ACB Responds to 60 Minutes ADA Segment – Calls for Viewer Comments
The American Council of the Blind (ACB), the nation’s leading grassroots consumer advocacy organization representing Americans who are blind and visually impaired, remains deeply disappointed by the 60 Minutes segment that aired on December 4, 2016, which cast a negative light on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The segment, featuring the well-known anchor Anderson Cooper, mischaracterized the ADA as an instrument of opportunism for drive-by lawsuits, rather than focusing on the role our courts have played in protecting the fundamental human and civil rights of more than 55 million Americans with disabilities.
ACB has no tolerance for any practicing attorney who would seek financial gain off the shoulders of Americans with disabilities. However, we firmly believe that such instances exist more in the margins. CBS failed in its responsibility of providing fair and accurate journalistic integrity when it refused to air any of the positive gains that has been pioneered through the judicial branch of our government.
Such unbalanced coverage has the potential for serious negative implications, reframing the way Americans view the ADA at a time when fundamental civil rights are at risk of being attacked. Just within the blindness community, we have made significant strides through legal action that would have no standing if not for the ADA. The courts have played a major role in removing mountains that have stood in the way of fair and equal opportunity. Such things as accessible banking machines, kiosks at airports, access to commercial e-commerce, and access to public accommodations with guide dogs, such as in taxis and hotels, would not be present if not for the ADA. However, such successes as these remain silent before any viewer of last Sunday’s segment. Instead, audiences were exposed to a few bad apples, leading them to believe this is the norm.
60 Minutes routinely reads viewer mail at the end of each program. It is imperative that they hear from those who have been positively impacted by the ADA. You can contact 60 Minutes by emailing them at 60M@cbsnews.com. You can also call (212) 975-3247, or visit the below link for online feedback: http://audienceservices.cbs.com/feedback/feedback.htm
When contacting CBS, tell them you want equal coverage that tells the real story about the ADA. The ADA remains the greatest civil rights legislation since the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and its protections should not be compromised by poor and weak journalism.
If you have not yet viewed the segment, visit: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/60-minutes-americans-with-disabilities-act-lawsuits-anderson-cooper/