[Nfbc-info] Hang onto your hats & toupees, a big bag of wind is blowing no good for disabled people

nancy Lynn seabreeze.stl at gmail.com
Tue Dec 6 16:26:36 UTC 2016

Nancy Lynn seabreeze.stl at gmail.com 3148840611
-----Original Message----- 
From: Carl Jarvis via acb-l
Sent: Tuesday, December 06, 2016 9:38 AM
To: acb list
Cc: blind-democracy
Subject: [acb-l] Hang onto your hats and toupees, a big bag of wind is 
blowing no good for disabled people

So some of us thought that 60 Minutes represented fair journalism, did
we?  Well, that's just exactly what we've been taught to think.  But
if we think outside their propaganda box, we see that 60 Minutes is
owned by a giant corporation, and that corporation has its own agenda,
which may very likely not be ours.  The following article sheds some
light on what is coming down the road.  How many of us have told 60
Minutes what we think of their "Fair" reporting on ADA?
Carl Jarvis

60 Minutes Slams ADA, Boosts Trump Agenda

by Law Office of Lainey Feingold on December 6, 2016

Linda Dardarian, Anderson Cooper and Lainey Feingold

Linda Dardarian, Anderson Cooper and Lainey Feingold

On December 4th, 60 Minutes aired a

13 minute story on “drive by lawsuits” under the Americans with
Disabilities Act.

The segment, which followed a puff piece on Paul Ryan, questioned
lawsuits filed by three lawyers, two of them being sued by their
disabled clients for


Anderson Cooper, the show’s host, did not mention a single ADA lawsuit
he thought was valid, a single ADA lawyer he believed scrupulous. He
did not interview

a single disabled person whose ADA claim he found to be meritorious.
No disabled activists were interviewed — though a few, as described
here, had their

(partial) images used in the background footage.

This was puzzling. In June 2015 Linda Dardarian and I spent hours with
Anderson Cooper and his crew for a 60 Minutes piece about the 25th
anniversary of

the ADA. The interview with Anderson Cooper went well. Cooper and his
staff told us that they admired the work we do, and that they thought
it was great

that ADA enforcement was making the world more accessible to people
with disabilities.

After our interview we spent hours with the film crew demonstrating
accessible technology the ADA had achieved. Experienced film makers
carefully set up

their high end equipment to get the perfect shot. The film crew came
back weeks later to take footage of members of the disabled community
doing things

that ADA enforcement makes possible.

The piece never ran. The ADA’s 25th anniversary came and went on July
26, 2015 without a word from the producers. When 2016 rolled around,
we figured the

piece was dead. We were disappointed, but know that media stories
don’t run for any number of reasons.

Then, less than a month after Trump’s election, a ghost of the ADA
story was resuscitated into the piece viewers saw on December 4. Two
hours before it

ran, one of the producers called us. “I just wanted you to know you
won’t be in the piece,” he told me. “We decided to go with a piece
just about the drive-by


Why would 60 Minutes decide to run a negative story about the
Americans with Disabilities Act now, eighteen months after filming?
Why craft a story that

left out hours of film and interviews about effective ADA advocacy.
There can be only one explanation.

Someone at 60 Minutes wanted an anti-ADA piece to support Donald
Trump’s anti-regulatory, anti-ADA, and anti-disability agenda.

The pro-ADA piece that 60 Minutes Killed

The story that 60 Minutes initially planned to run had a very
different message. Our hour plus interview with Anderson Cooper was
wide ranging, covering

ADA enforcement work we have done with our clients for more than twenty 

We talked, for example, about Talking ATMs achieved through

Structured Negotiation,

the alternative dispute resolution process that is the subject of my
new book. If you look closely, you’ll see a picture of a Talking ATM
at minute 12:53

of the video.

That shot was taken while the 60 Minutes camera crew spent time with
Jessie Lorenz, a blind activist in San Francisco who was involved in
the negotiation.

We encouraged 60 Minutes not only to shoot the background footage
known as b-roll with our clients, but to interview these advocates as
well. Lorenz, Executive

Director of Independent Living Resource Center San Francisco and a
single mom who has been featured in a

Facebook promotional video,

does not appear in the show.

Anderson Cooper and his team were also very interested in the work
that the American Council of the Blind has done in Structured
Negotiation to convince

national pharmacies to offer

talking prescription labels.

Back in Linda’s office, the 60 Minutes camera team spent hours filming the

ScripTalk talking label system

with a high tech robotic camera. Because of ADA enforcement through
Structured Negotiation, this system is available through Caremark,
Humana, Rite Aid,

and other U.S. pharmacies.

My picture of that filming appears in this post, along with the
picture taken of Anderson Cooper standing between Linda and me. We
knew that those hours

of capturing the perfect shot would result in a few seconds of
on-camera time, and that our engaging interview would be edited down
to just a few minutes

or less. We didn’t realize that the entire subject of ADA enforcement
through Structured Negotiation would be left on the cutting room

Which Lawyers? Which Lawsuits?

Structured Negotiation is just one way disabled people and their
lawyers enforce the ADA, and Linda and I were not the only disability
rights lawyers left

out of the reimagined ADA piece on 60 Minutes. Lawsuits have played a
critical role in fulfilling the civil rights law’s promise. The 60
Minutes producers

were given names of lawyers across the country who work to enforce the
ADA through lawsuits, administrative complaints, and other strategies.

The national

Disability Rights Bar Association

is comprised of private and non-profit lawyers who represent disabled
people using a host of strategies, court cases a valuable tool in our
tool boxes.

But Anderson Cooper and his team chose not to put a single DRBA lawyer
on camera. Instead, the show featured three lawyers — two being sued
for malpractice,

one that was sanctioned for what a court found to be unethical behavior.

Plaintiffs’ lawyers have long been a target of the right in the United
States. I guess 60 Minutes thought another hit piece was needed as
political power

in the country is shifting.

Disabled People as Dupes, Not Activists

The 60 Minutes episode didn’t just leave out the nation’s disability
rights lawyers. One of the most hurtful aspects of the 60 Minutes
video was its portrayal

of disabled people and ADA issues generally. The disabled people
Anderson Cooper chose to feature in his story were presented as dupes
of unscrupulous

lawyers. People who only became involved in ADA enforcement when
lawyers contacted them.

Like other civil rights laws, the Americans with Disabilities Act was
enacted because disabled people took to the streets to demand their
rights. Chained

themselves to busses demanding transportation, filled the halls of
congress with stories of exclusion and a thirst for independence.
Today, 26 years after

passage of the ADA, the disabled community is stronger than ever, with
more grassroots organizations and social media skills than ever

Not only was this activism nowhere in the 60 Minutes story, but 60
Minutes used b-roll footage of activists who believed they were
contributing to a fair

25th anniversary story.

Ingrid Tischer, Development Director at the

Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund,

is one of those advocates who we encouraged 60 Minutes to contact.
Tischer’s body, but not her face or head, can be seen in the footage
running during


“How dare you slip footage of me from the Ed Roberts Campus (ERC), a
state-of-the-art example of built universal design, without any

Tischer posted on Facebook. “I don’t appreciate being background
scenery for your propaganda.” She shared more when we spoke after the
episode ran:

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.—

Ingrid Tischer,

writer and disability advocate

Erin Lauridsen, a blind San Francisco advocate and technology expert
is another person who appears (from the back) on the episode.
Lauridsen crossing the

street with her guide dog is the last shot of the whole story. “I feel
sick,” she told me, “that my image was used in such a biased and
harmful piece.”

In June 2015 when 60 Minutes asked us for names of people to film for
the episode we thought they were creating, the producer who contacted
us was excited.

They wanted lots of shots of improvements to technology and the built
environment attributable to enforcement of the Americans with
Disabilities Act. “It’s

a real opportunity I think,” one of the producers wrote me in a June
5, 2015 email, “to educate everyone about how this way of thinking
about design can

have a big impact.”

When they dusted off the ADA story after the election and decided to
twist it into an anti-ADA piece, someone at 60 Minutes decided that
educating the

about the value of the ADA no longer mattered.

The hit-piece that 60 Minutes Aired

Minutes 5:35 – 6:00 of the 60 Minutes Episode are made to order for
Trump’s anti-regulatory agenda. First there is a picture of the ADA
Standards for Accessible

Design. Cooper tells listeners that the standards comprise 275 pages.
He then goes on to mention various aspects of the built environment
covered by the

standards with plenty of images but zero context.

Cooper shows a light switch, for example, with no mention that if
mounted too high, a wheelchair rider cannot turn on a light when
entering a room. He

carpeting and pooh poohs regulations governing pile height, failing to
explain that a manual wheelchair user will be unable to maneuver on
improperly designed


The ADA Standards for Accessible Design were not crafted out of thin
air. They are based upon the experiences of disabled people and
empirical studies.

In many instances they represent compromise; some disabled people will
still be unable to use aspects of the built environment that comply
with the standards.

The Standards for Accessible Design make the ADA a reality in the
built environment. 60 Minutes and Anderson Cooper should be ashamed to
ignore their true

meaning to feed the Trump anti-regulatory agenda.

The December 4 story was tailor made for another overlooked aspect of
the Trump agenda — limiting enforcement of the Americans with
Disabilities Act.

Trump properties have been sued for ADA violations

many times, most recently less than three months ago. And Republican Senator

Jeff Flake from Arizona gleefully tweeted

that his “bill stops frivolous #ADA lawsuits featured on @60Minutes by
giving small businesses a chance to fix problems.”

Although Trump and Flake sparred during the run-up to the election,
Flake’s bill fits neatly into a Trump vision of an unregulated
business environment.

60 Minutes apparently thought that vision needed a boost with its
biased and unfair story about ADA enforcement.

Lainey Feingold is a disability rights lawyer and author.  Her book,
Structured Negotiation, A Winning Alternative to Lawsuits, tells the
story of twenty

years of disability rights advocacy on accessible technology issues
using a dispute resolution method focused on win-win solutions and
relationship building.

More information on her website at


or follow her on




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