The Disability Law & Policy e-Newsletter
An electronic publication of
The Law, Health Policy & Disability Center at the University of Iowa College of Law
The Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University
October 18, 2012
Volume 9, Issue 8
The Disability Law & Policy Newsletter is a monthly publication that aims to inform disability advocates, scholars, and service providers of the most current issues in disability law, policy, research, best practices, and breaking news.
Below is a topical overview of the items presented in this issue.
A. CIVIL RIGHTS: Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Sections
504 & 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, and state civil rights law
B. EDUCATION: Special education & youth transition to successful postsecondary outcomes
C. TECHNOLOGY / TELECOMMUNICATIONS: Assistive, information, and communication technologies
D. HEALTHCARE / BENEFITS: Social Security Income / Social Security Disability Income / Medicaid & Medicare
E. WORKFORCE: Workforce Investment Act (WIA), Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act (TWWIIA), & Vocational Rehabilitation
F. INDEPENDENCE: News for and about the Independent Living Movement
G. EMERGENCY RESPONSE / PREPAREDNESS: Disaster mitigation and preparedness news
H. INTERNATIONAL: News for and about disability topics outside the U.S.
I. MISCELLANEOUS: News and topics may vary
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A. CIVIL RIGHTS
1. SU Researcher Finds People with Disabilities Still Largely Sidelined on Election Day
According to a study by Meera Adya, director of research at Syracuse University's Burton Blatt Institute, and Lisa Schur, a professor at Rutgers University, found voter turnout for people with disabilities is approximately 11 percent lower than it is for people without disabilities. The study, published in Social Science Quarterly, found that fully closing that disability gap would have led to 3 million more voters in 2008 and 3.2 million more voters in 2010. This could have substantial influences on public policy.
The study suggests that the interests of people with disabilities are neglected by politicians and elected officials. Barriers getting to or using polling places contribute to low voter turnout among Americans with disabilities. A 2009 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office found 73 percent of polling places had potential impediments affecting access for people with disabilities. Barriers also exist in the absentee voting process that use complicated ballots difficult for people with visual, cognitive, or fine motor impairments to use. Improvement in education, employment, and social inclusion are expected to increase voter turnout.
Full Story: James T. Mulder, SU Researcher Finds People with Disabilities Still Largely Sidelined on Election Day, Sept. 17, 2012, available at
2. DOJ Reaches Settlement with Bank of America in Disability Discrimination Lawsuit
On September 13, 2012, the U.S. Justice Department filed a settlement with Bank of America in which the corporation agreed to revise its policies, train employees, and compensate victims of disability-based discrimination. This settlement resolves allegations that Bank of America engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination on the basis of disability in violation of the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA). The lawsuit arose after three loan applicants filed complaints with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), resulting in an investigation of Bank of America's practices by HUD. The Assistant Secretary of HUD then referred the case to the Department of Justice.
Under the terms of the settlement, Bank of America will pay up to $5,000 to eligible mortgage loan applicants who were required to provide a doctor's note to document the income they received from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). The original complainants will receive $125,000 and compensation for costs associated with their loan applications. Bank of America will also hire a third party investigator to search 25,000 loan applications to identify further victims and will conduct employee training to ensure that loan applicants with disabilities are not subject to higher scrutiny than those without disabilities.
Full Story: Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs, Justice Department Reaches Settlement with Bank of America to Resolve Allegations of Discrimination against Recipients of Disability Income, Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs, Sept. 13, 2012, available at
3. Portland Signs Agreement on Use of Force against Persons with Mental Illness
On September 13, 2012, the United States announced that it reached an agreement with the city of Portland, Oregon, to make changes to Portland Police Bureau (PPB) policies, practices, training, and supervision. The agreement was reached after a comprehensive investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ) examining whether the PPB has engaged in the use of excessive force against people with mental illness. The investigation found that there was reasonable cause to believe that PPB engages in a pattern or practice of excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution and the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.
The DOJ found that PPB uses excessive force during interactions with people who have or are perceived to have mental illness by too frequently using a higher level of force than is necessary, using tasers when such use is not justified, and using a higher degree of force than necessary for low level offenses. Under the preliminary agreement, the City of Portland will ensure that officers have guidance when encountering persons with mental illness, including techniques on de-escalating situations, increasing ability for crisis intervention with specially training officers and civilians, identifying gaps in policy, training and supervision, and creating a body to increase community oversight of reforms. The final agreement must be reached by October 12, 2012.
Full Story: Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs, Justice Department and the City of Portland, Ore., Reach Preliminary Agreement on Reforms Regarding Portland Police Bureau's Use of Force against Persons with Mental Illness, Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs, Sept. 13, 2012, available at
4. ACLU Supports Disability Employment Discrimination Suit against Diocese
On September 17, 2012, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine filed briefs supporting former Catholic school teacher Emily Herx in her discrimination lawsuit against the local diocese. The friends of the court briefs ask the district judge to rule in Herx's favor in the suit she filed against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend in April 2012. In the lawsuit, Herx alleged that the Diocese refused to renew her teaching contract when it discovered that she underwent in vitro fertilization because of infertility, a condition that is protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Herx argues that her termination violated both the ADA and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Roman Catholic doctrine prohibits in vitro fertilization, and diocesan officials decided not to renew Herx's contract at St. Vincent de Paul School when it learned of her decision to undergo the procedure. On the same day the ACLU and American Society for Reproductive Medicine filed their briefs, Herx's attorney filed a response to a request by the diocese asking that the case be decided on written arguments only, rather than at trial, which was granted. The diocese asked the court to dismiss Herx's complaint because the diocese is a religious employer acting in a manner consistent with its beliefs. Herx argued that this is not a religious matter but a disability discrimination case, and that although the ADA has some exceptions for religious employers, they do not apply in this circumstance.
Full Story: Rebecca S. Green, ACLU in Support of Ex-Teacher Joins 2nd Group in Bias Suit vs. Diocese, The Journal Gazette, Sept. 18, 2012, available at
1. D.C. Public Schools Agree to Provide Diabetes Care
On August 21, 2012, the Washington, D.C., public schools signed a comprehensive agreement with the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights, which requires each school to have at least two trained staff members available to administer diabetes care, including insulin and emergency glucagon injections, to students with diabetes. University Legal Services, a D.C. area legal aid organization, and the American Diabetes Association filed the complaint on behalf of a third grader with diabetes whose school sent her home to receive care when the school nurse was absent.
As a result of the agreement, the D.C. schools must develop and implement an Individual Health Plan for each student with diabetes to ensure the student receives the proper medical treatment. The D.C. public schools will not require or request students to transfer to a particular school, or deny or threaten to deny admission to particular schools based on a student's diabetes-related care. Lastly, the D.C. schools will establish a grievance process for students with diabetes and their families who believe a school has violated their rights. The agreement stipulates that all staff member training must be complete by October 19, 2012.
Full Story: Emma Brown, D.C. Schools Reach Agreement to Provide Aid to Diabetic Students, Aug. 29, 2012, Washington Post, available at
Read the resolution agreement at
2. U.S. Department of Education Expands Parent Training Network
On September 11, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education announced that it is allocating $9.8 million to expand the Parent Technical Assistance Center Network, a nationwide system of 91 parent centers that provide training, information, and assistance to families of children with disabilities to help them navigate the often complicated special education system. There is currently at least one parent center in each state and the money will go toward funding these current centers as well as helping to create 10 more centers around the country, bringing the national total to 101. The Department of Education also announced that an additional $1.1 million is being awarded to centers in underserved communities.
Full Story: Michelle Diament, Education Department Expands IDEA Help Centers, Sept. 11, 2012, Disability Scoop, available at
3. Illinois Allows High School Athletes with Disabilities to Compete
On September 10, 2012, the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) voted to allow athletes with disabilities to qualify for state meets and agreed to create a separate athletic program that allows students with physical and visual disabilities to compete. The inaugural program will include girls' swimming and diving as well as cross country for both boys and girls.
The IHSA's decision was in reaction to a disability discrimination suit filed by 17-year-old Mary Kate Callahan. Callahan, who is paralyzed from the waist down, alleged that students with disabilities do not have access to athletics because the state lacks competition standards for students with disabilities. The IHSA had previously denied Callahan's request to swim in the state meet because there were no scoring accommodations in place that would have allowed her to qualify. The Illinois Attorney General supported Callahan in her suit and joined her in a series of unsuccessful settlement talks. It is not yet clear how the IHSA's decision will impact the Callahan's lawsuit.
Full story: Erin Meyer, IHSA to Allow Disabled Students to Compete in Meets Amid Lawsuit, Sept. 11, 2012, Chicago Tribune, available at
C. TECHNOLOGY / TELECOMMUNICATIONS
1. Disability Advocates Question Accessibility of D.C.'s Metro SmarTrip Ticket Dispensers
Disability advocates in our capitol city are questioning the accessibility of the Washington, D.C., Metro's SmarTrip ticket dispensers. The automated dispensers, scheduled to begin use September 1, 2012, do not contain an audio feature, making them all but inaccessible to blind consumers and people with visual impairments. The SmarTrip dispensers allow transit users to purchase plastic cards for long-term use and Metro officials hope will slowly discourage the use of single-ride, paper tickets.
While the machines will be equipped with braille, disability advocates say this is not enough. Many people with visual impairments do not know braille and therefore depend on audio prompts. In response to concerns, Metro has agreed to retrofit audio prompts to their machines. Metro has already purchased 100 machines, priced at $12,000 each and is planning on purchasing 100 more. Metro is working with its vendor to correct the issue and include audio prompts on the next 100 machines. Patrick Sheehan, the chairman of the accessibility commission, who is blind, said: "It concerns me that we are having to retrofit the accessibility, which should be a standard part of anything that we are buying."
Full Story: Luz Lazo, Disability Advocates Question Accessibility of New Metro SmarTrip Dispensers, The Washington Post, Aug. 19, 2012, available at
2. UK's "Bionic Woman" First to Take Home Robotic Suit
Claire Lomas, who is paralyzed from the chest down, was the first person to take home the ReWalk suit for everyday use. The suit was designed by the Israeli company Argo Medical Technologies Ltd. Lomas became famous earlier this year for completing the London Marathon in 17 days while wearing the suit. Londoners dubbed her the "Bionic Woman." Lomas also recently lit the cauldron at Trafalgar Square to start the Paralympics torch relay.
Although the ReWalk suit has been used for rehabilitation purposes in hospitals, Lomas is the first person to take home the suit. Argo Medical Technologies markets the suit as "a new realization of the powered exoskeleton concept." The suit's legs are activated by the wearer tilting their balance to indicate a step in any direction. The exoskeleton supports the wearer's weight and allows the wearer to go up or down stairs, as well as sit or stand up independently. The suit currently costs about 45,000 pounds ($71,519) but the developers argue that savings on the treatment of ailments related to inactivity could offset the cost of the suit.
Full Story: Chris Wickham, UK Paraplegic Woman First to Take Robotic Suit Home, Reuters, Sept. 4, 2012, available at
D. HEALTHCARE / BENEFITS
1. States Crack Down on Mental Health Prescriptions
To lower costs, states have turned to making cuts in the spending budget for Medicaid mental health drugs. For example, Illinois has reduced its state spending by $112 million in the past year by capping the number of mental health prescriptions for Medicaid recipients to four per month. The medication restrictions are placed on behavioral health drugs including treatments for depression, psychosis, and attention-deficit disorder.
The Psychiatric Services report found that state-imposed restrictions can improve the quality of care by requiring physicians to reconsider why they are writing prescriptions. A Rutgers study focused on Medicaid prescribing patterns for children. The study found that these prescribing patterns were not optimal due to over- and under-prescribing. Washington State has addressed this issue by implementing a second opinion program which has directly contributed to a 50% reduction in the number of antipsychotic medications prescribed to those under 18 since 2009. Another suggestion is to place fewer restrictions on doctors who have responsible prescribing patterns. However, the American Psychiatric Association suggests that these spending cuts may have larger implications -- not only a lower quality of mental health treatment. But these medication restrictions and changes may also lead to higher costs in other aspects of health care, such as causing negative side effects that may stop patients from taking their medication, possibly leading to hospitalization. These studies suggest that there may be more effective ways of reducing Medicaid spending on mental health prescriptions, rather than across the board cuts.
Full Story: Bara Vaida, States Crack Down on Mental Health Prescriptions, Disability Scoop, Aug. 15, 2012, available at
2. CDC Warns of Flu Risk for Kids with Disabilities
Children with neurological disorders like cerebral palsy or intellectual disability have a much higher risk of flu complications. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that during the 2009 H1N1 flu outbreak, 68% of the children who died from complications had an underlying medical condition. Of that group, 64% had a neurological disorder.
While in many of those cases the children also had a coexisting condition that exacerbated their risk, such as a pulmonary disorder, metabolic disorder, heart disease, or a chromosomal abnormality, children with neurological conditions have continued to be disproportionately affected by the flu since the 2009 flu pandemic. The study indicated that most of the children who died in 2009 were not vaccinated. Thus, the CDC is urging everyone over age 6 months to obtain an annual flu vaccination in order to mitigate the risk for influenza-related complications.
Full Story: Shaun Heasley, CDC Warns of Flu Risk for Kids with Disabilities, Disability Scoop, Aug. 29, 2012, available at
3. States Begin Rollout of Federal Community Living Program
States are now starting to implement a new federal program designed to reduce the necessity for institutions and expand community living options for seniors and people with disabilities. California will be the first state to participate in the Community First Choice Option, a program included as an optional component of the Affordable Care Act.
States can qualify for a 6% raise in Medicaid funding for community living in exchange for eliminating caps on the number of people served in the community. For California, this means an added $258 million in the first year alone, for providing attendant services and supports in the community. The extra funding will continue as long as the state remains committed to this "person-centered plan." Efforts are currently underway to implement similar programs in New York, Maryland, Alaska, Arkansas, Washington, and Rhode Island.
Full Story: Michelle Diament, Feds Begin Rollout of Community Living Program, Disability Scoop, Sept. 5, 2012, available at
4. Minnesota Seeks Approval to Change Medicaid Health Plan and Save $151 Million
Minnesota is petitioning the federal government for a local Medicaid reform that would save the state $151 million over the next five years. Minnesota is asking for a federal waiver that will allow the state to implement its own bipartisan plan that would make it easier to connect people to services, lessening the need for institutionalization and increasing home-based care.
Minnesota's plan purports that home-based care is much less than institution-based care. Additionally, this plan will allow patients to receive services quicker than the current system. Further, this reform would allow the state to create plans to keep workers with disabilities employed, rather than waiting until they lose their job because of their disability. Minnesota's Medicaid reform plan will shorten and reduce the need for institutional stays by providing treatment and care programs to patients in the community.
Full Story: Jennifer Brooks, Minn. Seeks OK to Change Medicaid Health Plan, Save $151 Million, Star Tribune, Aug. 28, 2012, available at
1. Online Career Fairs Benefit Job Applicants with Disabilities
On October 15, 2012, two employment organizations, Think Beyond the Label and Brazen Careerist, sponsored an online career fair targeted at people with disabilities. They recognize the unique challenges that people with disabilities face while searching for a job and want to eliminate these added stressors. There are many benefits for people with disabilities participating in online career fairs. For instance, those who use wheelchairs will not have the interviewers focusing on their chairs the entire time. People who are deaf or have speech impairments can explain their interests and qualifications over chat without worrying about being completely understood or asking the interviewer to speak louder.
By attending online career fairs, prospective candidates will not have to deal with the misconceptions and assumptions employers may make when disabilities are apparent to them. Instead, people with disabilities can use the online career fair to focus on their talents and skills that qualify them for the job. Once employers see people's skills, they may ask for an in-person interview. Since perspective employees with disabilities have already demonstrated their qualifications at the online career fair, they can confidently choose to disclose their disabilities and ask for accommodations if needed.
Full Story: Suzanne Robitaille, Why Job Seekers with Disabilities Should Consider Online Job Fairs, Business Insider Careers Contributors, Sept. 4, 2012, available at
2. Workers with Intellectual Disability Awarded $1.3M in Pay Discrimination Case
On September 9, 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that it has reached a settlement with Hill Country Farms, Inc., in a disability-based employment discrimination case. The settlement follows a federal district court ruling that it violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by paying 32 workers with intellectual disabilities "severely substandard wages." The court ordered Hill Country Farms to pay former employees with intellectual disability a total of $1.3 million in back pay for jobs they performed between 2007 and 2009. As part of the ruling, District Court judge Charles R. Wolle found that the plaintiffs should be awarded the standard $11-12 per hour wage that workers without disabilities would ordinarily earn doing the same work, rather than the $65 per month they earned while employed by the company.
A supervisor of the company admitted that the workers with intellectual disability were as productive as co-workers without disabilities and demonstrated knowledge and skills superior to workers hired to replace them. Evidence also showed that the corporation gave Henry's Turkey Service, the subdivision of the company that implemented the wrongful practices, $11,000 per week to pay the plaintiffs, who received an average of $15 per week. Henry's claimed that the disparity was due to the expense of housing the plaintiffs. This housing was found to have exposed them to inadequate heating and insect and rodent infestation problems. Dr. Sue Gant, an expert witness, pronounced this to be deliberate misrepresentation, contribution to the financial exploitation of the plaintiffs. EEOC General Counsel P. David Lopez cautioned "[i]t is a serious mistake for any employer not to adopt safeguards against unlawful discrimination based on the assumption that workers will not exercise their rights due to fear or the lack of understanding."
Full Story: EEOC Press Release, Intellectually Disabled Workers Awarded $1.3M for Pay Discrimination by Henry's Turkey Service, EEOC Press Room, Sept. 9, 2012, available at
1. Disability Community Fighting to Protect the Olmstead Decision
In 1999, the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark ruling in Olmstead v. L.C found that unnecessary institutionalization of people with disabilities is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). However, the Olmstead Decision could be weakened or eliminated if Governor Gregoire from Washington State decides to appeal the Ninth Circuit's ruling in M.R. v. Dreyfus. The Dreyfus case involves people with disabilities in Washington who brought suit to stop the state from making a 10 percent cut to the in-home care that allows the residents to live in their own communities, not institutions. The Ninth Circuit looked to Olmstead as precedent and ruled that the ADA required that the plaintiffs continue to receive the support they need to stay in the community. The Olmstead decision was narrowly decided by the Supreme Court in 1999. Disability rights advocates argue that now, with a more conservative court, appealing Dreyfus would give the Court a chance to turn back the clocks on disability rights. In order to prevent this from happening, disability rights groups across the nation are urging Governor Gregoire not to appeal the case to the Supreme Court.
Full Story: Ari Ne'eman, Op-ed: Don't Challenge the Disability Community's Brown v. Board of Education, The Seattle Times, Sept. 14, 2012, available at
2. Woman with Autism Creates "Sensory Shield" for Metro Rides
A congressional attorney with Autism in Washington, DC has created a "sensory shield" to make crowded Metro rides more comfortable for her. Lisa Daly, who is highly sensitive to light, sound, touch, and texture, created an L-shaped shield that can be placed between Metro seats to prevent the person sitting next to her from touching her or accidentally bumping her. Additionally, the lower part of the L-shape shield allows her to sit on the shield instead of sitting on the Metro seat. Other Metro riders were not bothered by the shield; in fact, some of the riders wanted shield of their own to prevent people from touching them. While this is only a prototype, Daly says that if she creates more, they will be more user-friendly.
Full Story: Attorney with Autism Invents 'Sensory Shield' for Metro Rides, NBCWashington.com, Aug. 30, 2012, available at
G. EMERGENCY RESPONSE / PREPAREDNESS
1. Study: 27 States' Ill-equipped to Handle Children with Disabilities
A study commissioned by the Save the Children Fund has concluded that thousands of child care facilities in 27 U.S. states are not equipped with disaster preparedness plans that plan for the care of children with disabilities. "The National Report Card on Protecting Children During Disasters" assesses all 50 states and the District of Columbia using four disaster preparedness and safety standards for children in child care and at school. Three of the standards focus on child care facilities and the fourth is for schools.
The study found that the child care facilities are not equipped to handle intake of children with disabilities because they are not required to do so by the 27 at-fault states. "The failure by states to establish basic emergency preparedness regulations for the nation's youngest and most vulnerable children in school and child care puts many of these children at great risk should a disaster strike," said Mark Shriver, Senior Vice President, Save the Children's U.S. Programs. The study also faults states for failing to require schools to create multi-hazard, comprehensive emergency preparedness plans. "As a nation we have a moral obligation to protect the most vulnerable during disasters," said Shriver.
Full Story: Ajla Grozdanic & Sarah Thompson, America Remains Unprepared to Protect Children in Emergencies, Save the Children Media Center, Aug. 28, 2012, available at
1. 2012 Paralympics Exhibit Need for Increased Accessibility in United Kingdom
Despite fireworks and music from popular band Coldplay, the closing ceremony of the 2012 Paralympic Games in London signaled an increased need for accessibility and inclusion throughout the United Kingdom. The competition took place over 6 weeks, and persons with disabilities and spectators alike marveled at a "genuinely accessible and all-embracing society" within the games.
The sharp contrast between the facilities at the event and the public reality in London are now receiving significant media attention. Spectators noted that "the focus of the event is on a section of society more used to being ignored," and Paralympic gold-medal winner Sophie Christiansen expressed her frustration to the Guardian news outlet that there is a shortage of public transportation and job opportunities for persons with disabilities throughout the United Kingdom.
Additionally, London's fitness industry is under increased scrutiny in the immediate aftermath of the games. Experts expect an increase in the popularity of fitness activities at the conclusion of the Paralympic games, just as the industry goes under heavy criticism for allowing little to no access for persons with disabilities.
Full Story: Amelia Gentleman, Disabled Visitors Say "Paralympic Bubble" Does Not Reflect Britain's Reality, Sept. 7, 2012, available at
See Also: Patrick Butler, Gyms Are "No-Go Zones" for Disabled People, Say Campaigners, Sept. 9, 2012, available at
2. Australia Disability Discrimination Commissioner Highlights Increase in Abuse
Graeme Innes, Australia's Disability Discrimination Commissioner, has called for a governmental response to an increase in the abuse of persons with disabilities. When examining the treatment of people in care, Australian disability groups say there is a clear increase in sexual and physical abuse throughout the system. Innes suggests implementing a National Disability Insurance Scheme to combat the noted abuse within the Australian system. While Innes hasn't made a formal proposal, the Commissioner suggests the system should include a "means of reporting and mandatory reporting of any awareness of violence," as well as specified safeguards and independent reviews.
Full Story: Simon Lauder, Calls for National Approach to Disabled Institutional Abuse, Sept. 13, 2012, available at
I. POP CULTURE / MEDIA / MISCELLANEOUS
1. Turner Classic Movies to Examine How Hollywood Portrays Disability
Throughout the month of October Turner Classic Movies will present a movie series called The Projected Image: A History of Disability in Film. This movie series, which will begin on October 2nd at 8pm, will be hosted by Robert Osborne and Lawrence Carter-Long from the Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts and the National Council on Disability. More than twenty films from the 1920's - 1980's will be aired throughout the month and each of the movies will have closed captioning and audio description. Every night will have a theme or aspect of disability, such as blindness, deafness, mental health, or intellectual disabilities. The Projected Image: A History of Disability in Film is a valuable opportunity to take a deeper look at the movies we all know and love, to see them from a different perspective and to learn what they have to say about us as a society," said Osborne.
Full Story: Carola Finch, Turner Classic Movies to Explore Disability in Film in October, Examiner.com, July 28, 2012, available at
2. ESPN Fails to Report on the Paralympics
ESPN claims that it is the "Worldwide Leader in Sports." However, it failed to cover the world's second largest sporting event: the Paralympics. While ESPN did cover the Olympics, it did not even have one full-time staffer in London to report on the Paralympic Games. Ten days after the Games began, ESPN only had eight original pieces about the Paralympics. In comparison, at the same time ESPN had six original pieces about the Jets quarterback, Tim Tebow, in just two days. Rob King, the editor-in-chief of ESPN Digital Media, claimed that ESPN was "honoring the event" and said that the Paralympics were up against the start of football season, the U.S. Open, and other sporting events, so ESPN had to make decisions on what to cover.
Still, other news outlets have produced more coverage about the Paralympics than ESPN, including The Washington Post that featured Paralympic swimmer Bradley Snyder, and many news outlets reporting on "boosting," a practice in which athletes with spinal injuries harm themselves to boost their heart rates and enhance performance. ESPN did not cover these events at all. While giving less attention to the Paralympics may have been understandable, ESPN lack of coverage of the Games is unacceptable.
Full Story: Josh Levin, ESPN's Lack of Coverage of the Paralympics Is Totally Indefensible, Slate, Sept. 7, 2012, available at
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