Issue 95, Fall 2004

  • Bill Nevins, a New Mexico teacher, sued the Rio Rancho School District for not renewing his contract after students read anti-Iraq war poetry in class and in public (CN 94). Although the district claimed Nevins was not rehired for other reasons, he won a $205,000 settlement.
  • Widespread questioning by the FBI of political protestors has prompted legislators on the House Judiciary Committee to seek a Justice Department investigation. Representatives John Conyers, Jr. of Michigan, Jerrold Nadler of New York and Robert C. Scott of Virginia, alarmed by recent reports in the New York Times, have charged that FBI inquiries appeared to represent "systemic political harassment and intimidation of legitimate antiwar protestors"
  • In the latest battle in the television "decency" debate, Concerned Women for America and Parents Television Council are leading the charge for "cable a la carte." Cable operators currently package programs to appeal to a diverse audience, including "niche" markets that might otherwise be economically unfeasible. "Cable a la carte" would require operators to offer channels individually rather than as a package, and could make some programming options more vulnerable to consumer complaints. CWA and PTC also want the government to offer a "family-friendly" basic programming package, likely placing the Federal Communications Commission in the dangerous position of playing content police. Many civil rights and religious organizations believe "cable a la carte" would jeopardize diversity in programming, drive community-based channels out of the market, and increase consumer prices.
  • NCAC and the ACLU of Colorado are protesting the removal of several works of art from The Luggage Project at the Denver International Airport. Employees called the art "disturbing" and "offensive" for including box cutters, splattered red paint, and political bumper stickers.
  • In McAllen, Texas, the International Museum of Art and Science removed Rene Garza‘s sculpture of a globe constructed of gas station signs and mufflers sitting on an oil barrel, fearing to alienate major oil and energy industry contributors.
  • New and Noteworthy:

    Censored 2005 (Seven Stories Press), is a compilation of the year’s 25 most significant news stories that were overlooked or underreported by the country’s major media, including one from Censorship News 91.