The Disabled, the Media, and the Information Age

The Disabled, the Media, and the Information Age

The Disabled, the Media, and the Information Age

The Disabled, the Media, and the Information Age

Synopsis

How have disabled Americans been portrayed by the media through the years and how are images and the role of the handicapped changing? Jack Nelson and a series of experts in communication and the disabled offer an easy-to-read overview of key issues, continuing problems, new opportunities, and new technological tools. Professionals and teachers in communication, along with experts and general readers interested in public policy and social issues, will find this short study, with its illustrations, descriptions and lists of organizations and its bibliographical materials, a handy reference.

Excerpt

As Americans look toward the twenty-first century, a new world for those with a disability may be waiting just beyond the horizon. Technology has already altered the way most Americans live. In one way, computers have proved the great equalizers, and apparently technological advances are just beginning. Coupled with those advances, the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 promises new attitudes in a society that is rapidly changing.

A hundred years ago, at the end of the nineteenth century, the United States was in a state of flux too--due not only to industrialization but to the influence of the media on society. Those were the times when the muckrakers of the press--especially the magazines McClure's, Cosmopolitan, and Munsey's--exposed national corruption and when the robber barons and other industrial giants were keeping the public twisting on a string, at the mercy of their financial and political manipulations. Through the efforts of such journalists as Lincoln Steffens, Ida Tarbell, and Upton Sinclair, Americans were made aware of the abuses of public trust. The result was improved and safer living conditions. The Pure Food and Drug Act, for instance, put an end to abuses of the meat-packing industry. A reform mood swept the country, resulting in new attitudes, new guidelines, and new bodies like the Federal Trade Commission that were aimed at protecting the public from the blatant misrepresentations and fraud that had flourished for decades.

Now, as the twentieth century comes to a close, another major change is taking place. Along with the lot of other minorities, life may be improving for those with disabilities--those who for centuries have been hidden away . . .

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