Press coverage: first bus ad, first billboard — posted then censored

Chronology of Press Coverage

Press coverage of the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign’s bus ads began December 20, 2010, when news of the ads leaked to King 5, a local TV affiliate of NBC. King 5 ran the story below on its local news program and its Web site. The Web site originally featured a poll asking readers to vote Yes or No on whether King County Metro should allow the bus ads to run. The poll received more than 60,000 responses, and by the time it was taken down, 60 percent of respondents voted Yes to run the ads.

The next day the Seattle Times ran the following story about two groups announcing their intention to run counter-ads, including an obvious hate-speech message implying that Arabs are savages.

By week’s end, the controversy had attracted national and international attention, and King County Executive Dow Constantine said he was canceling the ads and adopting an interim policy prohibiting all noncommercial ads. The Los Angeles Times covered his decision in the article below:,0,3454944.story

A Seattle Times article on the King County Executive’s decision contains a pdf file with the official statement from King County giving the reasons for the reversal.

A group of Jewish Americans living in Seattle called on Constantine to reconsider his decision and allow the ads to run. The alternative Seattle newspaper, The Stranger, was the only media outlet to run their full statement:

After meeting with a group of Jewish leaders who opposed the censorship of the ads, Constantine still refused to allow the ads to run.

The Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign issued a press release and held a joint press conference on January 19, 2011, with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Washington announcing that we were seeking a preliminary injunction against King County’s decision to cancel the bus ads. King 5 News covered the ACLU suit in the article below:

In February 2011, Federal district court judge Richard Jones ruled against the request for a preliminary injunction.


SeaMAC launched its first billboard campaign in April 2011, raising the slogan “Equal Rights for Palestinians, Stop Funding the Israeli Military.” The first of four billboards appeared in Seattle, and the Seattle Times gave it the coverage below:

The billboards were up for less than a week before SeaMAC ads were censored once again. Clear Channel Outdoor, a private billboard company, succumbed to outside pressure and took the billboards down. The Seattle P-I covered this development in the article below: