Author Topic: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways  (Read 6406 times)

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Offline HAL

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #29 on: September 19, 2012, 10:22:33 AM »
HAL, I'm genuinely trying to understand where you are coming from on this topic.

You asked a lot of questions but just plain avoided my question, so let's deal with that first.

Do you, or do you not, believe that a person has a right to never be offended?

Please elaborate on your answer, whether it's yes or no.

Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #30 on: September 19, 2012, 10:24:23 AM »
Funny if the ad was pro muslim and said Support Jihad,destroy Israel you would have to get past the fact you were an anti Semite before you could get the ad up

How do you think that would go over with the pro-Israel lobby in America?

Oh I don't know...probably wouldn't be much said about it in national news



While these ads don't explicitly call for destruction, they do attempt to persuade us to pick a side. And I don't suspect they merely want our prayers.



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Offline Death over Life

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #31 on: September 19, 2012, 10:26:08 AM »
I was initially thinking with Quesi's ideas, but atm I'm now thinking, how about the Muslims stop getting violent everytime we criticize them?

All this talk about hate speech, as stupid as a lot of it is, I'd personally rather somebody let me know what's really on their mind (kind of like Romney a few days ago. Thanks for re-electing Obama Roms!) as opposed to this bs where we can't express how we feel because it will "upset" some Muslims, or "upset" some Christians.

At least with this form of free speech, you'll know what somebody is genuinely thinking as opposed to covering their tracks.

Btw, I give anti-Christian hate speech to my friends who are Christians all the time and they are still my best friends. They know what I'm talking about, and they don't go all Jihad whenever I say things like it. If the Muslims would stop inciting violence over every nit-picky thing, perhaps they wouldn't have the stigma of "savages". Btw, I do know those are only a couple Muslims while the extreme majority are just like us. Doesn't stop the belief system from being stupid.

And, I do know we don't have freedom of speech in the fullest form. Yell "I have a bomb!" on an airplane and see how fast you will be detained and thrown in jail.

And btw, religion wise, all atheists are anti-semetic by default.

Offline One Above All

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #32 on: September 19, 2012, 10:27:46 AM »
And btw, religion wise, all atheists are anti-semetic by default.

Explain.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
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Offline Death over Life

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #33 on: September 19, 2012, 10:35:16 AM »
And btw, religion wise, all atheists are anti-semetic by default.

Explain.

Key words being religion wise. Are you pro-Christianity? Pro-Islam? Pro-Judaism? As an atheist, your answer will be no. What is the point of getting your atheism out there? To rid the world of religion. What are the big 3 I just mentioned? Religion. To get rid of something, you have to first be against it. Since the 3 belief systems are from the Middle Eastern areas, as well as Zoroastrianism, Sumerian, Mesopotamian etc. but Semetism only really refers to the big 3, that is anti-Semetism, religion wise. Don't think for one second I'm talking about people or individuals here or race. I'm talking only about religion.

Offline One Above All

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #34 on: September 19, 2012, 10:40:16 AM »
<snip>

So, basically, you're projecting and using some false dichotomies. Good to know.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
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Offline Quesi

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #35 on: September 19, 2012, 10:48:11 AM »
HAL, I'm genuinely trying to understand where you are coming from on this topic.

You asked a lot of questions but just plain avoided my question, so let's deal with that first.

Do you, or do you not, believe that a person has a right to never be offended?

Please elaborate on your answer, whether it's yes or no.

People get offended all the time.  That is an absurd question.  No government could protect people from being offended, and I don't think that anyone has an expectation of going through life without being offended.   So my answer is no.

I do, however, believe that people have a right to protected from institutionally sanctioned categorization as being inferior to the rest of the species, based on their gender, ethnicity, race, religion, cultural practices, sexual identity, or other characteristics.  I believe that people have the right to be protected against freedom of speech that has the potential of resulting in violence against them as members of a specific group. 

You smited me for, in your words, "being against freedom of speech."  I think you owe me the courtesy of explaining your position on the topic of freedom of speech. 

Offline Azdgari

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #36 on: September 19, 2012, 10:48:50 AM »
Semitism is not a religion.  Semitism refers specifically to ethnicity.  So "religion-wise, you're anti-semitic" is a contradiction in terms.

If you mean to say that anti-theists are by default against Judaism, then that makes sense.  You picked the wrong words, DoL.
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Offline Bad Pear

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #37 on: September 19, 2012, 12:03:43 PM »

Freedom of speech is a huge, complex issue, and ironically, in atheist environments, I'm usually arguing the other side.  I'm not particularly offended when a business leader pays to put up a nativity scene in a public park.  I might not like the nativity scene, but I don't see it as infringing on the rights or safety of members of communities that do not share the beliefs of those who put it there.  But the law usually prefers to protect those groups and individuals, and in fact prohibits the freedom of speech of that private investor who wants to put up a nativity scene.  You would fight to support the rights of the private investor who wants to portray the virgin birth?

I can't speak for HAL, but if the business leader were paying to put the nativity scene in a public place that was
(a) permanently designated for private expressions or advertisements and
(b) open to any group for such expressions for the same fee
then yes I would, as an agnostic atheist anti-theist who supports freedom speech of expression, support their equal access. I would do so in the same way that I would support a gay art statuette, a tribute to the KKK, or a memorial display for Ted Bundy.

Nativity displays are not analogous to the subway advertisement scenario because public places that allow nativity displays typically don't afford that forum to others with dissenting views.

So you are arguing that there should be NO RESTRICTIONS on free speech.  You would have no concerns about a private investor putting up signs in a public court house, stating that one ethnic group was more dangerous than another?  You would not have problems with a public school displaying a sign by the private sponsor who paid for the new gymnasium, stating that some students are intellectually superior to others, based on their cultural traditions? 

Similar problem as above: When a private sponsor funds the building of a public facility the facility does not magically become privately owned and thus a blank slate for said sponsors views. Any much more than a "Sponsored by..." or "A special thanks to..." is fairly rare I think. If, however, the public place has a sounding board that sells space that is equally available to people with differing views then yes, that should be allowed.

If the NYC board of transportation, and by extension the people of NYC, do not want certain speech on private advertisements in their subways then they have an option: remove private advertisements from their walls. If they choose to keep accepting money from people wishing to advertise on said walls then they should not have the authority to censor certain opinions.

The correct response to bad speech is more speech, not vandalism, theft, or censorship.
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Offline Quesi

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #38 on: September 19, 2012, 01:10:48 PM »
Thank you for your thoughtful response, Bad Pear. 



...then yes I would, as an agnostic atheist anti-theist who supports freedom speech of expression, support their equal access. I would do so in the same way that I would support a gay art statuette, a tribute to the KKK, or a memorial display for Ted Bundy.

You and I would clearly be on opposite sides of the town meeting hearing on the KKK tribute or the Ted Bundy memorial. 



If the NYC board of transportation, and by extension the people of NYC, do not want certain speech on private advertisements in their subways then they have an option: remove private advertisements from their walls. If they choose to keep accepting money from people wishing to advertise on said walls then they should not have the authority to censor certain opinions.

The correct response to bad speech is more speech, not vandalism, theft, or censorship.

We are not limited to the two options of: take the money or say no to anyone who wants to advertise. 

There can and should be guidelines or criteria for anyone who wants to pay to see their name or product or idea promoted in a public place, and the MTA has guidelines.  And as we see an increase in private funding for public facilities[1], this issue is going to come up more and more, so I think it is a really important discussion. 

Schools and courthouses and public parks and transportation systems and other governmental facilities are being increasingly pressured to seek private funding to offset the cost of taxpayer support.  And as the taxpayers allow increasing private funding for these services and facilities, we are becoming increasingly vulnerable to the private forces that control these private funds. 

But we do have options. 

We don't see sexually explicit advertisements on the subways or buses, (which serve as school transportation to more than one million school kids per day) because there are guidelines. 

So they don't just take "anybody's money."  They have a criteria of what is acceptable.  And if an ad which depicts an ethnic minority as "savage" falls within the acceptable criteria, it is time to revise the criteria. 

 1. thanks to our republican leadership

Offline HAL

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #39 on: September 19, 2012, 02:21:51 PM »
Do you, or do you not, believe that a person has a right to never be offended?

People get offended all the time.  That is an absurd question.  No government could protect people from being offended, and I don't think that anyone has an expectation of going through life without being offended.   So my answer is no.

OK, so you don't think a person has the right to never be offended.

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I do, however, believe that people have a right to protected from institutionally sanctioned categorization as being inferior to the rest of the species, based on their gender, ethnicity, race, religion, cultural practices, sexual identity, or other characteristics.  I believe that people have the right to be protected against freedom of speech that has the potential of resulting in violence against them as members of a specific group.

OK, so you do think a person has the right to never be offended ... what?

Which is it? Either you do or don't. You first say no, then mentally equivocate to a yes. How is it we can mind-read what others think is offensive enough to result in them breaking the law just because they are offended by words or pictures? That's on them dear, not anyone else. I'm just as confused as to where you stand as I was earlier.

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You smited me for, in your words, "being against freedom of speech."  I think you owe me the courtesy of explaining your position on the topic of freedom of speech.

Basically, I already stated it - you don't have the right to never be offended. That sums it up pretty well. If you freak out by reading words or viewing pictures and do violence then it's all your fault - not the offensive words or pics.

Offline Bad Pear

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #40 on: September 19, 2012, 02:37:06 PM »
You and I would clearly be on opposite sides of the town meeting hearing on the KKK tribute or the Ted Bundy memorial. 

You would likely be on opposite sides from the ACLU as well.

http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/aclu-files-suit-against-state-over-kkk-adopt-highw/nR922/
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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #41 on: September 19, 2012, 02:38:27 PM »
To quote a popular radio talk show host

"The 1st amendment isn't there to protect speech we agree with."
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Offline pianodwarf

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #42 on: September 19, 2012, 02:45:06 PM »
To quote a popular radio talk show host

"The 1st amendment isn't there to protect speech we agree with."

Indeed, speech that everybody likes doesn't even need protection.  The only way it even makes any sense to have that protection in place at all is to allow people to say things that are unpopular.
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Offline Death over Life

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #43 on: September 19, 2012, 02:54:15 PM »
Semitism is not a religion.  Semitism refers specifically to ethnicity.  So "religion-wise, you're anti-semitic" is a contradiction in terms.

If you mean to say that anti-theists are by default against Judaism, then that makes sense.  You picked the wrong words, DoL.

Well, looks like you are correct. That's what happens when you are given incorrect information, things get confusing. I was taught that Semitism dealt with the Middle Eastern people's beliefs and views, not Jews specifically as a people. I definitely did pick the wrong word here.

The point of free speech is I do believe that people at times need to be offended, but in Quesi's case, I'm thinking instead of arguing against the banners being put up, she should instead concentrate on telling Muslims to look away or grow some thicker skin because telling somebody they are a savage is nowhere near as damaging as actually being a savage, you know, attacking all these US embassies and killing US ambassadors because some nut-job made a stupid 15 minute movie about Muhammed.

I mean look at all of our atheist billboards how offensive to Christians they are. Telling a Christian they are mentally ill and need to see a doctor could be translated into hate speech. The difference? They just get mad or laugh at it. They don't go killing people, they don't go stalking people, they don't make death threats or threats against an entire country, however, they do converse about it since it is a conversation starter. You don't get that out of the Muslims this banner would offend. It's do or die, literally.

Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #44 on: September 19, 2012, 02:58:14 PM »
I seem to remember Christians getting their panties all in a wad about sex and violence and language on TV. I remember a particular argument used was "If you don't like the program change the channel" or something equivalent to that.

Same with foul language and content in music and movies. The compromise was to put in place a ratings system or warning of the type of content so that people of tighter moral codes could make a judgement call before watching.

Which is why after a couple decades or so of that system in place...the US was "stunned" by Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction.

There was no warning.

I guess for Palestinians living in the US and particularly in New York...seeing a well made corporate sponsored add calling their people savages would be stunning as well.

All the ads and billboards, either for or against Israeli occupation or Humas violence or however you want to frame it...all those ads disturb me to a certain degree and I can't quit put it into words yet.

Do they seek to influence our vote in the upcoming presidential campaign?

 
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Offline pianodwarf

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #45 on: September 19, 2012, 03:03:34 PM »
The point of free speech is I do believe that people at times need to be offended, but in Quesi's case, I'm thinking instead of arguing against the banners being put up, she should instead concentrate on telling Muslims to look away or grow some thicker skin because telling somebody they are a savage is nowhere near as damaging as actually being a savage

Another interesting point, too: if you call someone a savage and he responds by becoming violent, all he's accomplished is to prove your point.
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Offline Timo

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #46 on: September 19, 2012, 03:07:21 PM »
I like that some of you are so gung ho about the awesomeness of free speech but seem wholly unprepared to grapple the obvious fact that in no place is freedom of speech absolute.  That HAL would claim that Quesi is somehow "against" free speech because she doesn't share his simplistic view is actually kind of laughable.

When we're discussing free speech, the thing to remember is this.  There are different spheres of life in which restrictions to free speech might apply.  I don't think it's all that obvious that this sign should be legally protected speech.  To begin with, the Supreme Court has long recognized that there is a difference between things like say, billboard ads and newspaper ads.  Going back to Packer Corporation v. Utah (1932), the court recognized that:

Billboards, street car signs, and placards and such are in a class by themselves. They are wholly intrastate, and the restrictions apply without discrimination to all in the same class. Advertisements of this sort are constantly before the eyes of observers on the streets and in street cars to be seen without the exercise of choice or volition on their part. Other forms of advertising are ordinarily seen as a matter of choice on the part of the observer. The young people as well as the adults have the message of the billboard thrust upon them by all the arts and devices that skill can produce. In the case of newspapers and magazines, there must be some seeking by the one who is to see and read the advertisement. The radio can be turned off, but not so the billboard or street car placard. These distinctions clearly place this kind of advertisement in a position to be classified so that regulations or prohibitions may be imposed upon all within the class. This is impossible with respect to newspapers or magazines.

With mass transit systems in particuar, the Court has ruled (in Lehman v. Shaker Heights (1974)) that mass transit systems are not public forums and therefore have the authority to regulate what sorts of advertisements they display.  Right now, there's a little flap over Santa Monica's policy, for example.  They used to run ads for AIDS Walk LA but they've rejected them this year, citing a policy against non-commercial advertisements that they'd had on the books but had not been enforceing until this year.  The policy and the decision are designed to avoid controversies like the one in New York or San Francisco.  Designing a policy that would allow for public service messages but prevent ads like this from running is apparently kind of tricky.  So no, there is not some blanket freedom of speech protection for ads on the subway.  If New York had a policy like Santa Monica's, the ad could have probably been rejected without much hope for a court challenge.

In examining this case in particular, I think that it's helpful to separate this advertisement from the violence that's taking place in the Middle East and North Africa right now.  This ad isn't about that.  This ad predates that.  The city of San Francisco unsuccessfully tried to block the same ad a little while back.  This ad is about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  It calls Palestinians savages specifically, while also suggesting that Muslims or perhaps Arabs in general are savages.  This ad is demeaning and offensive.  And as such, I don't see why the transit authority, recognizing the special nature of these sorts of public displays, shouldn't reject the ad.

Basically this:

We don't see sexually explicit advertisements on the subways or buses, (which serve as school transportation to more than one million school kids per day) because there are guidelines. 

So they don't just take "anybody's money."  They have a criteria of what is acceptable.  And if an ad which depicts an ethnic minority as "savage" falls within the acceptable criteria, it is time to revise the criteria.

Also:

Uh, yea it is, they seek it out to get transportation. Duh.

I don't think you understand what mass transit really is for people like myself that rely on it.  In every place I've ever lived, if you don't own a car then public transportation isn't something you "seek out" in the way that you and I have sought out this forum.  It's something you rely on to get you around town.  Not using public transportation means that you are constricted in where you can live, where you can work or go to school, where you can shop, etc.  The Court recognizes this in Lehman, referring to the commuters as a "captive audience."  Furthermore, this campaign has also bought ads on the sides of buses, which no one needs to seek out to see.

Anyway...


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Offline Bad Pear

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #47 on: September 19, 2012, 03:26:46 PM »
Basically this:

We don't see sexually explicit advertisements on the subways or buses, (which serve as school transportation to more than one million school kids per day) because there are guidelines. 

So they don't just take "anybody's money."  They have a criteria of what is acceptable.  And if an ad which depicts an ethnic minority as "savage" falls within the acceptable criteria, it is time to revise the criteria.

Slightly derailing, so feel free to ignore me here: I personally don't see an issue with sexually explicit advertising. The only reason that we focus on restricting it is because we are so freaking uptight as a culture about sexuality in general. Point being: the notion of what is or is not acceptable is highly subjective and therefore up for debate. The very need for such a debate, at least to some degree, begs the purpose of free speech and brings us full circle so to speak.
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Offline Gohavesomefun

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #48 on: September 19, 2012, 04:09:51 PM »
Basically this:

We don't see sexually explicit advertisements on the subways or buses, (which serve as school transportation to more than one million school kids per day) because there are guidelines. 

So they don't just take "anybody's money."  They have a criteria of what is acceptable.  And if an ad which depicts an ethnic minority as "savage" falls within the acceptable criteria, it is time to revise the criteria.
Slightly derailing, so feel free to ignore me here: I personally don't see an issue with sexually explicit advertising. The only reason that we focus on restricting it is because we are so freaking uptight as a culture about sexuality in general. Point being: the notion of what is or is not acceptable is highly subjective and therefore up for debate. The very need for such a debate, at least to some degree, begs the purpose of free speech and brings us full circle so to speak.
Gonna derail the thread a little more, but I'll put it back on track after I retort to this. If the advertising was strictly left for the right age groups, I might agree, but it simply isn't the case. In reality, this type of advertising is aimed towards at children, as well as adults. Generalling taking the form of terrestrial television advertising; some adverts are designed to be sexually explicit through indirect means, to normally promote products such as toys, clothes and music. This type of advertising is wrong, not only because it unfairly shapes social attitudes at a young age, but the method in which these companies aim their product specifically targets vulnerabilities in a persons psychological development.

Anyhow, I'm way off topic here, so let me try bring it back.

Free Speech is easy - Explaining your speech is a little harder. What I mean by that is; if you're going to come out with any statement, you should be able to say what brought you to that statement. Otherwise, why would you say anything in the first place?
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Offline Ambassador Pony

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #49 on: September 19, 2012, 04:14:58 PM »
About depriving oneself of the right to hear a message.



In Canada, we have hate speech laws, and everything is fine. It ain't north korea, and there is no slippery slope. But, from my vantage point, in the ivory tower of the middle class, I can indulge myself with this debate, and find myself pursuaded my the Hitch.

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Offline HAL

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #50 on: September 19, 2012, 04:18:50 PM »
This ad is about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  It calls Palestinians savages specifically, while also suggesting that Muslims or perhaps Arabs in general are savages.  This ad is demeaning and offensive.  And as such, I don't see why the transit authority, recognizing the special nature of these sorts of public displays, shouldn't reject the ad.

Quote
After rejecting the ads initially, then losing a federal court ruling on First Amendment grounds, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said on Tuesday that the ads were expected to appear next week at 10 subway stations.

“Our hands are tied,” Aaron Donovan, a spokesman for the authority, said when asked about the timing of the ad.

In July, Judge Paul A. Engelmayer of Federal District Court in Manhattan ruled that the authority had violated the First Amendment rights of the group that sought to place the ad, the American Freedom Defense Initiative. The authority had cited the ad’s “demeaning” language in barring its placement.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/19/nyregion/ad-demeaning-muslims-to-appear-in-new-york-subway.html?_r=1

Offline Timo

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #51 on: September 19, 2012, 04:53:07 PM »
Maybe I wasn't being clear.  Previous rulings have held that a mass transit system need  not serve as a public forum.  In Lehman, a candidate for public office tried and failed to run a political ad on city buses.  The distinction there is that in Lehman, the transit authority had a clear policy against political ads that it could apply consistently.  In other words, if NYC had a policy in place that would more clearly prevent an ad like this from running, even one like Santa Monica's that bans all non-commercial advertising altogether, they could have survived the challenge.  You don't have a first amendment right to advertise on a bus.  The question here was did the transit authority have the right to prevent this ad from being run, given the policy that they had in place.  In my opinion, if they had a clear policy against demeaning advertisements, then they were right to reject this ad.  The court obviously disagreed.  If it gets kicked up to a higher court, they might overturn this decision.  Who knows?

Going forward, I think Quesi's right in that they need to reevaluate the standards they use in accepting or rejecting advertisements.
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Offline darkdragon46

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #52 on: September 19, 2012, 05:08:49 PM »
I'd have to disagree with the judge on this one.  Calling a group savages is where peope get in trouble and genreally a lot of people die.  Dehumanizing a group makes them far easier to kill or to take them being killed, and that's something that we shouldn't take lightly.  Sometimes free speech is more about when to keep your mouth shut than to open it and say what you think.

Offline shnozzola

Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #53 on: September 19, 2012, 06:50:04 PM »
              What an interesting thread.  Thanks for the Hitch video, AP.   I learn so much from these debates.  While we know that the freedom of speech and the search for truth go hand in hand, and that logic demands the purity of these actions and laws, it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to scream, “we demand our rights as atheists,” from the square in Tehran.

   It reminds me of the great Davedave threads where   - if you weren’t willing to come out as an atheist to your family, you had no business on WWGHA, where the most important atheists on planet earth sacrificed themselves on the altar of truth that everyone else was afraid of.

   Well should we go ahead then and stand on the square in Tehran? We know we are right.  We know what is true.  If we’re lucky enough to live, we can write many books from our jail cells on the purity of truth and freedom of speech.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2012, 06:52:50 PM by shnozzola »
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Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #54 on: September 19, 2012, 06:54:25 PM »
Funny if the ad was pro muslim and said Support Jihad,destroy Israel you would have to get past the fact you were an anti Semite before you could get the ad up

How do you think that would go over with the pro-Israel lobby in America?

Oh I don't know...probably wouldn't be much said about it in national news



While these ads don't explicitly call for destruction, they do attempt to persuade us to pick a side. And I don't suspect they merely want our prayers.
They do come with explanation as to why the advertiser(buyer of the ad)thinks Israel is acting criminally or otherwise right in the ads themselves
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Offline Quesi

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #55 on: September 19, 2012, 08:03:44 PM »


@HAL
Respectfully, I find it hard to believe that you are incapable of differentiating between hurting someone’s feelings and having a public institution post signage promoting violence against a disenfranchised minority. 

So I will try and say this again.  No HAL.  I do not think that the government has an obligation to make sure people’s feelings don’t get hurt.  I do, however, believe that the government has an obligation to promote policies that protect the welfare and safety of its citizens. 

So HAL, are you going to do me the courtesy of explaining to me your perspective concerning freedom of expression? Or are we just going to go with Timo’s assessment?

@Chrono- I enjoyed the video.  I am surprised that I had not known the origins of the “yelling fire in a movie theater” meme.  However, it does not surprise me that the most commonly cited metaphor for restricting free speech originated when immigrant workers were leafleting against government policies. 

I did not watch the subsequent video, but it seems to me that Hitchens was demonstrating how limits on freedom of expression can be used to further marginalize the disenfranchised, and to limit dialogue on controversial subjects.  It would have been interesting to hear him respond to an example of a form of speech which does not allow dialogue, (such as a poster, financed by a powerful group) designed to further marginalize a disenfranchised minority. 

@Bad Pear – All laws are subjective.  That is why we have a legislative branch to create them, and a judicial branch to interpret them.

@Timo – Really welcomed your input.  I need to look over   Lehman v. Shaker Heights.  NYS incorporated its mass transit system (which used to be a combination of privately owned companies running different subway lines) into a “public benefit corporation.”   It has a state appointed board of directors, and the NYC portion is accountable to the City Council.  That might be a little different from other transpiration systems in the country.  But your sparked my interest, and I’m going to do a little reading.

In terms of mass transit, in my neighborhood, there approximately 40 parking spots for every 300 residential units.  The neighborhood was built alongside the construction of the elevated train, in the 1910’s, at a time when no one imagined each family owning a car. The closest garage is a 10 minute walk away, and charges $300 for monthly parking.  The closest bus is literally outside my front door, and there are 5 different subway lines within a 15 minute walk.  Mass transit is not an option.  It is what the infrastructure supports. 

@Darkdragon46 – I think you really nailed it.  When we dehumanize people, it is easier to kill them.  Militaries throughout history have mastered the skill of dehumanizing the enemy.  And this campaign is designed to dehumanize the Palestinians, and perhaps to dehumanize a third of humanity.     

And finally @Mr. Blackwell and 12 Monkeys – I was genuinely puzzled by those photos, because I have never seen any of those ads.  So I did a little googling.  And guess what?  An organization named Atlasshrugged (which is one of the cosponsors of the ad in the op) led an active campaign to prevent the posting of this “anti-Israeli” ad.   



http://www.carolineglick.com/e/2011/09/ny-subway-ads-calling-for-endi.php

Offline Timo

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #56 on: September 20, 2012, 04:05:57 AM »
Slightly derailing, so feel free to ignore me here: I personally don't see an issue with sexually explicit advertising. The only reason that we focus on restricting it is because we are so freaking uptight as a culture about sexuality in general. Point being: the notion of what is or is not acceptable is highly subjective and therefore up for debate. The very need for such a debate, at least to some degree, begs the purpose of free speech and brings us full circle so to speak.

I'm not sure where you fall exactly in terms of what sorts of sexually explicit advertising you would allow that is not currently allowed, but I would say that I can sort of kind of agree in principle that we're far too restrictive.  And that results in some really silly outcomes.  I find it absurd that on prime time broadcast television, we've decided that graphic examples of physical violence are fine but a female's exposed nipple is beyond the pale.  That said, I think that almost all of us would agree that say, using hardcore pornography in a bus advertisement might be...over the line.  And so there is a line somewhere.  What that line is or where we think that line ought to apply are not things that have remained consistent throughout our history.

In flipping through my handy dandy (now thoroughly outdated) constitutional law textbook for examples relating to this specific case, I also came across a section dealing with obscenity.  One of the interesting cases was Paris Adult Theatre I v. Slaton (1973), which upheld a Georgia law that regulated what sorts of films were to be considered obscene even in "adult" theaters, which required that patrons be over the age of 21 and which told patrons up front that the material they'd be showing might be considered offensive.  I don't think that most people now would think that the state has a legitimate interest in preventing adults from patronizing a theater that shows adult movies...though maybe today, they'd wonder if these adults don't have internet access.

So yeah...
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #57 on: September 20, 2012, 04:17:17 AM »
So I will try and say this again.  No HAL.  I do not think that the government has an obligation to make sure people’s feelings don’t get hurt.  I do, however, believe that the government has an obligation to promote policies that protect the welfare and safety of its citizens. 

So then suppression of hate speech DOES override freedom of expression.  There are some things that are not only currently legally required not to be said, but that there are some things that should always be legally required not to be said.

I have a large leaning towards that point of view.

But what is the cut-off line for "hate speech"?  Its easy to point to the extremes at both ends.  What worries me is the grey area in the middle, where the overapplication of those same laws leads to a blocking of criticism.  At the same time, to deny a group - however much we may disagree with them - the opportunity to air their views in public and have those views challenged, leads to those views only being able to be expressed underground where they gain the "legitimacy" of "the truth the government won't let you hear".

So I have a large leaning towards THAT point of view, too.

I think, in the end, I would rather that everyone be able to say what they want, no matter how repugnant I may find it, because then I have the chance to stand up and tell people why they are wrong. 
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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