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The Disability and the Media

In the disability and the media by Charles A. Riley II who is a professor of journalism at Baruch College, part of the City University of New York. Who is the co-founder of We (Media) We (Media) is the first multimedia company devoted to people with disabilities.

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He is also the former editor-in-chief of WE (media) magazine, a national bimonthly magazine which he has written two dozen cover stories.

Riley was the director of communications for the International Center for Corporate Accountability, a Baruch-based labor, and environmental monitoring NGO. Riley was also a member of the board of the Asian American Research Institute and advisor to the Asian American Higher Education Council. And he has won major awards for his coverage of disability from Easter Seals, the National Recovery Alliance United, Cerebral Palsy and other organizations and acted as an advisor on both small business and accessibility issues to corporations. These include IBM, AT&T and Microsoft, the White House and the office of the mayor in New York City.

As stated on page 529, “All branches of the media considered here, from print to television, radio, and move (including advertisement) to multimedia and the Internet, are guilty of the same distillation of stories of their own, usually fiscal, ends.” The audience is addressed in a way. They are addressed by saying that, they are the ones that take people with disabilities and they also change how they are being and the benefits they receive than other people.

This article also addresses the general public, which is the people who believe in the media and take what the media says as everything and final. Riley tried to get peoples attention across what the media has been doing and not telling the truth but lie. “This is patronizing, trivializing, and marginalizing ur-narrative of distance ability in the media today.” This is talking about how the media uses people with disabilities and transforms and changes the person or subject they are using, possibly making them out to be the complete and total opposite of who they truly are.

He uses Aimee Mullins experience to talk about her fifteen minutes of fame for her running with amputated legs but did not talk about her being a Pentagon intern and appearing on the dean’s list as an academic genius and diplomacy at Georgetown. Riley talks about how the achievement of Aimee’s are always told over and over by authors and journalist who are well-meaning but sometimes never give out enough information to find out who she really is. He says that most articles talk about her success and glorify her achievements with her disability into something way bigger than it truly is.

It states, “However, today’s storytellers, including those in the disability media, are more likely to make people with disabilities into ‘heroes of assimilation.” He is talking about how the media takes a simple person with disabilities and makes them out to be a hero for overcoming and fighting the battle they face, but rarely tell much about the person outside of the disability.

“Every time Aimee Mullins sees her name in the papers she braces herself for some predictable version of the same headline followed by the same old story.” (Page 529) Riley talks about how the media always introduce her on headlines that seem to address her the same way every single time and never really talks about who she is.

People do not like it sometimes what the media do and intend to forget what it could do to them or even forget who they are. I believe his main idea is not to just listen to the media, but to learn more about the person outside of the media as much as you can, because sometimes, everything you see and hear is not the truth.