Tag Archives: United Faculty of Florida

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.

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TracyvFAU — Civil Rights Case Garners National Media Coverage

professortracy
Image Credit: Jim Kirkland @JimBoKirdland #TracyvFAU

The James Tracy Legal Defense Fund‘s activities have come to fruition in a very significant way. As may MHB readers already know, James Tracy v. FAU et al. was filed in United States District Court on April 25, 2016. The case has thus far been covered by an array of national media, including CBS, the Washington Post, the New York Times, Newsweek, and Inside Higher Ed. 

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Fired professor, James Tracy, sues his University

Jon Rappoport
jonrappoport.wordpress.com

James Tracy, a tenured professor at Florida Atlantic University, was fired because he dared to express his contrarian views and lay out his research about the Sandy Hook shooting.

rappoportTracy did so as a private citizen on his blog. He made that clear.

But the University didn’t care. They ripped away his tenure and job.

Now Tracy is suing. As he should. Because the issue is a little thing called the 1st Amendment.

I’ve read his court filing. It appears to me that Tracy’s own union took his side and then betrayed him. It appears to me that the University cooked up a fake reason for firing him: he didn’t send in a vaguely worded form they wanted him to sign.

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PROFESSOR JAMES TRACY FILES CIVIL RIGHTS LAWSUIT AGAINST FLORIDA ATLANTIC UNIVERSITY & FACULTY UNION

University’s Policies and Actions Threaten Faculty Due Process and Free Speech Throughout the United States

““Tenure, free speech, due process and academic freedom are under attack. Without judicial intervention, employees and faculty at Florida Atlantic University and other universities around the United States, will continue to be censored, deterred or chilled from sharing unpopular information or opinions for fear that they will be disciplined on a pretext.”-Attorney Louis Leo IV

April 25, 2016, West Palm Beach, Florida – Former Florida Atlantic University (“FAU”) Professor James Tracy, who was fired from his tenured faculty position in January, has filed a civil rights suit against the University, several top school officials, and his faculty union constitutionrepresentatives, alleging that the firing violated his First Amendment right to free speech and other constitutional rights, including his right to due process, in addition to the University’s long-standing principles of academic freedom.

Dr. James Tracy, filed the lawsuit Monday in a U.S. federal court in the Southern District of Florida, in Palm Beach County, represented by the Florida Civil Rights Coalition and Medgebow Law.

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“The Truth About Tenure in Higher Education”

National Education Association
American Federation of Teachers

[Editor’s note: The National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers are the highly politicized parent organizations (e.g. here and  here) of the United Faculty of Florida (UFF). The UFF is the same faculty union FAU Professor James Tracy belonged to at the time of his termination by FAU administrators on January 6, 2016. Tracy was of UFF-FAU chapter president in 2009-2011 when the FAU administration summarily fired five professors in the university’s College of Engineering (here and here). Perhaps coincidentally, the following essay was directly referenced in Lenny and Veronique Pozner’s inflammatory December 10 article published by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that appears to have prompted Tracy’s firing. Today few US faculty actually challenge the status quo, and thus one could make the argument (which NEA/AFT counter below) that tenure may have merely become the guarantee of a handsome sinecure that guarantees the institutional continuity of politically innocuous schools of thought and overall ideological conformity .-JFT]

aft-hillary
NEA and AFT have enthusiastically endorsed Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. Image Credit: American Federation of Teachers

You may well have heard about attacks on tenure and college faculty. After all, people write books and get quoted in the press grinding this ax. The argument is not hard to believe, either; we’ve all seen people in authority, private and public, who care more about protecting themselves than serving their customers. You may have memories of a teacher who didn’t seem to keep up with his or her subject or care very much about his or her students.

But there’s a big problem with the negative polemics about tenure: They are not true. This NEA-AFT Online brochure deals with some of the myths about tenure and responds with the facts. It tells the truth about tenure — a human institution with flaws — but a practice we can be proud of and need to maintain.

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