Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Is it News? Gray Campaign Blasts Metro For Using Fenty's Voice

City Council Chair Vincent Gray condemned "as cheating" Metro's decision to use Mayor Adrien Fenty's voice for recorded Metro announcements. "This is patently unfair, and the Metro board should never have approved the change," Gray said in a news conference this morning. "People are going to hear Fenty say 'doors closing' multiple times day, and that gives Fenty an unfair and possibly illegal advantage. It's free political advertising."

An obviously furious and determined Gray declared, "This is a dangerous precedent. From the schools to streetcars and now Metro, the mayor always gets his way." Gray wagged his finger as he said, "He's not going to get away with this."

When asked by one of the two reporters who attended today's press conference how exactly this would help the Fenty reelection campaign, Gray responded, "When you hear somebody's voice over and over and over again, that voice begins to feel like a old friend. Let me turn the question around and ask you this: How often have you gotten off Metro and had that 'Doors closing, please stand clear of the doors' voice stuck in your head? That's a powerful message with a panoply of contextual overtones. 'Doors closing' can send a subliminal message to voters, that the door is closed on the Mayor's race and Fenty's a sure thing. I assure you he is not a sure thing," Gray said.

Gray did not rule out asking the Justice Department to look into this possible violation of campaign law.

When reached for comment, Mayor Fenty's office issued the following statement: "In response to numerous complaints that the current Metro voice sounds too scolding and makes people's day start off on a sour note, WMATA has decided to replace the voice. Mayor Adrien Fenty's soothing voice is an interim solution while Metro considers alternatives.  Also, in these hard economic times, using the Mayor's voice was a cost-saving measure, as Mayor Fenty volunteered to record the announcements for free.  One option down the road is to use a British voice, because Americans like English accents." The statement did not discuss what might happen to tourists from England who are confused when they hear a British accent over the public address system on our Metro.


Is It News? by Bill Adler is All Life Is Local's humor column.

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