posted on Apr, 13 2004 @ 10:30 AM
The 2004 Muzzle Awards include stellar
names such as Judge Mirian Godlman Cedarbaum, the U.S. Department of Defense, CBS Television, and more. Beginning in 1992, the Muzzle Awards have been
given to individuals and groups who forget that it's impossible to limit free speech without loosing it. As the award organizers have noted,
disregard of First Amendment ideals is not the symptom of any particular political outlook, and threats to free expression occur from all over the
U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum
Without question, the criminal investigation and prosecution of homemaking diva Martha Stewart and her former stockbroker Peter Bacanovic generated
immense media coverage. So much so that prosecutors in the case requested that the public and press be denied access to the courtroom to observe the
jury selection process. United States District Court Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum granted the request. In arriving at this decision, Judge
Cedarbaum reasoned that potential jurors would be more candid in their responses to questioning if the press were not present. She was also
influenced by the fact a member of the jury pool had posted a question from the jury survey on the Internet.
The United States Department of Defense
Soon after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the Bush administration announced its intention to make use of military tribunals for the
trial of yet undesignated enemy combatants. The precise policies and regulations that would govern such tribunals were yet to be developed, but would
be announced in the future. During the spring of 2003, the Department of Defense issued such policies. Several provisions evoked immediate media
interest, and drew critical comments from civil libertarians and defense attorneys.
Two very different events, some months apart, occasion this citation - the third Jefferson Muzzle for CBS Television. In the fall of 2003, the
network announced plans to broadcast a mini-series about former President and Mrs. Ronald Reagan, production of which had begun at ABC and taken four
years. The series would have enhanced CBS' audience appeal during sweeps week, and had been highly touted. But two weeks before the broadcast date,
the network cancelled "The Reagans" following a barrage of criticism from friends and family of the revered former President, who had learned of
material they viewed as unsympathetic and/or inaccurate. Michael Reagan, a conservative talk-show host, charged that the series "is all about
dismantling my father, dismantling the conservative movement and tearing down Ronald Reagan as we go into an election year." Other conservatives
expressed similar dismay, threatened boycotts of CBS and demanded the series' cancellation.
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