Haller’s review of representations of disabled people on U.S. TV in 2008*

Disability Visibility in U.S. Entertainment TV in 2008
By BA Haller
Media dis&dat blog
The visibility of people with disabilities in entertainment media helps subtly educate diverse audiences about the disability experience in America. Many non-disabled Americans have little contact with people with disabilities in their daily lives unless they have friends or family with a disability. Therefore, they get much of their information about disability from the media and these images have the potential to change attitudes. (A 1991 Louis Harris poll showed that Americans surveyed were less likely to feel awkward around people with disabilities after viewing fictional TV or film presentations about people with disabilities.)
* The photo on the right above is of deaf actress Marlee Maitlin with her dancing partner on a segment of “Dancing with the Stars”. In the photo, Maitlin, who won an Academy award for best actress for her role in the film “Children of a Lesser God,” has both arms extended above her head and is wearing an unusual red dress with matching wrist bands. The photo on the left above is of Robert David Hall, a double leg amputee, who plays forensic scientist Albert Robbins on the crime-drama “CSI”. He is standing with a Canadian crutch and wearing a white lab coat.

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