Censorship issues aside, the Ground Zero transit ad should have been rejected strictly on visual grounds. The graphic is misleading to the point of fraudulence in five different ways, including misrepresentation of scale, shape, name, visibility and geography.
The ad graphically equates the proposed 16 story Muslim center to the 110 story WTC which was one of the tallest buildings in the word. The illustration also cements the equivalency with the term “mega,” used for no other reason than to grossly inflate the scale, while taking the liberty of actually re-branding the center with the World Trade Center name. The equivalence is also created by placing the Islamic center closer to us than the WTC, the building drawing our eye into the distance as it angles away while also (inaccurately) presenting the buildings as almost identical in shape.
The other gross misrepresentation here is to create the impression the Center towers over the buildings around it and also has a site line to the actual Ground Zero when, in reality, the building across the street, the twenty-story 100 Church Street, blocks the view to the south and Cordoba, because it is also hemmed in from the rear by the sixteen-story 110 Church Street, has very limited views.
By locating Ground Zero in a single spot (in between the arrows) and then using the arrows to imply that only one or the other structure could exist “there,” the graphic suggests the Cordoba House, which is blocks away from the Ground Zero site, is contending to relocate and occupy the same space as Ground Zero.
If our culture was even a little more sophisticated about the power and impact of imagery, fighting this illustration (perceptually, as well as officially) would be a no-brainer.
Pamela Geller’s Stop Islamization of America website, which has purchased the ad, also shows the alternate versions it proposed before getting the nod to run its first choice.