back and for him to come home smiling and safe in the evening. Shooting clubs, now quietly withering away, were once such a mainstay of American high-school life that in the first half of the 20th century they were regularly installed in the basements of new educational buildings. Now, they are in their death throes, victims of political correctness, a willful misunderstanding of what constitutes “gun safety,” and our deplorable tendency toward litigiousness.
In 1975, New York state had over 80 school districts with rifle teams. In 1984, that had dropped to 65. By 1999 there were just 26. The state’s annual riflery championship was shut down in 1986 for lack of demand. This, sadly, is a familiar story across the country. The clubs are fading from memory, too. A Chicago Tribune report from 2007 notes the astonishment of a Wisconsin mother who discovered that her children’s school had a range on site. “I was surprised, because I never would have suspected to have something like that in my child’s school,” she told the Tribune. The district’s superintendent admitted that it was now a rarity, confessing that he “often gets raised eyebrows” if he mentions the range to other educators. The astonished mother raised her eyebrows — and then led a fight to have the range closed. “Guns and school don’t mix,” she averred. “If you have guns in school, that does away with the whole zero-tolerance policy.”
In an October 2018 post on his WellAware1.com site and accompanying video published on YouTube Edward Chiarini AKA “DallasGoldbug” theorizes that James Tracy is really Marvin Bush, son of US President George H.W. Bush, and the younger brother of President George W. Bush and Florida Governor “Jeb” Bush. What is more, Tracy is in reality working for the Department of Homeland Security HSEEP program.
The evidence includes a photo taken by the Palm Beach Post during the December 2017 trial as we entered the Federal Courthouse in West Palm Beach. (The photo in fact appears as if it has been Photoshopped to enlarge the forehead and make us look about 30 pounds heavier than we actually are.)
Prefatory Note on Censorship in Academe
This study was written in 2013-14 as part of my academic research as Associate Professor of Media Studies at Florida Atlantic University. I have had numerous papers addressing news coverage of historical events published in academic journals over the past two decades. However, this was the first attempt to offer a scholarly treatment of a research object related to a conspiracy–how the news media “framed” New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison’s JFK assassination inquiry.
When I presented the paper at the Association For Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Montreal Conference in 2014 the panel respondent congratulated me on what he deemed to be a very well-researched and written manuscript. He further remarked that it was at most a draft or two away from submission for editorial review at a scholarly journal. I was also confident the study would eventually achieve publication.
The paper was subsequently rejected by five journals out-of-hand. The editors refused to even send the paper out for review, which never occurred to me before. Notably, each editor provided a different reason for not wanting to give it further consideration. What is more, three of the venues had published my work in previous years. The paper nevertheless offers a timely contribution to understanding the historical origins of the term “conspiracy theory” and its development from perhaps the most momentous event in 20th century American politics.
This helped me to further realize how despite celebrated notions of unbridled inquiry and academic freedom, certain subjects so historically central to the nation’s history in fact remain taboo among academics–those entrusted by society to research such matters–vis-á-vis their counterparts in professional journalism, with both camps still proceeding in tacit agreement to police the boundaries of permissible discourse and thought. -JFT
“It appears that certain elements of the mass media have an active interest in preventing this case from ever coming to trial at all and find it necessary to employ against me every smear device in the book.” –Jim Garrison (Playboy 1967)
The news media’s failure to interrogate and question the “the lone assassin” theory by the 1964 Presidents Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, otherwise known as the Warren Commission, should be recognized as one of the greatest episodes of journalistic misconduct in US history. The mass media have played a pivotal role in the coverup of the Kennedy (JFK) assassination that they unabashedly practice to this day. New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison’s investigation of the November 22, 1963 event was the first substantial challenge to the official narrative. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) countered Garrison’s efforts by calling upon its media assets to directly attack, defame, even sabotage the inquiry.
From this episode the CIA developed one of its most potent psychological weapons against political dissent: the “conspiracy theory” label. Over its 50-year lifespan the label has time and again demonstrated its effectiveness in policing the public sphere by calling into question the credibility and even the sanity of journalists, academics, or any other public figure that dares question authorized myths for the masses.
A CSPAN video from 2017 that surfaced in early October depicts Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi explaining how to defame someone via the “wrap up smear.”
“You smear somebody with falsehoods and all the rest, and then you merchandise it.”
“The difference,” Pelosi continues, “is we don’t engage in the politics of personal destruction.” While she suggests this is a Republican Party tactic, her own party is the most prolific source of late in the “wrap up smear’s” deployment.
This manipulation of public opinion toward a specific object is accomplished in de facto coordination with a news media that simply don’t check the facts or circumstances surrounding allegations.