60 Minutes Came to the Bay Area, birthplace of the Independent Living movement — a largely unknown chapter of US civil rights history — for footage for a piece about the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
They filmed me, moving about the Ed Roberts Campus (ERC), where I work at Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF), an ERC founding partner.
They filmed other members of the cross-disability community.
And they used that footage to undermine and dishonor the law that made me — a woman with a disability — a full citizen in 1990.
60 Minutes came to OUR house, used us, and told the world people with disabilities are either dupes, greedy, or both.
Top 5 Notes to Anderson Cooper Regarding His 60 Minutes Hit Piece That I Shot B-Roll For Once Upon a Time When It Was Going To Be About the ADA’s 25th
Segment also provides excellent instruction in “How to add insult to injury” by failing to caption its online streaming video
1. If an access violation is so obvious it can be found through Google’s aerial view, then, yeah, I expect a business owner to be able to find it.
2. If business owners say they aren’t serving any people with disabilities, get the other side of the story: Talk to local pwd in the area. Commit an act of inclusive journalism.
3. You know why I never used to ask for a pool lift? (Despite excellent legal reasoning that ought to render the issue moot.) Because I’ve been hardened by the indifference of business owners – the people who admit on national television they were breaking the law. I’ve had to use the ADA as a plaintiff just to get access to a hotel toilet. So spare me your pearl-clutching about litigation.
4. Thanks so much for using my body sans head to make a retrograde depiction of people with disabilities. You’ve made your editorial position abundantly clear: When it comes to our rights, the rule of law is a threat that must be neutralized. But who cares? We’re just a bunch of headless non-people.
I was gut-punched by Anderson Cooper’s segment because it did indeed spotlight fraud — the fraud of right-wing propaganda masquerading as journalism. Where was the point of view of ordinary disabled Americans — like me — who could speak to the righteous and still-inadequate enforcement of our most basic civil rights through the ADA? I trusted Anderson Cooper and 60 Minutes enough to shoot B-roll with them. But I guess a woman going about her job, her life, thanks to the rule of law was just too damn accurate and fair.