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"Go to hell Barack" Ad Acceptable in Washington Metro System?!?

by: lowkell

Wed Feb 29, 2012 at 10:56:55 AM EST



A friend of mine sent me this photo from the Clarendon Metro station this morning. Here's her commentary:
I don't recall ever seeing an actual ad saying "go to hell Bush," even when he was selected, & even when he lied (yellowcake, etc.)... Certainly not on the metro - which is obviously desperate for funds so as not to impose any basic standards. I'm surprised they didn't use the f word...

Btw, someone wrote - in PEN on the "screen" of the light-up board: "That's President Obama, to you!" Wish my camera had enough resolution to get that!

Again, the ad is heinous enough, but Metro accepted it? I mean, I know they're desperate for money, but WTF?!?!?

P.S. Just to be clear, an ad saying "Go to hell Cantor" or "Go to hell Boehner" would NOT be acceptable to me, and it shouldn't be in the Metro system, at least based on my reading of Metro's advertising guidelines (not to mention Metro's desire to keep its system family friendly), as far as I can determine.

UPDATE: No, Kaplan Post and WTOP, you may NOT steal this photo you @#$@#$ers. Take it down immediately, give proper credit, or I'm calling a lawyer!

lowkell :: "Go to hell Barack" Ad Acceptable in Washington Metro System?!?
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Who do we write to? (0.00 / 0)
This is disgusting to say the least and should be immediately removed

Metro. (0.00 / 0)
By Mail
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
600 5th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001

Customer feedback form

Marketing: 202-962-2767
Advertising: 202-962-1188

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[ Parent ]
Kind of goes with (0.00 / 0)
"You Lie!" yelled the Congressman at the President; and "Re-load!" If you think it was vicious and tending toward violence during the last two elections, then brace yourself for an escalation to another level this time, now that we have Citizens United and the self-righteous religion-saturated theocratic thugs combined with gushing torrents of corporate money.

Go ahead and object to Metro, on-line, to the media and everywhere else. You will probably succeed in getting the offensive ad removed, but at the cost of publicizing its content.... content which, I suspect, is/will show up in other places across the country. It is just the opening salvo, and others will follow, like swarms of bees, too many to swat down every time.

I find it interesting that someone at least wrote a counter comment, defacing the ad. Perhaps that is one answer: street theatre, defacing the ads when and where they show up---- maybe adding "Thank You, President Obama" or "This is a lie!" or "This lie paid for by pharmaceutical companies." Much better than drawing a mustache on a the politician's face on his poster.


Isn't WMATA a government or quasi government agency? (0.00 / 0)
If so, then I would oppose barring it on First Amendment grounds.

You have a point, but also (0.00 / 0)
notice that part of the ad is for a DVD of Michael Moore's "Sicko." If the DVD is honest, and not a  series of clips twisted and spliced for contrary effect, "Sicko" is a pretty good argument for single-payer universal health care. It makes one wonder....

[ Parent ]
No, it's NOT for "Sicko!" (0.00 / 0)
It's for Sick and Sicker, a viciously anti-"Obamacare" film. Totally different.

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[ Parent ]
Not Sicko (0.00 / 0)
"Sicko" is the 2007 movie by Michael Moore. The one depicted in the Metro is by a different director and it's premise is the dead opposite of Moore's film.  

[ Parent ]
I stand corrected, but why not (0.00 / 0)
put up an ad for "Sicko" itself right next to this one? Fair and balanced, equal time, you decide...

[ Parent ]
I've never seen profanity in the Metro system (0.00 / 0)
before. I strongly doubt that's acceptable by any standard.

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[ Parent ]
Do you really not see the difference? (0.00 / 0)
A ban on profanity is clearly a standard of, for lack of a better word, decency, that is equally applicable to all materials. Pulling down this ad would be quite different, in that it would be censoring a particular ad because you are offended by its message and its level of disrespect toward the President.

I like living in a country where it is legally protected to publicly tell the President to go to Hell.


[ Parent ]
I've never seen an ad like that in the Metro system (0.00 / 0)
about any politician, or anything for that matter. They simply don't allow that kind of language.

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[ Parent ]
Metro's advertising guidelines (0.00 / 0)
are here. To be allowed in the Metro system, 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.  

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[ Parent ]
False and Misleading (0.00 / 0)
The profane language aside, that ad certainly appears to be untruthful, false and misleading using the oft cited by the courts definition of "as seen by a reasonable person"

[ Parent ]
Clearly. (0.00 / 0)
n/t

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[ Parent ]
Really? (0.00 / 0)
I presume your referring to the statement that Obama "wants politicians and bureaucrats to control America's entire medical system."

Look, I don't agree with the statement, and it is certainly hyperbolic and in my opinion, wrong, but it is well within the bounds of the political debate going on in this country.

I mean, do you really want a government agency deciding that such assertions are false and misleading, and therefore can be banned from public advertisement in Metro stations. Because if so, get ready for Metro to ban the ad that claims "Republicans want to end Medicare," on the same grounds, on the basis that Politifact has called that statement the Lie of the Year.

That is slippery slope you are travelling down there.

Seriously, this is Constitutional Law 101 here, folks. Insofar as the First Amendment goes, this isn't even a close call.


[ Parent ]
So, you're arguing that Metro's (0.00 / 0)
advertising guidelines are unconstitutional? I can't wait for THAT court case! :)

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[ Parent ]
Yes (0.00 / 0)
Well, on its face the language is arguably neutral and Constitutional, so on that basis it might pass Constitutional muster.

But that is only one part of the inquiry. Another question is whether the application of otherwise Constitutional standards violate the First Amendment, and I think it is pretty clear that banning this advertisement on the basis of "truthfullness," or that it is "false and misleading" or fails to meet some standard of good taste would be Unconstitutional.

Not even a close case.


[ Parent ]
Totally disagree. (0.00 / 0)
Metro has every right to establish criteria for ads in its system, just like every other organization does. What next, "free speech" requires government offices to put up whatever banners people want on their property? I don't think so. Look, I'm a strong supporter of the 1st Amendment, but clearly you can't say or do anything, such as the classic "fire in a crowded movie house" or whatever. Also, you can't do or say anything you want on private property. None of this is even controversial, to my knowledge, it's just common sense and how we've all lived in this country for a long, long time.

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[ Parent ]
Also, just for argument's sake and to help clarify (0.00 / 0)
your position, would any or all of the following be ok?

*"Go to hell Jews!" (or religious slur term)
*"Go to hell Blacks!" (or racial slur term)
*"Go to hell Hispanics!" (or racial slur term)
*"Go to hell Women!" (or misogynistic slur term)
*"Go to hell Fat People!" (or...)
*"Go to hell Disabled People!" (or...)
*"F*** You Eric Cantor!"
*"You're a piece of s*** John Boehner!"

Should Metro be under any obligation to accept any or all of those ads?

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[ Parent ]
In my opinion (0.00 / 0)
all of those statements are Constitutionally protected.

As long as Metro accepts some messages, the First Amendment requires them to accept all.

That said, I suspect the current state of the law would allow them to reject the ads that contain profanity, on the misguided notion that people need to be protected from harsh language.


[ Parent ]
Wow. (0.00 / 0)
You really are a 1st Amendment purist. We are NOT going to agree on this at all, nor do I think that 90%+ (at least) of Americans - or of courts, for that matter - would agree with you on this. But you know what? If you feel so strongly about this, stop wasting your time arguing about it on a blog and instead take it to court! If you do, I'll even live blog it! :)

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[ Parent ]
The ad is a blatant lie, which violates Metro's policies right there (0.00 / 0)
"wants politicians and bureaucrats to control America's entire medical system." BLATANT OUTRIGHT LIE

Even before we get to the profanity part of it.

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[ Parent ]
Situation Now (0.00 / 0)
Health insurance before the Affordable Care Act was controlled by bureaucrats and politicians. The politicians were on the state level, most of them in the pockets of the insurance companies. The bureaucrats were/are at the health insurance companies, some of whom are expressly hired to find ways to kick sick people off their insurance. The Affordable Care Act ends that by requiring sick people to remain on policies.

I'm all for defacing any and all such ads where they appear.


I'd be interested to know (4.00 / 1)
who's paying for this reprehensible ad as that's who I'd like to give a piece of my mind (not that there are that many pieces to give).

By the way, I don't believe it's publicizing Michael Moore's movie but a knock-off that probably presents a quite different point of view.


It has nothing to do with Michael Moore's movie (4.00 / 1)
It's for Sick and Sicker, a viciously anti-"Obamacare" film. Totally different.

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[ Parent ]
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The purpose of Blue Virginia is to cover Virginia politics from a progressive and Democratic perspective. This is a group blog and a community blog. We invite everyone to comment here, but please be aware that profanity, personal attacks, bigotry, insults, rudeness, frequent unsupported or off-point statements, "trolling" (NOTE: that includes outright lies, whether about climate science, or what other people said, or whatever), and "troll ratings abuse" (e.g., "troll" rating someone simply because you disagree with their argument) are not permitted and, if continued, will lead to banning. For more on trolling, see the Daily Kos FAQs. Also note that diaries may be deleted if they do not contain at least 2 solid paragraphs of original text; if not, please use the comments section of a relevant diary. For more on writing diaries, click here. Thanks, and enjoy!

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