Thursday, June 27, 2013

WGBH 16th Annual Muzzle Awards

WGBH in Boston announced the winners of their 16th annual "Muzzle" Award. They honor those folks who have done their best to thwart freedom of the press.

This year, northern New England had two winners!

Maine Governor Paul LePage gets his third "Muzzle" since he took office. (This is his third year in office).

Editors at the Bangor Daily News must have known their request for public documents about concealed-gun permits last February would be controversial. After all, The Journal News of White Plains, NY, had already set off a firestorm by publishing an interactive map of gun owners on its website.
But the reaction to the BDN was so intense that it called into question the very nature of “public” records. State legislators, especially Republicans, denounced the newspaper. A “Boycott Bangor Daily News Don’t [sic] Tread on Us” page popped up on Facebook.
The BDN was clear that they had no intention of publishing personal information about gun owners.  
LePage recently secured his 4th Muzzle when he announced he'd no longer speak to 3 of the state's largest newspapers
And speaking of petty tyrants, New Hampshire was also an award winner.  Disgraced Former Speaker of the NH House Bill O'Brien won his "Muzzle" for the day he refused to admit Concord Monitor reporter Annmarie Timmins into a press conference, because he was miffed about a cartoon that had appeared in the paper. Annmarie didn't draw the cartoon - but the petty tyrant took his miffage out on her. 
William O’Brien is not one to brook much in the way of back talk. When a protest broke out in the House gallery during a budget hearing in the spring of 2011, he ordered state police to kick everyone out.
A year later, a fellow Republican legislator became so upset with what he saw as O’Brien’s attempts to silence him that he directed a toxic remark at the Speaker: “Seig Heil.” The legislator was ejected from the chamber and forced to apologize.
The cartoon was the direct result of the "Seig Heil" incident. 
This is one award richly deserved by the former speaker, a little Napoleon who attempted to rule the State House as if it were his own personal fiefdom. 
I sat in the House yesterday in wonder, as O'Brien made a floor speech telling his colleagues that the budget they'd just passed was the result of all of his hard work. Plain old Rep. O'Brien refused a committee assignment this session, because - well - after being royalty, mixing it up with the peasants was too dreadful to even contemplate. O'Brien did no work on the budget - or anything else. He showed up on Wednesdays to vote. The hardest work he did all year was yesterday, when he asked for two roll call votes. Yet, he gave himself a big old pat on the back, and informed his colleagues that this new budget was "his legacy." 
As repellent as I find him, I do marvel at O'Brien's ability to walk through the world unencumbered by facts or logic. 
Our very own NH award winner is running for Congress.  Pass the popcorn! 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I believe that almost all media including NPR are deserving of the muzzle award. All have left behind the true objectives of journalism and objective reporting. It's so much easier to get infinite mileage out of the impending death of a 94 year old icon that actually "investigating" and researching national daily political affairs and the mess our own country is in.