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Cabbies Forced to Talk Politics During DNC

Taxi ads slamming the ‘liberal media’ frustrate liberal drivers in Charlotte

Yair Rosenberg
September 04, 2012
A cab this week in Charlotte.(Newsbusters)
A cab this week in Charlotte.(Newsbusters)

One of the first things you see when departing the airport in Charlotte, North Carolina is a large billboard proclaiming “Don’t Believe the Liberal Media.” It’s part of an advertising campaign by the conservative Media Research Council designed to inform the citizens of Charlotte of the perils of the press—and to troll the attendees of the Democratic National Convention, which began here today. (Last week in Tampa, Republican National Convention delegates were subjected to a similar advertising blitz by liberal groups, who paid for signs on taxis and public transportation featuring quotes from prominent Republicans acknowledging the reality and dangers of climate change.)

While these dueling ad campaigns are the source of some bemusement to political reporters who have schlepped between conventions, there’s one population here in Charlotte that isn’t laughing: cab drivers. Although they have no control over the content of the advertisements atop their cars, these drivers still have to answer for them to their passengers, friends, and family. “I tell them—use just a little bit of common sense,” said Lindsey, my driver to the Time Warner Arena. “Do I look like a Republican?” (Lindsey’s black.)

Stopped at a red light, he rolls down the window to commiserate with the adjacent taxi driver whose vehicle is also festooned with an admonition against the liberal media. “I can’t wait until this is over,” he sighs, “and we can get some movie poster up there or something.”

Yair Rosenberg is a senior writer at Tablet. Subscribe to his newsletter, listen to his music, and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.