Who Does the Newspaper Truly Serve & ‘Report’ To?
FAU Professor James Tracy has occupied a unique position from which to critique dishonest, lazily-produced, and thinly-veiled propaganda presented as “news.” He has been a prime target of national news media for his controversial views and analyses of public events. More recent coverage has been addressed at some length on this site (e.g. here, here and here).
Now the Palm Beach Post has upped the ante, actually classifying Tracy’s civil rights battle against FAU as “crime.”
In August 2018, Tracy filed an appeal of the lower court’s TracyvFAU with the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which will be heard before a panel of judges on September 19, 2019. The final appeal brief was filed the following November.
While South Florida news media provided florid, wall-to-wall coverage of the TracyvFAU trial taking place in West Palm Beach in late 2017, there has been scant reporting of the important appeal in the same media. The Palm Beach Post has carried one story upon the federal appeal filing, while the South Florida Sun-Sentinel hasn’t even mentioned the action, with its presumably final story noted that the pro forma appeal for a retrial in the lower court was denied.
In a recent review of the Post‘s single story, it’s notable that the paper’s editors classify the important civil rights appeal as a “crime.” That’s right, the staff actually filed the report in the news outlet’s online crime section.
According to the newspaper’s editors, a professor questioning FAU’s unconstitutionally vague “Outside Employment/Activities Policy” is a criminal. The Post‘s Crime News page is the same blue collar crime department that carries reports of murders, rapes, and car-jackings, accompanied by police mugshots of the alleged perpetrators.
This is likely no mistake. The Palm Beach Post now believes it’s a crime for any individual to question the news media’s often confusing reportage of complex events–particularly a college professor who might be given some measure of public credibility.
By failing to accept the court’s conclusions in TracyvFAU, and having the temerity to ask for a higher court’s review, James Tracy, in the judgement of South Florida’s corporate news media, has committed a “crime.”
Further, the Post‘s story title, “Fired FAU Professor Declares It’s His Right to Call Sandy Hook a Hoax,” is clearly misleading and inflammatory, as is the sloppy reporting itself.
For example, Court reporter Jane Musgrave writes,
University administrators and others might not like his views that the school shooting and other tragedies, such as the Oklahoma City and Boston Marathon bombings, were staged by the government to promote gun control. But Tracy has a constitutional right to express them, [his attorney] said.
Any observer of the proceedings by now knows Tracy never made any claims or inferences that the Oklahoma City and Boston Marathon bombings were “staged by the government to promote gun control.” In fact, he’s even been consistently careful not to affirm the notion that “nobody died at Sandy Hook.” Perhaps this is a reason Vice interviewed him for several hours in early 2018, but then failed to air even a few seconds of the interview.
In fact, none of the appeal briefs even mention the Oklahoma City or Boston Marathon bombings. But as far as Musgrave and Post editors are concerned, anything goes when seeking to further defame Tracy and “his ongoing quest to get his job back.”
This form of hype and flagrant inaccuracy suggests the newspaper management’s contempt not only Tracy’s “quest,” but also for its readership’s intelligence and discernment.
In its service to power the Post and Sentinel have predictably turned a blind eye to other unlawful acts that Tracy has sought to shed light on, specifically FAU police officers accessing his private driver’s license information.
In the end these escapades shouldn’t be surprising. One can certainly make the argument that the Post‘s coverage isn’t even intended to satisfy the informational needs of its readership. As the end of the day its publisher and staff are keenly aware of the powerful area interests they must placate. Its reportage thus plays to the very select “gallery” of Palm Beach County’s most powerful and affluent individuals.
With the aid of South Florida “journalists” these parties and their ilk will apparently do anything to deprive a “conspiracy theorist” of his tenured public university post.
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