The Knucklehead of the Day award
Today's winner is Florida Keys Community College President Bill Seeker. He gets the award for the following.
Florida Keys Community College President Bill Seeker has rescinded a Dec. 4 letter canceling all advertisements, printing contracts and most subscriptions with The Citizen in retaliation for its news coverage, but the legal battle over Seeker's action continues.Just the latest chapter in educated people acting ever so dumb. Mr. Seeker's obvious ignorance of the first amendment is a sign of stupidity or arrogance or possibly both. The college is a public institution, publicly funded and therefore to be publicly scrutinized and means the press. Hooray for John Kent Cooke Jr who stood up for the first amendment rather than roll over for a few dollars.
U.S. Southern District Judge James Lawrence King set an emergency hearing for 10 a.m. Tuesday in Miami. Cooke Communications, owner of The Citizen and weekly Solares Hill and the Free Press newspapers, is seeking an injunction to deter future retribution.
"When a government agency is doing something that is illegal, then they just voluntarily stop, the law says there's no way to know if they're going to do it again," said Cooke Communications attorney Robert Rivas of Sachs Sax Klein in Tallahassee. "The fact that they say they're not going to do it again is not enough. We're entitled to a judgment that says they cannot do it."
John Kent Cooke Jr., publisher of Cooke Communications, said the principle behind the lawsuit transcends money matters.
"We will continue to defend our First Amendment right to provide readers with valuable information that matters to them without the threat of retribution from publicly funded institutions," he said. "This is a serious matter and one that cannot be treated casually, as Mr. Seeker has, by simply stating that he has changed his mind."
In his first letter, Seeker said the college no longer would support newspapers that "choose to trash our institution with unbalanced news, editorial spin and blatant disregard for our professional employees." The Citizen has quoted only people at public meetings who spoke negatively of the college, and failed to cover its graduation for three consecutive years, he wrote.
The Citizen responded to the Dec. 4 letter with the lawsuit, which Cooke said the company will pursue.
"Mr. Seeker's attempt to penalize The Citizen for reporting the news is an effort to quash our newspaper from fulfilling its responsibility to readers," Cooke said. "It is an attack on the freedom of the press. It's an attack on the people of Monroe County, who depend on The Citizen and its related newspapers to accurately, fairly and objectively report the news."
In his second letter, Seeker said he had reconsidered his position.
"Please understand that my decision to maintain our business relationship in no way reflects a change in my opinion that responsible journalism requires balanced reporting with regard to the college," Seeker wrote.
For trying to squash freedom of the press with public money, Florida Keys Community College President Bill Seeker is today's Knucklehead of the day.
Hat tip- Bob at The Daily Pulp who has some excellent commentary on this story
Linked to- Basil's Blog, Bright & Early, Cao's Blog, Jo's Cafe, Pirate's Cove, Planck's Constant, Right Wing Guy, Right Wing Nation, Third World County, Wakeup America, Outside the Beltway,
Labels: Knucklehead of the Day