BY BUDDY NEVINS
What do Cuba, Iran and the Broward Republican Party have in common?
Answer: They are all into censorship.
Broward’s beleaguered GOP – divided between the country club establishment Republicans and the grass roots activists – are slapping among the most restrictive media coverage rules on their party debates this week for chair.
Christine Butler: Wants To Control Media
The rules were apparently mandated by Acting Chair Christine Butler. She is running for fulltime chair along with Tom Truex, former Davie mayor. Both are lawyers.
Other candidates include James Gleason, who once ran for mayor of Coral Springs and state representative and Bob Sutton, a teacher who lost a County Commission race last year.
Butler is requiring the media to following these rules, which are bold faced in the notice from Butler to GOP members:
“Recordings and Photographs:
The Moderator shall, at the outset of the event, clearly state the policy for the making of video recordings, still photographs and streaming transmissions during the Forum.
If any recordings or photography is allowed, those making recordings must agree to supply all Candidates a complete copy of every such recording delivered to them within 24 hours of the end of the event. Such materials shall be provided to the Candidates without cost and free of copyright restrictions.
These rules shall apply to the Press and bloggers as well. No photographs or recordings will be edited, outcropped or digitally altered or taken out of context, and subsequently published in any media outlet, for the purpose or use of denigrating or displaying a Candidate in a mocking or derisive manner. If the Press, bloggers and photographers do not agree to abide by these rules, they will be denied recording privileges.”
I can’t believe any legitimate media outlet like the Sun-Sentinel would agree to these rules, which amount to pre-publicaiton restrictions on the free press. A lawyer like Butler should know the Constitution better.
But this rule isn’t aimed at Tony Man of the Sun-Sentinel, the Miami Herald or the broadcast media…although they are covered by it.
The excuse for these rules is contained within them. Butler is deadly afraid that caustic critics like blogger Tom Lauder at Red Broward may make fun of her in a “denigrating” or “mocking or derisive manner.”
Give me a break! Butler wants to be chair of the second biggest political party and she’s afraid of criticism.
This lack of confidence in her own performance disqualifies her to be chair. How is she going to handle debates with Democratic Chair Mitch Ceasar or is she going to duck those and deprive Republicans a place at any of these events? How is she going to handle inquiries from the traditional media, who will refuse (I hope) to be stage managed?
Butler should memorize a cliché a lot of us learned long ago from my mother. It is still operative today:
“Sticks and stones may hurt my bones but words will never hurt me.”