In Defense of Free Speech: The 2010 Jefferson Muzzle Awards

Every year the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression in Charlottesville, Va., awards "Jefferson Muzzles" to organizations that stifle free speech. This year's first place award goes to the attempt at stifling speech by Congressman Alan Grayson (D-FL). As the Center explains:

In late 2009 a group of Orlando-area Republican activists led by Angie Langley launched a website targeting U.S. Representative Alan Grayson (D-FL). The site, titled “mycongressmanisnuts.com” is a parody of Grayson’s official website “congressmanwithguts.” 

The spoof website lambasts Rep. Grayson and raises funds with the aim of unseating the Congressman next election.On December 15, 2009, just a few months after the site’s launch, Grayson wrote a four-page complaint to Attorney General Eric Holder alleging that Langley’s operation of the website violates federal law because it fraudulently represents that Langley is a constituent of Grayson’s district when in fact she resides in a neighboring congressional district. Additionally, Grayson argues that Langley submitted paperwork to the Federal Elections Commission falsely stating that the local committee managing the website (which accepts donations for Grayson’s potential future opponents) supports or opposes more than one candidate. Grayson contends that this is fraudulent because the site is directed entirely towards him and does not mention any other candidates. “Therefore, Ms. Langley and the Committee should be fined, and Ms. Langley imprisoned for five years.” ...

Rep. Grayson’s urging the U.S. Attorney General to seek a 5 year prison sentence against a vocal critic for minor transgressions, even if proven, clearly merits censure. The right to criticize public officials without fear of government reprisal is a fundamental component of the First Amendment. As such, elected officials should both expect and tolerate criticism.

Another Jefferson Muzzle was awarded to the Alabama Alcoholic Control Board "for preventing the sale of a wine in the State of Alabama because the labels on the wine bottles showed a 19th century depiction of a nude nymph." One other went to the Oklahoma Tax Commission that refused to issue a vanity license plate reading "IM GAY." The same commission permitted license plates reading "STR8FAN" and "STR8SEXI."

For the whole list of this year's winners go here.

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  • ||

    Perhaps, like Lori Drew, they can prosecute her for improperly accessing a computer.

  • ed||

    The right to criticize public officials without fear of government reprisal is a fundamental component of the First Amendment.

    Or, as the anti-Grayson site so eloquently puts it:

    His behavior and approach is totally and utterly nuts.

  • ||

    Oh wow, now that looks like a lot of fun!

    Lou
    www.whos-watching.es.tc

  • ||

    You're usually more on topic than this, anon-bot. Are you feeling ok?

  • Mr. J||

    Anon-bot became self-aware at 6:36pm eastern time.

  • Comrade Zero||

    Call Rick Deckard

  • juris imprudent||

    So, someone called Grayson a nutcase and he promptly proved them right. Isn't being correct a prima facie defense against any form of defamation?

  • Horde4Lyfe||

    Yes, truth is an affirmative defense.

  • ||

    elected officials should both expect and tolerate criticism.

    This is the first rule of ANY profession. Grayson clearly has esteem and fragile ego issues. I'll bet he was breast fed until four years old and denied pacifiers when he was a toddler.

    And it is our civic duty, our responsibility to criticize our elected officials.

  • Old Mexican||

    The prize is well deserved. Keep up the "good work" there, Congressman Grayson . . . of a bitch.

  • Horde4Lyfe||

    Wow, good to see ya back OM. I missed your eloquent responses.

  • H. Protagonist||

    I'm pretty sure that "STR8TFAN" probably refers to George Strait, rather than the driver's sexual orientation.

  • ||

    Maybe they're a Mark Knopfler fan? Ever think of that?

  • ||

    One other went to the Oklahoma Tax Commission that refused to issue a vanity license plate reading "IM GAY."

    Perhaps this might explain why Tony is so disgruntled.

  • ||

    Jerri: Mr. Noblet wants me to snitch on a friend.

    Jellineck: Snitching doesn’t seem like you, Jerri.

    Jerri: Oh, it’s not what you think. It’s not like snitching on a real person. She's--

    Jellineck: Gay?

    Jerri: Retarded.

    Jellineck: Yes, most of them are.

    Jerri: Most who are what?

    Jellineck: Most gay people are retarded.

    Jerri: Does that mean Kimberly Timbers is gay?

    Jellineck: I don’t know. Hey! Make a pass at her and find out. She'd have to be retarded to turn you down!

  • Eric||

    I think someone had a typo and it is really for SRT8 Fan (which is a type of car).

  • Hank||

    How in the fuck does someone like Grayson get elected? I guess that question could be asked of more than too many of those fruitcakes in Washington. Alan Grayson, Corrine Brown, Al Franken, and Maxine Waters are "in charge" of passing legislation in this country. What a fucking nightmare.Frightening. I need to quit paying attention to this shit. Everytime I see an image of these asswipes, it's depressing. GD Krugman. Reason needs to set up some one-on-one debates. Something like a Krugman-Sowell showdown. Watching Sowell give Frances Fox Piven a beatdown was heart warming.

  • BakedPenguin||

    He goes against a dipshit like Ric Keller.

    Those were the only two choices; I didn't vote in that race, and I'm glad.

  • ||

    Keller spoke at my HS graduation. I can verify his dipshittiness.

  • Hockey Guy||

    Tar and feathers for Mr. Grayson.

    Didn't he just lose his mind, on tape, in a restaurant the other day?

  • Jeffersonian||

    Yeah, crashed a meeting at a Shoney's or something, then tried to order a woman taping his nutjobbery to cease and desist.

    He's like some deranged, evil elf.

  • ||

    Grayson is a piece of abject shit. 5 years for criticizing him? Langley needs to plaster this threat all over her site.

  • McCain-Feingold||

    The right to criticize public officials without fear of government reprisal is a fundamental component of the First Amendment. As such, elected officials should both expect and tolerate criticism.

    Not so fast...

  • TP||

    Why is it that Grayson doesn't seem to be that much of a douchebag when he's questioning Bernanke?

    C'mon, cut him some slack. He is, after all, a lawyer.

    Two lawyers were walking down Rodeo Drive, and saw a beatiful model walking towards them.

    "What a babe," one said, "I'd sure like to f*** her!"

    "Really?" the other responded, "Out of what?"

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Different version:

    A priest and a rabbi were walking down the street, and saw a prepubescent boy.

    "Let's fuck him," said the priest.

    "Out of what"?, said the rabbi.

  • cynical||

    Go infiltrate a Tea Party.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Why?

  • ||

    Oh I get it... because Rabbis are Jews and European Jews were historically limited to the banking and money-changing industries by oppressive Christian governments, leading to the stereotype that Jews are greedy and extort people for money. Funny.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Hey, it has a Catholic-priest-as-pedophile element, so it's offensive on more than one level.

    'Sides, I didn't make it up.

  • Jackie Mason||

    Meh, these schmendricks don't know from a good joke.

  • Mort Goldman||

    I'm just a character on Family Guy, and it made me shoot milk out of my nose. Oh, the mucous.

  • ||

    Everyone likes to make lawyer jokes... until they need one.

  • John Edwards||

    Um...

  • Alan Grayson||

    I'll get to work on making lawyer jokes illegal.

    Yeah, I'm that crazy, bitches.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    Never underestimate the power of denial.

    They still like lawyer jokes (who doesn't?), they just think that their lawyer is different.

  • Zeb||

    I don't know that they even think that. Most people just realize that the same qualities that make lawyers the object of disdain also make them effective at what they do. Which is good when they are on your side.

  • Horde4Lyfe||

    I'm a lawyer and love lawyer jokes.

  • ||

    I'm a lawyer and I think most other lawyers are emotional cripples.

  • Steff||

    Huckabee: Gays are like polygamists are like incest-practitioners are like prostitutes. Mind, it's from the AP, so I dunno how much I'd trust it, but still!

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/201.....y_marriage

  • Steff||

    Mike Huckabee, a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2012, says the effort to allow gays and lesbians to marry is comparable to legalizing incest, polygamy and drug use.

    Huckabee also told college journalists last week that gay couples should not be permitted to adopt. "Children are not puppies," he said.

    WTF.

  • Jeffersonian||

    Huck lost a little of his mind when he dropped that weight.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Mike Huckabee, a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2012, says the effort to allow gays and lesbians to marry is comparable to legalizing incest, polygamy and drug use.

    Well, he's right, assuming the incest was between consenting adults. None of them are any of the government's fucking business.

  • ||

    Chief Justice: Also, in a rare Double-Whammy decision, the court finds polygamy constitutional.

    Old Man Waterfall: I can't wait to tell my husband!

  • BakedPenguin||

    OMW: "You can crush me, but you can't crush my spirit!"

    (Mobile Oppression Palace crushes him).

    OMW: Ow! My spirit!

  • ||

    "I request a Satanic funeral!"

  • TP||

    Let's not forget the Big "B". Have we been a baaaaaaaad boy?

    Oh wait, PETA might have an objection to that.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Here ya go, TP. Enjoy.

  • TP||

    Interesting. But if you live in Armenia...

  • ||

    Incestuous marriages and polygamy (as opposed to the sex acts themselves) would be the government's business as long as it is in charge of marriage. But your analysis is correct -- Huckabee is right about the broader implications of the arguments for gay marriage.

  • Steff||

    Exactly: The government has no place regulating anything between consenting adults.

  • ||

    Another Jefferson Muzzle was awarded to the Alabama Alcoholic Control Board "for preventing the sale of a wine in the State of Alabama because the labels on the wine bottles showed a 19th century depiction of a nude nymph.

    Fucking atheists. Can't they just mind their own business?

  • BakedPenguin||

    SF, did Ron Bailey slip you $5 to see if you could get this thread to 500 posts?

  • ||

    He slipped me an envelope, but it was just full of expired Pizza Hut coupons. He's a monster.

  • cynical||

    I know, dude.

    Just because nymphs have a "religious" background doesn't mean that the bottle's label in a state liquor store suggests state support for ancient Greek mythology in violation of the establishment clause of the first amendment.

    It's just a once-religious, now secularized cultural thing, like Santa, which no atheist would ever complain about if he appeared in any vaguely government supported or endorsed context.

  • ||

    I know, it's just shocking how those nefarious atheists on the Alabama Alcoholic Control Board get away with stuff like this.

    And good point on Santa. You never see the poor guy anymore. Only having him appear in movies, TV shows, TV ads, billboards, radio spots, and in decorations on millions of homes in the US has made the guy practically invisible. Kids all over the country say "Who's Santa?" because they never see him down at the courthouse or the DMV.

    If there was only some way we could get around that stupid separation of church and state. Pesky Constitution! It's almost as if the Founding Fathers were somehow against theocracy. Probably secret atheists.

  • hmm||

    Grayson is certifiably crazy. I await my subpoena.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    So... where are our resident liberals, defending this First Amendment-fucking by Grayson's goon squad?

  • Eric Holder||

    This is just the beginning. Pretty soon, all anti-government dissent will be a crime.

    Unless Republicans regain the majority. Then THEY'LL deal with you.

  • qwerty||

    because dissent is only patriotic when a Republican is in charge

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    No, Republicans hate dissent, too.

  • Hillary Clinton||

    • I'm sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and disagree with this administration, somehow you're not patriotic. We need to stand up and say we're Americans, and we have the right to debate and disagree with any administration.

  • Hillary Clinton||

    * Unless it's a Democratic administration.

  • j.i.am||

    I'm ambivalent on Alan Grayson. As congressman he fails. But if I wanted someone I could leash to a fence post in my front yard to ward off intruders, he's perfect.

  • edhardy||

    Thanks for sharing !So nice to see you !I will buy a wallet for my best friend!welcome to http://www.donedhardy.name

  • Jefferson Muzzle||

    Maybe we could nominate Nick Gillespie, for banning Jamie Kelly from Hit & Run for using the word "nigger".

  • ||

    I thought they banned that label because it promoted drunk bicycling.

  • norfatimah sancopan||

    good luck for u and as a representative also i will support your opinion

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