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Why The Media Silence On AODA?

By Victor Schwartzman 
September 2, 2013

Months ago, the Ontario Government honoured National Access Awareness Week by failing to meet a legal deadline to appoint a new Independent Review of how the Government is implementing AODA. 

The Toronto Star carried a terrific guest editorial on May 31, another article in August, but otherwise, little else. 

Type AODA into The Globe and Mail or The Huffington Post’s websites and you get nothing at all.  On the CBC’s site, the most recent post is from 2012.

Why have so many news organizations—whether print, broadcast or online—ignored the government’s failures around AODA?  Is it not a hot story?  Or a news item?

Wouldn’t the Government’s failure at least be used by its political enemies to create media stories? 

Why the big zero in AODA coverage?  If not igniting a media firestorm, should the current situation at least merit a media campfire?

Why no flames? 

There are many reasons, but for the sake of efficiency, we have narrowed them to ten.  For this list, please note that we use actual quotes from nonexistent journalists who could easily have said any of the below:    

The Top Ten List Why The Media Will Not Cover The AODA Situation 

10.       “We already covered it.  Nothing new has happened.”

9.         “Disabled people should be neither seen nor heard.  People like guide dogs though.  Animal stories always work, just not about the people.  Are there guide monkeys?  We would do a story about guide monkeys.”

8.         “We love stories about celebrities with disabilities.  A piece about some blind guy who wants to get on a bus, not so much.  Though if he was a blind celebrity, that would work.” 

7.         “Advertisers want key demographics.  No demographic wants people with disabilities.  We haven’t done a study or anything, but it makes sense. And advertisers don’t care about people with disabilities because those pensions don’t give you much money to throw around.”  

6.         “We have a disabled person on staff.  She says everything’s fine.  And we haven’t heard complaints about coverage from anyone except the usual crew.” 

5.         “The government not implementing its own laws is nothing new, actually.”  

4.         “We give people with disabilities money and keep them alive but they always want more.  They wear funny clothes and are late for meetings.  They form cliques.  They have weird ceremonies at night with their ‘animal assistants’.”

3.         “Inspiring stories about disability are only inspiring when the person is overcoming the disability, not when it’s about gaining and using rights.”
2.         “We get no pressure from anyone we listen to, whether the Government or the opposition, to do anything on this.” 

and…the number one reason:

1.         “Bikinis sell, wheelchairs don’t.”
 
Next week: AODA Legislation Limbo Caused By Bermuda Triangle