A group called "Noise Free America" is targeting cities that host motorcycle rallies with negative campaigns that bash local governments as being irresponsible. And they're effective too.
Their strategy is to prevent motorcycle rallies from happening, by going to the local press and sliming the mayor and city councilmembers as being welcoming of excessive noise.
In the latest case, they contacted The Morning Call, a local newspaper covering Lehigh Valley, PA, with a hit piece critical against the town of Bethlehem, PA for welcoming a motorcycle rally to its annual Musikfest.
Hit pieces, particular as extreme as those written by Noise Free America, usually go ignored by the media. But The Morning Call decided to follow up on it, and published its own article that took a negative tone against motorcyclists...
"I even like the (unenhanced) potato-potato sound of a Harley twin, but I bet some wimps modify Harleys to make them noisy because they want to convey an image of power — despite owning a bike that cannot go very fast and handles like a shopping cart...
...The problem is that the thugs know it's unlikely they'll be held accountable, unless they take their obnoxious behavior to places like Denver or Boston."
Wimps and thugs being the keywords used by the newspaper to describe Harley riders.
What gives power to extremist groups like Noise Free America is that they've managed to hook a newspaper like The Morning Call into advancing their agenda.
In the end, this is just another case of Freedom versus Responsibility. Being in the motorcycle industry, I've found that an overwhelming majority of riders are responsible with their modified exhaust, and don't arbitrarily rev their engines with reckless abandon. Like with anything, it's always a few bad apples that spoil the bunch, and unfortunately, The Morning Call overlooked that critical fact.
However, Noise Free America wants to group all riders into a single bucket, and continues to mail out hit pieces with reckless abandon to newspapers across the country. Perhaps their hope is that for every 100 they send out, one of them will stick. Unfortunately, it stuck with The Morning Call.