Sunday, April 13, 2008

Not So Free Speech

The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression has awarded its 17th annual Muzzle Awards, one of which is a lifetime achievement award to the FCC for "its inconsistent and unpredictable standards for determining what constitutes 'indecent' broadcasting." Others cited by the Center include:

  • FEMA, for staging a fake news conference about federal assistance to victims of the California wildfires, where FEMA employees pretended to be reporters and lobbed softball questions, real reporters were essentially shut out.
  • the New York Department of Motor Vehicles for recalling a man's vanity license plates, which read GETOSAMA, for no valid reason. He sued and won a settlement allowing him to keep the plates).
  • the Scranton Police Department for charging a woman with disorderly conduct for screaming profanities at an overflowing toilet inside her own house. Her next door neighbor, an off-duty cop, heard her exclamations and arrested her. That case was dismissed by a judge, too.
  • The Texas Democratic Party for refusing to allow Dennis Kucinich on the presidential primary ballot because he wouldn't to sign a pledge to fully support the eventual Democratic nominee.