Wednesday, July 27

ADA

Yesterday was the 15th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Channel 8 covered the celebration held at the Arts Garden downtown. I didn't see the other channels do so.

They interviewed Ric Edwards, the ADA director for the Department of Natural Resoures. Mr. Edwards lost the use of his legs in an auto accident in 1970, when he was fifteen.

I was transfixed. Here was a guy who spoke simply and eloquently about his life being turned upside down, and about the consequences he faced because all this happened before the federal government got involved. And because the reporter kept out of the way and let him talk, and didn't ask him to describe the emotions she'd already announced he should be feeling.

“The world's changed dramatically for somebody like me.

"The thing that I think is most important about the American with Disabilities Act isn't the curb cuts, or the access to buildings or even the employment issues. It's simply an education, an increased awareness that people with disabilities are capable of doing anything that anybody else would like to do. In fact, folks with disabilities have the same dreams as anybody else has because they are people first. They are people with dreams, hopes, aspirations. They simply have a disability as well."

I turned to my wife. "Y'know, every other frickin' day there's a 'heath report' on some new plastic surgery technique or wrinkle cream, and they stick a microphone in front of some self-absorbed thirty-or-forty something with terminal consumeritis. And here's this guy who has a real story to tell, about real problems and how we can really make a difference in people's lives by legislating compassion and inclusion. What's more, he's better spoken than anybody who works for this outfit. And you'll probably see him again. In ten years."

She switched channels shortly after, and within five minutes Channel 13's Health Beat or Health Scence or whatever it is spent five minutes on a sunblock/wrinkle cream the FDA won't let you have.

And for those of you keeping score, we also got to see the Governor cutting a ribbon somewhere. He's about to junket off to Asia on an economic mission. I think he ought to concentrate on landing some ribbon manufacturers and the makers of giant novelty scissors.

5 comments:

KathyR said...

I continue to admire, and worry about, your ability to watch local TV news. I just can't do it. And because I live here in the Plastic Surgery Capital of the World, you can just imagine what I'm missing.

doghouse riley said...

It's a monogamy thing, Kathy. My wife isn't happy unless she's seen all three channels' weather reports at least twice. I just tag along. But last year Channel 8 lost Mike Ahern, the Walter Cronkite of his market, and they went to the Peripatetic News Hour, where they're all just walking around or standing in front of screens, and they style it the "working" news, which is meant to suggest they're busy fact-checking all the stuff they use as teasers for the 6 o'clock portion, where they finally sit down.

And at least on the Coast the Plastic Surgery Vidclip of the Day would be news people could use. Here it's just another example of the "Local Celebrity/Social Elite" approach to local issues.

D. Sidhe said...

The working news tends to backfire occasionally, as when a lowly-paid nobody whose job it is to wander around holding papers stares in amazement as the anchordork says something completely idiotic.
Beyond that, it's all VNRs, and I'm just waiting for channel owners to realize they could ditch the entire news team except one weather guy, and hire a PR firm to program the VNRs.
Why mess around with the news team? Microsoft and Wyeth go to a lot of trouble to put together complete ready-to-play releases, and now that the government does too...
Hey, if you can't get a PR firm interested, you're not news.

Now if they'd just find a way to cut out the viewer, I think we'd *all* be better off. It's not like we're the point, anyway.

corndog said...

Doghouse, I saw a story in today's Wash Post about the upcoming changes in TV Guide, involving changes in both format and content. Is this somehow your doing? That's my Doghouse Riley, stickin' it to the Man. (How's that for an unsolicited testimonial?)

Cynthia said...

Most people don't realize all the ADA has done until they need it. One of my friends broke her ankle while visiting Canada. She was in a wheelchair and had to be carried up stairs in so many places. She told me later that she had not realized until back here in the US how much the ADA made places accessible to those in wheelchairs and with walkers. Whenever someone complains about ADA rules, I tell them this story and they get really quiet.