Free speech in America is under assault from the “tolerant” left, nowhere more so than in New York City, where the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has been fighting an effort to run subway ads reading, “IN ANY WAR BETWEEN THE CIVILIZED MAN AND THE SAVAGE, SUPPORT THE CIVILIZED MAN. SUPPORT ISRAEL. DEFEAT JIHAD.”
Originally, the MTA said that the ad, produced by Pamela Geller’s American Freedom Defense Initiative, shouldn’t be put up. Geller took the MTA to court, and won an order that forced the MTA to allow the ad.
Now the MTA is fighting back by entirely rewriting their advertising standards to stop Geller’s ads. The new advertising standards provided to The Blaze explain:
The advertisement, or any information contained in it, is directly adverse to the commercial or administrative interests of the MTA or is harmful to the morale of MTA employees or contains material the display of which the MTA reasonably foresees would incite or provoke violence or other immediate breach of the peace, and so harm, disrupt, or interfere with safe, efficient, and orderly transit operations.
The second half of that sentence, regarding incitement and provocation, is new. And it’s specifically designed to stop Geller’s ad.
It also looks like a First Amendment violation. In order to ban an ad, something more should be required than a reasonable suspicion that an ad will incite or provoke violence. After all, the left wouldn’t be happy if every time they tried to run a gay parade ad, radical Muslims got violent, and the ads came down. This standard puts free speech at the mercy of those who oppose free speech the most. Furthermore, it’s a recipe for subjectivity. What exactly is “reasonably foreseeable”?
The MTA did admit that the standards were changed to respond to Geller’s ad. So in the end, it appears that President Obama is right: Obama’s future won’t allow for those who insult the religious feelings of Muslims.