Disability and the Media: Prescriptions for Change

Paperback (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $26.10
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 12%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (4) from $26.10   
  • New (2) from $31.32   
  • Used (2) from $26.10   

Overview

In the past decade, the mass media discovered disability. Spurred by the box-office appeal of superstars such as the late Christopher Reeve, Michael J. Fox, Stephen Hawking, and others, and given momentum by the success of Oscar-winning movies, popular television shows, best-selling books, and profitable websites, major media corporations have reversed their earlier course of hiding disability, bringing it instead to center stage.

Yet depictions of disability have remained largely unchanged since the 1920s. Focusing almost exclusively on the medical aspect of injury or illness, the disability profile in fact and fiction leads inevitably to an inspiring moment of “overcoming.” According to Riley, this cliché plays well with a general audience, but such narratives, driven by prejudice and pity, highlight the importance of “fixing” the disability and rendering the “sufferer” as normal as possible. These stories are deeply offensive to persons with disabilities. Equally important, misguided coverage has adverse effects on crucial aspects of public policy, such as employment, social services, and health care.

Powerful and influential, the media is complicit in this distortion of disability issues that has proven to be a factor in the economic and social repression of one in five Americans. Newspapers and magazines continue to consign disability stories to the “back of the book” health or human-interest sections, using offensive language that has long been proscribed by activists. Filmmakers compound the problem by featuring angry misfits or poignant heroes of melodramas that pair love and redemption. Publishers churn out self-help titles and memoirs that milk the disability theme for pathos. As Riley points out, all branches of the media are guilty of the same crude distillation of the story to serve their own, usually fiscal, ends.

Riley’s lively inside investigation illuminates the extent of the problem while pinpointing how writers, editors, directors, producers, filmmakers, advertisers and the executives who give their marching orders go wrong, or occasionally get it right. Through a close analysis of the technical means of representation, in conjunction with the commentary of leading voices in the disability community, Riley guides future coverage to a more fair and accurate way of putting the disability story on screen or paper. He argues that with the “discovery” by Madison Avenue that the disabled community is a major consumer niche, the economic rationale for more sophisticated coverage is at hand. It is time, says Riley, to cut through the accumulated stereotypes and find an adequate vocabulary that will finally represent the disability community in all its vibrant and fascinating diversity.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This book is cranky, idiosyncratic, witty, readable, funny, and beautifully written . . . it will have broad use in communication and journalism collections.”—Choice
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781584654735
  • Publisher: University Press of New England
  • Publication date: 4/13/2005
  • Series: Disability Library
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 284
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

CHARLES A. RILEY II is a newsroom veteran, the co-founder of WeMedia, the first multimedia company devoted to people with disabilities, and the former editor-in-chief of WE, its national lifestyle magazine. A former reporter covering politics and policy, science and finance for Fortune magazine, former senior editor of Art & Auction magazine, and a frequent contributor to Art & Antiques magazine, Dr. Riley has appeared on CNN, CNNfn, NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox News and NPR as a commentator on disability-related issues. He has won major service awards for his coverage of disability from Easter Seals, United Cerebral Palsy, the National Recovery Alliance, and other organizations. The author of nine books on the arts, Riley is Associate Professor of English at Baruch College/City University of New York.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Preface
Heroes of Assimilation: Or How the Media Transform Disability
Whose Life Is It Anyway? The Use and Abuse of the Disability Memoir
Getting It on Paper: Revising the Disability Story for the Print Media
I'd Like to Thank the Academy: Losing Focus on Disability in Movies and Television
And Here's the Pitch: How Advertising Uses Disability
Milestones, Mixed Messages, and Missed Opportunities: The Unfinished Business of the Disability Media
WE: The Short Happy Life of an Independent Magazine
"On the Web We're All Equal": And Other Myths about Disability and Multimedia
Appendix A: Guidelines for Portraying People with Disabilities in the Media
Appendix B: Guidelines for Web Accessibility
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)