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Rep. Moran Calls on WMATA to Remove Offensive, Disrespectful Metro Ad

by: RepJimMoran

Wed Feb 29, 2012 at 13:40:38 PM EST

(Thanks to Rep. Moran for jumping on this. For more background, see here. Also note that Metro's ad guidelines clearly state that ads have to comply with a variety of guidelines, including not be "false or misleading," be "truthful," "shall reflect a high level of good taste and decency in copy and art," etc. - promoted by lowkell)

Washington, DC - Congressman Jim Moran, Northern Virginia Democrat, wrote the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) today asking for the immediate removal of an offensive advertisement disparaging the recent health law which contains the phrase "Go to h[---] Barack" in reference to the President.

The ad has been reported to be up in Clarendon Metro station. It is unclear if and how many ads are located at other Metro stops.

Rep. Moran's letter to WMATA can be found here:

UPDATE by Lowell: ArlNow has some better photos of the ad.

UPDATE #2: Politico has picked up the story.

RepJimMoran :: Rep. Moran Calls on WMATA to Remove Offensive, Disrespectful Metro Ad
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Once again congressman Moran (0.00 / 0)
To the rescue.  
Talk about political discourse levels being extreme pretty sure no democratic leaning institution would put something so disgusting and so disrespectful to the President of the United States

I don't think Metro should accept any ads which... (0.00 / 0)
..tell anyone to "go to hell."  Its even less appropriate when the person in question is the President of the United States.  I hope they take it down.  If someone wants to run an ad which says everything that's on the current one but the "Go to Hell Barak" quote, more power to them, but I think that's over the line.

Presumably Representative Moran would have been equally outraged by an ad which said:  "Hey W, get the hell out of Iraq!"  (I'm pretty certain no one ever actually tried to put such ads up on Metro).

Or "go to hell W" (0.00 / 0)
Not acceptable on Metro. Not even close, IMHO.

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[ Parent ]
We're agreeing again... (0.00 / 0)
...I'm a little worried.

[ Parent ]
That's ok, you can go argue with aznew (0.00 / 0)
I guarantee he won't agree with you! :)

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[ Parent ]
ha (0.00 / 0)
beat you to it.

[ Parent ]
As I noted on another thread (0.00 / 0)
this is clearly constitutionally protected speech, and I for one celebrate that.

While it's risky to rate our freedoms, I would say the right to free speech is the most important, because it is the right upon which all others depend. We should not threaten that core principle just because someone, in the exercise of their right, is using it to be disrespectful to the President.

Congressman Moran is wrong.

I'm actually very surprised at the number of people here who seem to think that content-based censorship is acceptable.

Go over to the Daily Kos diary (0.00 / 0)
I'd say it's 99%-1% against you, my friend. Not that being in the minority means, ipso facto, that you're wrong. In this case, though.... :)

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[ Parent ]
I am really surprised (0.00 / 0)
at the reaction.

[ Parent ]
I'm sure the feeling is mutual (0.00 / 0)
with your reaction. :)  

By the way, Metro forbids the playing of radios or musical devices in its system. Constitutional or not? LOL

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[ Parent ]
Also can't eat or drink. (0.00 / 0)
Isn't that a form of "expression?" LOL

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[ Parent ]
Or urinate.... (0.00 / 0)
OK, I'll stop. :)

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[ Parent ]
I have taken the liberty (0.00 / 0)
of redrafting the First Amendment to comport with the majority view. After the folks here take a look, I suggest we ship it off to Congress for immediate enactment (additions in bold):

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, except you can't be disrespectful to the President and you have to be truthful, or of the press, except that whole respectful and truthful thing applies here too; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances, again with the caveat that you do so respectfully and truthfully. Also, truthfullness shall be determined by, wait, those guys are idiots, by the people at, wait, those guys are biased, oh, I know, by vote acclimation at the website Daily Kos.

[ Parent ]
I actually think of myself as kind of a free-speech purist. (0.00 / 0)
But I don't think profanity/personal insults are protected to the same degree as other speech.  As I mentioned, I am happy to have the entire ad on the Metro system, minus the "Go to Hell Barack"  comment.  Changing to "Go to hell Mr. President (or even Mr. Obama)" would make the ad somewhat less disrespectful, but still wouldn't fix the "Go to hell" problem.  

For what its worth, I think a policy which prohibits "Go to Hell" statements could be content neutral and hence constitutionally acceptable.  

[ Parent ]
Jim Moran response to WMATA (0.00 / 0)
"I am disappointed by WMATA's defense of this inappropriate advertisement. If their current advertising guidelines do not prohibit profane advertisements on taxpayer-funded property, then WMATA should take the initiative and update them. Profanity has no place in the public forum.

"The specific language in the WMATA-approved ad that should be removed is not political, it's profane. It defames the President of the United States in a way that coarsens the public discourse. All Americans have the right to make their voice heard under the First Amendment. But when we are talking about an advertisement on tax-payer funded facilities, as is the case with Metro, it should meet the minimum standards of propriety. I repeat my call on WMATA to exercise appropriate judgment and remove this offensive ad."

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WMATA's lame reponse (0.00 / 0)
As a public agency, WMATA must observe the First Amendment with respect to the acceptance of commercial advertising. The display of the ad is consistent with WMATA=s policy of remaining content neutral when accepting advertising. Although the Authority understands that feelings and perceptions will vary among individuals within the community, we cannot reject advertising because an individual, or group, finds it inappropriate or offensive. WMATA makes no implied or declared endorsement of any product, service, event or ideology. We simply provide the medium for an advertiser to use. As an individual, you may want to direct your objections regarding this type of advertising to the advertiser. They are in the best position to explain their point of view and reason for the content.

So, I take it they'll accept an "FU Eric Cantor" ad now? No? How about a "You're a piece of s*** John Boehner" ad? No? Hmmmm.

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[ Parent ]
I'll throw some coin in (0.00 / 0)
for an ad like that.  

[ Parent ]
The comments on Politico (0.00 / 0)
are disturbing....extremely disrespectful.  

That's Politico for you. (0.00 / 0)
It's always like that there - right wingnut hell.

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[ Parent ]

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