MBTA Bans Ad on Scott Brown’s Vote to Gut Clean Air Act

This is the ad the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority censored as “too controversial”:

“Too controversial? Too controversial is voting to gut the Clean Air Act, for 40 years the bulwark of our environmental policy,” said Bill McKibben, founder of “Maybe the T thinks spreading that news will scare people too much–it’s sweet of them to be so protective of their riders, but Brown’s vote is the real horror.”

Those of us who have lived in Boston remember the subway system, the ‘T’ fondly.  Yet why should they censor a factually accurate ad?

As Blue Mass Group notes, the MBTA put on their buses the ‘end-of-the-world’ ad, which, to put it kindly, had little basis in fact

The good news is that is going to place its crowd-funded ads around Boston via other means.  Here’s some background on this sad affair from 350.0rg:

Mere weeks after Senator Scott Brown was targeted by rallies and ads across Massachusetts for his controversial vote to gut the Clean Air Act, the MBTA has ruled that an ad highlighting his vote is “too controversial” for their riders.

The ad in question was crowd-funded by hundreds of Boston area residents who gave an average of $40 each to spread the word of Brown’s contentious vote and its connection to the $1.9 million poured into his campaign by the fossil fuel industry and their corporate front groups.

Residents, fired up after a massive rally two weeks ago in downtown Boston, teamed up with grassroots climate campaign and crowd-funded ad start-up Loudsauce to put the ad in Boston T Stops. They were stopped short of their goal by the MBTA ruling that it was “too controversial.”

Other recently banned ads include movie ads deemed too “sexy” or “risqué” and a marijuana legalization ad deemed inappropriate for seemingly promoting smoking to kids. A recent uproar was caused by ads with near-naked women promoting hard alcohol, but those ads have yet to be banned.

“As a mother of a child with asthma, I wanted to get the word out to local families that Senator Brown voted to gut the Clean Air Act,” said Vanessa Rule, a Boston area mother and activist who organized the downtown rally and donated for the ad. “His campaign benefited from over $1.9 million from the fossil fuel industry, and now he is putting their profits over our health.”

Rather than waste time arguing with the MBTA, is planning to take the ads out of the subway and into the streets: in the coming weeks, bicycles will pull the banned billboards past iconic places in Boston, as well as Sen. Brown’s district office. From one form of alternative transportation to another, local residents are determined to make their voices heard.

Local residents plan to increase fundraising in response to the banning in an attempt to place the ad in new locations.

“If Scott Brown’s vote and his campaign contributors are too controversial for MBTA, maybe he should think more carefully about who he is representing,” said Josh Lynch, another local organizer of the clean air fight. “This won’t stop us from getting the word out, we will work harder than ever to raise the money to put the ads somewhere new.”

The Clean Air Act vote specifically was meant to roll back regulations of toxic coal pollution, responsible for more than 251 deaths in Massachusetts every year.

Scott Brown, of course, has ‘moved to the far right’ as Republicans seeking national office inevitably do these days (see “Brown pushes anti-science nonsense, flip-flops on clean energy action“).  Today he is, to quote from that classic song about the Boston subway, “the man who never returned.”

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Below are the earlier comments from the Facebook commenting system:


Scott Brown did not “move” to the far right…He always has been a far right wacko. Republicans lie. It is part of their political description. They will say whatever it takes to get elected then comes the real agenda. Sorry Massachusetts, but this is what happens when you believe the lies.

June 15 at 1:16pm

Peter S. Mizla

Massachusetts residents bought the lies with Brown- who represents the same corporate interests in oil, coal, and health care companies like every other republican, and sadly some Democrats.

He will make key votes on certain issues merely to get reelected- like his vote against the Ryan budget- but as far as the environment, renewable investments in wind and solar, he is as much brain dead as he is a prostitute of the special interests.

In time I hope the people of the Bay state expose him for what he is- a total fraud.

June 15 at 2:23pm

Pitango Jinjy

as you’re well aware ,yankees are hopelessly DUMMIES!.

June 15 at 11:48pm

Richard Brenne

For sure this is a great campaign I fully support.

It’s only looking at the way the human mind works (or doesn’t) that makes me concerned that while this ad is great for those who can make basic connections (I’m hoping the Cambridge subway stop would usually qualify), many others might see this ad and think “Well, my kid did die of asthma – but Brown has such a nice smile…”

June 15 at 2:52pm

Mike Roddy

Go get em, Bill. Your new streetside ads will be more effective when Bostonians realize that they were censored.

June 15 at 5:33pm

Ben Lieberman

And neither Senator Brown nor his staff can even explain whether he now accepts that global warming is taking place and is caused by human activity.

June 15 at 8:51pm

Celiene O’Hara

But they put on the end of the world ad. SICK!

June 15 at 8:57pm

Ingrid Langlois

Low is only what they know!

June 15 at 9:08pm

Susan Shamel

mtmariner101, Brown did vote for RGGI and didn’t “nay” (a voice vote) the GWSA (Global Warming Soutions Act) while a state Senator. So, yes, I would say that he did move to the right.

Why don’t we start calling the right what is really is, that is the “wrong?”

June 15 at 10:32pm

Pitango Jinjy

Them Yankees are big DUMMIES!

June 15 at 11:47pm

Suya Wang

Bill McKibben, founder of great Bill Mckibben. Now I am hoping another Bill who is Bill Gates join us also to fight against global warming.

June 16 at 2:08am

Maggie Richards

Remember this Mass., when pretty boy comes up for reelection.

June 22 at 7:35am

Comments are closed.