A thoughtful reminder of how TV pre-digests and pre-categorizes what could be nuanced, complex stories into a much simpler, more sensationalized versions. The truth we think we are getting from TV in between car dealership commercials is nothing like the truth we could be betting from reading. Here’s one TV subject who speaks out about how TV journalism sensationalized his disability.
I don’t think that Oprah Winfrey or Rob Stafford are insensitive people. I tend to believe that despite their respective media prominence they are both subject to the unwritten but very real rules of tabloid TV. These strictures dictate that “human interest” stories must be presented to television viewers in quick bursts of dramatic suffering. And it helps if the person whose story is being told is a victim of social forces or a natural disaster. The “promo ads” for these shows (which run for about 15seconds) depend entirely on two dimensional melodramas.
I can’t wait for a TV network by and for people with disabilities. The mainstream media still doesn’t get us. Not at all. What’s worse is that the mainstream TV folks keep packaging disability as a dreadful misfortune, something to be overcome with faith or heroism or a howl of victimhood. — Planet of the Blind: Oprah, If Only You Had Read the Book!.=