“Ads Featuring Nazi Imagery Pulled From New York City Subway,” the bland headline from the Associated Press announced. The first line of the story was similarly ho-hum and passive:
“An ad campaign that featured Nazi imagery has been pulled from the New York City subway system.”
But maybe it was the show’s message that was censored.
The ad campaign is for Amazon’s new show “The Man In The High Castle,” which is based on Philip K. Dick’s alternate history warning of an early 1960s United States that lost World War II and fell to fascism and censorship.
The ads continue…
“Nazis control much of the East while Japan rules over the Pacific States. The Rocky Mountains are something of an outlaw zone called the Neutral Territory.
The slow-paced but engrossing show features Rufus Sewell as a ruthless SS Obergruppenführer who cracks down on the resistance movement with shocking efficiency and brutality. There is no freedom in the dystopian land that shows how precious freedoms of speech, religion, and assembly truly are.”
Democratic mayor of New York City Bill de Blasio called the advertising campaign “irresponsible” and “offensive” and called for their removal. “The crimes against humanity by the Nazis during World War II were so gruesome that it’s a pretty shocking thing to see upon entering a subway car.”
The ad campaign had been approved by the Metropolitan Transit Authority, of course, but Amazon had agreed to pull the advertisements after pressure from government officials.
But you have to get to the very end of the Associated Press account to learn who actually “pulled” the ads from the subway. And for controversy about a show on the dangers of fascist totalitarianism, the answer may surprise you:
Officials confirmed Wednesday that Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered them removed.
Hmmm. Hitler also restricted speech in public places!
Cuomo tightly controls the Metropolitan Transit Authority, so he’s taken authority over such decisions.
But the story couldn’t be more interesting. Fascism is so bad that the ruling authority needs to decide what commercial speech is acceptable in public spaces? The governor ordering the ads pulled is exactly the kind of government control the show warns about.
Yet the Associated Press, which would have approximately no trouble connecting the dots between government control of artistic and commercial speech and a fictitious TV show about the dangers of totalitarianism if a conservative had made the order, can’t even manage to put this information in the lede of its story?
Let’s hope the rest of the country is able to 1) distinguish between alt-history warnings about fascism and actual calls for fascism and 2) be skeptical of government over-reach when it comes to controlling speech in the public square.
You have to admit that government censorship of a show about government censorship is ironic and the fact that the media isn’t screaming bloody murder about it is just another example of liberal double standards.
Besides, free speech is only really free if it protects all speech, especially that which we find distasteful.
Because nothing says “we hate Nazis” like following in their jackboot steps.
Maybe they have a clip of Hitler outlawing 16 oz drinks and it hit a little too close to home.