Ad Deemed Too Political for Seattle Metro Allowed to Run

Ad encouraged shoppers to buy American goods.

ByABC News
December 1, 2011, 1:39 PM

Dec. 1, 2011— -- TAP America, a Seattle nonprofit organization, was initially rebuffed by the Seattle Metro bus transit system when it sought to run advertisements on local buses that would urge shoppers to buy American goods. But Seattle Metro changed its tune today, saying it would allow the ads to run, despite initially deeming them too political for city buses.

According to Mark Bloome, founder of TAP America, he "got notice that they turned it down because they said it was political and controversial," a designation that Bloome said left him "flabbergasted." "To have a government body say that to buy American is controversial, I don't get it," Bloome said.

The initial ban seemed to stem from a Seattle metro policy that bars "Public issue advertising expressing or advocating an opinion, position or viewpoint on matters of public debate about economic, political, religious or social issues." This ban went into place after a group sought to place ads depicting Israelis as war criminals on buses, which were not allowed to run. Seattle Metro's initial response to the TAP America ads was, "The concept of Buy American is an issue of both political and economic debate."

Bloome said, however, that TAP America's advertisement did not fall into that category.

"We're not political, we're a nonprofit organization trying to help our country."

The Seattle Metro system apparently agreed, as it reversed its decision and allowed the ads to run. "Upon further evaluation ... the ad does not express an opinion about a public issue ... but rather a promotion of the sale of goods," Seattle Metro said in a statement. "Therefore, we will allow it to run."

The words "December Is Buy American Month, Shop Locally, Join Seattle's," will be displayed to Seattle Shoppers.