Thursday, July 21, 2005

Disease du jour

It sometimes strikes me that the meeja (media) have a habit of focusing on some conditions more that others irrespective of the seriousness of the condition.

Part of this is the pie slicing exercise that for a very long time has been government funding on disabilities. In recent months autism has had a particular focus in the television.

I can't help but wonder if this is because in many senses a child suffering from autism looks much like any other child, whereas another child with some other form of mental handicap, or disability may look sufficiently different that the general public recognise very quickly that there is a issue there. In essence I'm wondering are people more inclined to think ‘oh, that could be my child’ when the child is autistic, and less inclined to think that when it involves other forms of disability. And that the media plays on this with respect to choosing to highlight one type of disability over another.

This is not to say that parents and friends of those who have autism aren't right to campaign for appropriate facilities and treatment options, just that the media has a responsibility not to cherry pick a condition du jour. And as we are all to aware the media can very swiftly move on when a juicer titbit comes along.

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