Muni "Savages" "Jihad" Etc. Battling Mideast Bus Ads Fund Pending Study

Jihad-ad-Jim-Herd.jpg
Jim Herd
Will Muni finally get to keep some damn ad money?
After eight years of covering contentious Mideast issues through a San Francisco lens, your humble narrator can offer you a certainty: The path to peace will be forged via the least nuanced, most belligerent, and most disingenuous members of each community taking out shrill, competing ads on Muni.

The latest salvo has been fired by a group called the American Muslims for Palestine; featuring a silhouette of an Israeli soldier leveling a machine gun at a child, it urges "End Apartheid Now!"

This follows a tit-for-tat of warring bus ads. A stroll down memory lane of recent vitriolic public advertising on Muni includes placements that compared Palestinians to savages; ads quoting the goals of Muslim terrorists subtitled "That's his Jihad. What's yours?"; and charming bits highlighting the treatment of LGBT people under Sharia law. There were also touchy-feely, positive ads placed by the Council for American-Islamic Relations prior to the current campaign declaring Israeli Apartheid.

The First Amendment doesn't just protect popular speech, and Muni was duty-bound to accept these ads. In fact, the first three ad campaigns noted above offered the rare win-win-win for all involved: City politicos enjoyed the risk-free opportunity to righteously decry "hate speech"; the group placing the ads basked in the publicity it sought to obtain; and the city's Human Rights Commission got all the money to fund a study on the effects of Islamophobia.  

Muni, of course, was left holding the bag. But that's Muni's lot in life. SF Weekly queried the Human Rights Commission about how that study is doing.

See Also: "Islamophobic" Muni Ads Return

The answer: It's doing.

Executive Director Theresa Sparks noted that somewhere between $12,000 and $15,000 has come her way via three or four campaigns decried as anti-Muslim. Thus far, a "working group" has been formed -- naturally.

Populated by members of the District Attorney's office, the Health Department, and Muslim community groups, it has drawn up the makings of a study analyzing "the emotional, physical, and mental health impacts of sustained Islamophobia," says Sparks.

munijihad.jpg
Cha-ching!
While an analysis of objectionable ads funded by objectionable ads seems more than a bit circular, Sparks says the study will be broader than that. She added that its parameters won't infinitely expand, however, as Muni is saddled with more and more objectionable ads. Fieldwork is pending, and much of it will be undertaken by incredibly cheap labor -- law students. She hopes to complete the study sometime this year.

Muni, incidentally, has no plans to bequeath the HRC with the $5,030 from the current crop of Israeli apartheid ads. "What we've told people is if they are offended by ads, we believe that money should go to some type of study," says Sparks.

Perhaps that'll happen. But a study of how effective these ads are at bringing about well-being in the Mideast or accomplishing anything beneficial whatsoever might be a more satisfying undertaking.




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11 comments
red.marcy.rand
red.marcy.rand topcommenter

As long as they will run ads for both sides there should be no problem.

rmajora
rmajora topcommenter

By the way, the study that the Human Rights Commission sounds like it's going to be a cut-and-paste job by the usual PC suspects, instead of a study of actual discrimination against Moslems in San Francisco, which I suspect is non-existent.

mrericsir
mrericsir topcommenter

I've still yet to hear any argument as to how this is a first amendment issue.  It's one thing to have the right to say whatever you want, it's another thing to force other people carry your signs for you.

meatsack
meatsack

@rmajora  

Oddly a few local Muslims  protested for prop 8 back in the day.



kayvaan
kayvaan

@mrericsir I think because Muni essentially represents the government so it's government censorship of political speech.  I think if this was a private bus company there would be no basis for a free speech case.  But I'm not a lawyer or even an expert in these matters.  Just my speculation.

mrericsir
mrericsir topcommenter

@kayvaan But the bus ads are maintained by a separate company (I think it's ClearChannel?) rather than the city.

red.marcy.rand
red.marcy.rand topcommenter

@rmajora No, Israel where I lived for years is the leading terrorist state in the region and the US is the leading terrorist state in the world. Spencer and Geller are simply trying to smear all Muslims. When this is done to us Jews it's called anti-Semitism.

mrericsir
mrericsir topcommenter

@rmajora Your stupidity continues to astound me.  Keep it up!

rmajora
rmajora topcommenter

@mrericsir @kayvaan

You seem a little unclear on the First Amendment, which allows speech that offends PC SF progressives. Oh, what were the Founding Fathers thinking? Actually the Founders were having trouble with the Moslem fanatics even then, which is where the "shores of Tripoli" phrase came from in the Marine hymn.

http://district5diary.blogspot.com/2010/09/jefferson-adams-and-islam.html

By the way, the Boston Bombing was exactly the kind of thing that Spencer and Geller were trying to warn us about.

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