The world from eternity has been unable to understand the life of a differently abled individual. Even in this day and age of fast-paced information sharing, the fog around the differently abled remains intact and the media is hugely responsible for this. Recently, Ellen Painter Dollar from patheos.com correctly mentioned that the perception created by the media itself is completely flawed and needs massive overhaul for better representation of the stories they are covering.
However, the fact is that this erroneous perception cannot be changed overnight. It needs to be accepted that the flaws originate from a total lack of understanding about the lives of the differently abled individual being covered in a particular story.
This finding alone can bring about a massive shift in how stories are reported; however, it is first required to understand the flaws itself. Ironically, many already know about this and yet, it just needed to be brought out of the closet. Therefore, it is time take a look at the areas where the media is failing before steps can be taken to correct the same.
As Ellen puts it, the journalistic requirements of the media and the need to grab eyeballs forces it either to report the story in a way so that it results in pity or leaves the readers in awe of the differently abled person, who form the central character of the story being published. Such representations often end up presenting the wrong facts.
After reading through several stories on differently abled individuals published over the years it can be said that these flaws are common in all stories irrespective of geographical boundaries.
Ellen notes that the media has the tendency to use certain words over-zealously to portray the protagonist of their story. Words like “suffering from”, “forced to”, “confined to”, and “struggle against” are some examples that immediately pop out of almost each of these reports, the moment one starts reading them. This shows that the entire premise is flawed from the very start and the facts are never spoken.
Moreover, as the story proceeds it is designed to evoke an emotional response from the reader, some of which, as told earlier, borders on awe, pity or both. It also portrays any form of disability in a negative light with usage of the words expressed earlier.
Fighting against these flawed reporting standards is easier than it actually appears. The first thing that needs to be done is to track down the reporter and discuss the flaws in the perception. A casual talk is enough to bring about the change in their writing styles and would ensure that all future reports are realistic and can connect more with the readers.
Secondly, one can write about his or her own life. With such great opportunities opening up around the world, it becomes prudent that a more accurate story is written and talked about, rather than depending on the omnipresent flawed versions that are printed every other day.
However, it remains to be seen if all of this is going to result in some positive action and change. Otherwise, there is no end to the perception being passed on to every generation on this planet from the superfluous stories that are fed to the society every day.