Aug 20 2015

‘People With Disabilities Are Telling Their Own Stories’

CounterSpin interview with Beth Haller on disability rights

Beth Haller

When 2,000 people gathered on the White House lawn on July 26, 1990, for the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, it was largest gathering ever of journalists for a disability story—though most of them missed the fact that the White House itself lacked the accessible restrooms mandated by the act. Twenty-five years on, how much has changed?

Jul 31 2015

Ed Morales on Puerto Rican Debt Crisis, Beth Haller on Disability Rights

Protesting government shutdown in Puerto Rico

The debt crisis has already meant closing schools, losing jobs and shutting off healthcare options, so what does it mean that on the mainland, what’s happening in Puerto Rico is just a business story?

Jun 07 2013

Michael Ratner on Bradley Manning, Neil deMause on Disability Fraud Hoax

manning-nbc

As Bradley Manning’s court martial trial gets underway, journalists face real obstacles in trying to report on it, and they should be facing the constitutional issues the case raises. We’ll be joined by Michael Ratner, president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights and U.S. attorney for WikiLeaks and Julian Assange.

Also on the show: Are parents keeping their kids from learning how to read, so they can get a disability check from the state? The claim has come from some high places in elite media, which you won’t be surprised to learn, doesn’t make it true. We’ll speak with author and journalist Neil deMause about this not-so-new media canard.

Jun 01 2013

Disabled Are New Target for Charges of Cheating

NYT, NPR lead campaign to cut SSI

Nicholas Kristof at Davos (cc photo: WEF/Monika Flueckiger)

Nicholas Kristof’s column was almost entirely wrong or unsupported. Yet it turned out to be just the opening salvo of a series of high-profile news reports exposing America’s alleged plague of skyrocketing disability benefits.

Nov 01 2012

‘Inspiration’ or Invisible

Media offer limited roles for people with disabilities

2012 Paralympics Torch Relay--Photo Credit: James Mitchell/Wikimedia Commons

U.S. media had a soft spot for the 2012 Paralympic Games, featuring some 4,000 athletes with disabilities from around the world. Not that they thought people wanted to see much of them―NBC only aired a few hours’ worth, and no live coverage (AP, 8/23/12)―but the events “proved once again that whatever your obstacles, you really can accomplish almost anything with hard work and dedication” (Sacramento Bee, 9/14/12). Seeing people with, as NPR’s Melissa Block (8/28/12) put it, “all sorts of impairments” competing in events from archery to swimming was “inspiring a lot of people” (NBC, 9/4/12); these were “performances that […]

Dec 01 2011

Lives Worth Reporting in the Disability Rights Movement

A history still unfolding—and largely unheeded

Lives Worth Living, an independent documentary on the U.S. disability rights movement that aired recently on PBS, traces the emergence and growth of activism through the 1990 passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act—a fact noted in a respectful New York Times review (10/26/11) that was all the notice big media appeared to take of the film, billed as the first such treatment of this crucial social justice movement. The Times’ Neil Genzlinger noted in closing that the “impact” of the ADA, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and telecommunications, is […]

Jul 01 2011

Getting Arrested Without Getting Attention

Media ignore disability rights protest on Capitol Hill

While it’s true elite media show no principled interest in citizen activism, you’d think some things would garner a word or two. Like 300 people, 200 or so in wheelchairs, occupying the rotunda of the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, D.C., to protest Republican budget plans for Medicaid. Dozens of protesters, organized by the disability rights group ADAPT, were arrested and carted off by Capitol police on May 2; the next day, another 300 gathered outside the Longworth House Office Building, many getting inside to Rep. Paul Ryan’s second floor office, where 10 were arrested—all to the profound disinterest […]

Aug 01 2005

Does Size Really Matter?

Analyzing the press’s protest coverage

On March 19, the two-year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, tens of thousands of people across the country, and still more worldwide, turned out to protest the ongoing war. The protests had multiple goals, but given the general numbing of the population to the war, one objective was undoubtedly to keep the fact that human beings are being killed on a daily basis in the forefront of the average American’s brain. Unfortunately, if coverage in leading newspaper and television outlets is any gauge, this goal remains largely unmet. The New York Times (3/20/05) teased its coverage on the front […]