Jefferson Muzzles 2006 Top Award Winner?—President Bush


Each year, the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression, headquartered in Charlottesville, Virginia, issues its annual list of Jefferson Muzzle Awards. The Muzzles are "awarded as a means to draw national attention to abridgments of free speech and press and, at the same time, foster an appreciation for those tenets of the First Amendment."

This year's first place Muzzle went to President George W. Bush, "for unilaterally authorizing warrantless NSA wiretapping of the conversations of presumably innocent U.S. citizens."

Other notable efforts to squelch freedom of expression recognized with Jefferson Muzzles included the demand by the U.S. Justice Department that several search engine companies turn over data on their users to it; FCC chairman Kevin Martin's call for applying federal "decency" regulations to satellite and cable TV content; hecklers at the University of Connecticut for shouting down rightwing scream-mistress Ann Coulter; New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's attempt to shut down an exhibition of graffiti art; several high school principals' censorship of school newspaper articles dealing with teen sex and sexuality; and many more.