AFP AUDIO INTERVIEW
Perhaps no recent event has ignited more controversy than what did or did not unfold at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012.
Dave Gahary sat down with prolific conspiracy researcher Professor James H. Fetzer, who discusses the firing of tenured Professor James F. Tracy, one of the top media analysts in the country, from Florida Atlantic University’s School of Communication & Multimedia Studies, who gained notoriety for his questioning the ways the mainstream media presented their coverage of the Sandy Hook Elementary School event.
Softcover, 425 pages
Professor’s Firing Reveals Universities’ Shift Toward Political Correctness
• Florida Atlantic formally dismisses Ph.D. conspiracy theorist
By Dave Gahary
As this newspaper reported in the January 4 & 11 edition in the article entitled “Free Speech Clampdown” by Victor Thorn, various commercial enterprises and institutions are slowly drawing the noose around freedom of speech in this once-great nation, enshrined in the Constitution’s First Amendment. Although the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights is meant to apply primarily to the United States federal government in its dealings with the states and their citizens, the tradition of free speech has been ensconced throughout the country over the nearly 240 years since that remarkable document was first adopted.
Thorn’s article discussed James F. Tracy, Ph.D. a tenured professor who taught a course at the public Florida Atlantic University (FAU) entitled “Culture of Conspiracy,” that examined “the relationship between commercial and alternative news media and socio-political issues and events.”
Tracy had been issued a notice of intent from FAU to fire him on Dec. 16 “for not keeping his affiliation with the university separate from his personal writings on the Internet.”
As promised, and as expected by many observers, Tracy was informed on January 6 that that Friday would be his last day.
Tracy’s crime, explained Thorn: “denying the narrative promoted by Obama administration officials and the mainstream media in regard to Sandy Hook.”
This writer interviewed Tracy around two years earlier, when he was beginning to feel the heat from his unorthodox, politically incorrect views. At that time, Tracy discussed why he began to doubt the official story of the Sandy Hook Elementary School event, the repercussions of his viewpoints, and the state of free speech in America, as well as other topics. The interview lasted over an hour, and this writer, who has interviewed hundreds of guests, including many in the public eye, such as Hillary Clinton, Jon Corzine, and Jesse Ventura, found Tracy to be the quintessential academic. After all, college is supposed to be a place where students should be encouraged to open their minds to all possibilities, not just those of the ruling elite.
In fact, during that interview, Tracy summed up succinctly the issue at hand:
“I wouldn’t be involved in studying the media and commenting on it and critiquing it, if I were not able to talk about the political element of it, because all media, especially news media, are political by their very nature.”
Tracy has not initiated a lawsuit against FAU, but he has hired an attorney. He agreed to comment via email to AMERICAN FREE PRESS on this rather sad matter on the state of free speech in America.
“I have been under a gag order by the union and the attorney the union has retained,” he wrote. “My wife, who’s a librarian at FAU is saddened that this could be allowed to happen.”
Tracy and his wife have four young children, a mortgage, and the typical responsibilities most of us need to meet every waking day.
Curiously, this past September, senior administrators at FAU attempted to institute a “post tenure review policy,” which would give a star chamber-type board “the ability to potentially terminate any tenured faculty member.” As Tracy explained in an article he wrote on this matter, tenure “has . . . been recognized as a central tenet of academic freedom because it insulates faculty from the political interests and whims of their institutions’ administrators and trustees.”
“Universities began granting tenure to professors in 1915,” Tracy wrote.
“Only about 25% of faculty at present have tenure or are on track to get it,” he later explained in an email to this writer.
“In my view, tenure is like free speech to American citizens: Faculty have it but seldom if ever use it,” Tracy added.
Although Tracy doubts that “the policy was geared just at me,” pointing to “some stragglers on campus, no doubt, who abuse the system, don’t produce any research and/or are lousy teachers,” the possibility exists that politically connected senior administrators at FAU were attempting to put a law on the books that would allow for Tracy’s removal.
Significantly, FAU’s founding was marked with the most political of beginnings. The first degree ever awarded at FAU was an honorary doctorate given to President Lyndon B. Johnson on October 25, 1964, at its opening and dedication.
Dave Gahary, a former submariner in the U.S. Navy, is the host of AFP’s ‘Underground Interview’ series. He prevailed in a suit brought by the New York Stock Exchange in an attempt to silence him.