CODI: Cornucopia of Disability Information

Public Opinion And The Media

			 Public Opinion And The Media
				      by
			     Tzipporah Benavraham
			      zippy@bklyn.bitnet


	I want to share this all with you. I wrote this in my first
	semester of Poli Sci masters work when I was at Brooklyn
	College in 1985. It is part of my masters thesis as well.
	Since we are in the throes of election time, I think
	it rings a discordant bell here. It has as much meaning
	today as it did in 1985 when I wrote it. Please also
	look at the cites. In present time, we do not have the
	AYERS guide to publications, however the people who bought
	it is Gale Publications. Also now we have bbses and ascii
	so electronic media, which was only an academic discussion
	in 1985 is a reality now. It still rings as much true
	despite the changes in directory ownerships. Opinions
	anyone?


POLITICAL SCIENCE PAPER:      		PUBLIC OPINION AND THE MEDIA
PROFESSOR RONALD BERKMAN,     		BROOKLYN COLLEGE  CUNY
STUDENT: Tzipporah Benavraham
SPRING SEMESTER 1985





	       HOW DO PERSONS WITH COMMUNICATION DIFFICULTIES
	   AND HANDICAPS MAKE AN OPINION FROM THE MEDIA TO VOTE?








	HYPOTHESIS: Blind, deaf and communication impaired persons            
	use different techniques to communicate and gain
	information. We live in a highly technological time where
	alternate formats of communication is not so hard to
	facilitate. The blind need recorded braille and large
	print materials. The deaf need captioning of films and
	visual media. In the media explosion, television, radio
	and print is everywhere. Yet how accessible is all forms
	of media to all members of the society? How do they make
	an opinion to vote from what is presented? Is there
	sufficient evidence that there that there is enough
	information to the disabled population to make an
	intelligent decision to vote?  What evidence is there to
	show the lack of information and attitudes against any one
	disability are stereotypical. Who sets policy on these
	alternative media formats? Are these individuals
	deliberately kept in the dark about pertinent information?
	I say the blind, deaf, print disabled, and wheelchair
	users are precluded from valuable information.





          Walter Lippman, in his book PUBLIC OPINION, speaks of barriers
evident in the contact and opportunity most men have to media.(1) In fact,
he devotes the better part of a chapter to this subject. He mentions that
"there are distinct limits upon circulation of ideas. He cites, money,(2)
economic class,(3) and access from the media producers themselves.(4)

          Yet when we speak of the blind, the deaf and those in wheelchairs,
we speak of a population of about 12.3 persons in the United States
according to the 1980 census.(5) That is one out of every twelve persons
with a major impairment of a life function...  like seeing, hearing,
walking, breathing, sitting, stooping or lifting, These are figures for the
age 18-64 age population. In other words, this is the working age adult
population. This is the population that votes, consumes products, uses
media, and participates in many different kinds of adulthood activities.

          Yet when we speak of the media, such as television, newspapers,
radio, films, and magazines, this 12.3 million people are at a great
disadvantage. It was not until 1984 when Levi Strauss made a commercial for
501c Jeans with a person in a wheelchair that the disabled was even thought
of as a market.(6) Yet how many people are we speaking of and what are the
needs of media to these people? What are their different needs? How
widespread is their information? What access do they have to information?

			       Special needs
		      THE BLIND AND PRINT HANDICAPPED

Of the 12.3 million persons cited as having a disability, 4.8 million are
blind or significantly visually impaired.(1) And of the 36.4 percent of the
population of the U.S. being over 40 years old, this number becomes
significant.(2) It is significant because after the age of 40 opthomologists
state the human eye goes through major changes and print becomes
progressively harder to see.(3) Large print becomes even more important. The
majority of all human blindness comes on during the ages of 60-90 from such
things as glaucoma, diabetic complications, senile muscular degeneration,
and cataract.(4)

The implications of this is that a large population of the blind are those
unable to read regular newsprint unassisted are voting age adults.(5) This
means there is a population of adults who read print, had unlimited
selections of newspapers, magazines, periodicals, local newspapers, and
television programs, that now do not have such ready access.

The new needs become compelling. Large print (over 14 point type..and most
typewriters type 10 to 12 point type), braille and tape recorded materials
needs become overwhelming. The National Library Service for the Blind and
Physically Handicapped in Washington, D.C.  is charged with the
responsibility of disseminating alternate formal media, such as braille,
tape recorded and other materials to this population.(6)

However, in this population is also those with no vision problem but
those who are physically handicapped. This means people too weak to hold a
book, or those who are arthritic, or who have dyslexia, a form of learning
disability, or are too palsied to use regular print.

This is the population that has physically based problems in reading. They
were allowed the materials from the Library for the Blind in 1966 when
President Johnson signed Public Law 89.522 to include persons who had lost
limbs and had other physically based problems in reading.(7) Yet according
to this newer increased accessibility to materials we might suspect that all
library materials available to all library users might have just been
expanded. Let me blow up the fallacy that this occurred.

According to them there were 8,796 public libraries available to the general
public in the United States in 1985.(8) Yet the Library for the Blind and
Physically Handicapped only has 160 participating libraries in the U. S. as
of 1985. That means 12.3 million people had access to 160 libraries.(9)

Yet how many even used the materials available to begin with? In the media
survey of the National Survey for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
showed that it is estimated that 58% of all those eligible for the service
of the library ever use it and indeed on page 57 of the Library Service a
study,(10) economic factors, rural living, transportation and access to
metropolitan areas were cited as impediments to this population even getting
access to the services of the library service to begin with. This is in
direct agreement with Lippman's statement that access to opportunity relate
to these factors.(11) This population is economically disadvantaged. More
than 80% of this population has incomes under $12,000 annually.(12) Lengthy
escorted trip to library centers for the material is difficult if not
impossible.

		WHAT DO YOU FIND IN THESE SPECIAL LIBRARIES?
		HOW MUCH POLITICAL INFORMATION DO YOU FIND?

Most local public libraries have the local newspapers available to the
general public. Yet the special library for blind and physically handicapped
has no stack library. It is strictly a mail service. I am going to focus for
the purpose of this study on the periodicals and newspapers access in these
libraries. Most of the political news is found in newspapers and magazines,
as politics is a volatile set of circumstances. The quickly circulating
materials are often put on computer tapes in modern times, and then printed
and typeset from this tape.(1) Many of the publications are then put on
Bibliographic Retrieval Service, a database of information which is used by
subscribers of the service. Most of these persons are then able if they have
the proper personal computer and equipment for the blind and physically
handicapped is expensive. Often totalling over $15,000 per computer. With
most of the handicap's income being under $2,000 a year, this is
prohibitive.

Let us now explore what magazines are in the special library. In a reference
circular called MAGAZINES IN SPECIAL MEDIA, there are a total number of 387
magazines available in braille, recorded disc, or cassette recording. That
is a national figure.  That means that the print disabled have access only
to a choice of 26 magazines dealing with current affairs.(2)

Of all the various forms of media in print... the ones persons get the most
amount of political information is the newspaper.  In the publication
MAGAZINES IN THE SPECIAL MEDIA there is only one newspaper in braille, large
print and recorded format. It is the New York Times Large Print Weekly.
There are 10 articles printed each week. Compare this to 9,134 newspapers(3)
in the United States published with varying frequency, and you come up with
the fact that nationally a non-print disabled person has a better than 9000
to 1 chance of being better informed than a print handicapped person with
only one newspaper of national impact being easily accessible to them in a
format they understand. Most of the information about the local elected
officials a print handicapped person might want to access is in small local
newspapers. Not one of the local newspapers even has large print access
according to AYERS of a column for the 'older eyes' reader over age 40.  So
access to local political news is all but unavailable except through word of
mouth locally. Local State Assemblymen and Senators, and members of the City
Council usually blow their own horn in local newspapers. But it is a horn
not directed to the print handicapped voter.

Of all magazines and publications in the country, AYERS GUIDE TO PUBLICATION
1984 edition states, the United States has a grand total of 21,974
magazines, periodicals, journals and newspapers.(4) It becomes an
overwhelming amount of information to access to most non print handicapped
individuals. If a person wishes to use the print media to make an opinion to
vote, there is certainly no lack of information available to them. Of course
there are other variables in voting aside from access to media information
about the candidate. But for the purpose of this study that is the ONLY
variable I am investigating. I am assuming most persons who are literate in
this country like to read for their information. Many of the print
handicapped become so in adult years. I am therefore assuming based on my
knowledge of developmental years. I am therefore assuming based on my
knowledge of developmental psychology that there is a variable of desire of
access to print media at least as equal to what there was before the print
handicap. This all bespeaks a categorical lack of awareness of this
population, and their particular need.

The sound media is often the most looked at as a source of information for
the visually and print impaired. So the medium of radio and the sound
portion of the television are not inaccessible to this population. One idea
that came of age in 1969 was the RADIO READING SERVICE. This was instituted
in order to let volunteer readers read local news and items of interest on a
subchannel radio wave for the print handicapped. The first one was in 1969
instituted by C. Stanley Potter in Minnesota. At present there are 85 such
services in the United States.  The New York City Radio Reading Service is
called IN TOUCH NETWORK. It now beams many of its programs nationally by
satellite, thus being the most advanced of all the radio reading services
for the print handicapped. However, I wish to examine the impact this media
has for the print disabled.

		    RADIO READING SERVICES AND THE PRINT
		 HANDICAPPED AND POLITICAL CONTENT OF NEWS

The purpose of the Radio Reading Service is to make available to the print
disabled as much pertinent news as possible from local news sources. It is
recognized sound and touch is the alternate technique for this population to
access information. But let us look at what is read for long and how many
people use this medium.


The radio reading service asks volunteer readers who are screened for voice
quality to read segments of local newspapers on the radio subcarrier line.
This subcarrier is available only if the person can afford it or os
ambulatory enough to pick it up. Once again, Lippman's argument on access to
the media due to economic constraints applied.(1) In New York City for
example, the subcarrier radio costs $75 to those who can afford it, and is
available for $10 to those who cannot.  In other words, only those who can
afford this special receiver has access to this media.

Secondly, there is a problem of lack of advertising that this service even
exists. The major source of information about this service is rehabilitation
facilities for the blind. In the study of the National Library Service for
the Blind Volume 2 Page 57,(2) it states there are varied reasons why 58% of
the persons eligible ever use the library service. One factor is lack of
availability of rehabilitation for the new print disability. As
rehabilitation is costly and those over 65 are precluded from services from
the state, many who can avail themselves of rehabilitation for new vision
impairment do not. And only 20% of all those REHABILITATED ever hear about
the radio reading services for the blind. So in New York City where the IN
TOUCH NETWORK exists, there are only 5,127 people using the service.(3)

Third, even of those who use the service, the newspapers are read between 9
A.M. to 5 P.M.(4) Most political news such as that from the New York Times
and Daily News and Post are on during working hours for most print disabled.
There are such things as blind social workers, lawyers, professors and blue
collar workers. So the working print disabled are at a disadvantage when it
comes to hearing the news on this medium. And at that, mostly national news
like issues of the President and summits are heard. Most of the media uses
its time for business news, advertisements of grocery ads, OP ED pages, and
social news. There are occasional reading of such magazines as PLAYBOY and
ESQUIRE and the NEW YORKER, yet the content of the reading is timed and if
the timer rings before the reader finishes the article, that is the end of
the sharing of information. On rare occasions, interviews with local
senators and congressmen do take place. But certainly the whole spectrum of
all the local newspapers in any given city as big as New York is sparse, if
not non-existent.

Fourth, most of the information concerning politics and campaigning is
precluded because of the fact these stations are tax-exempt not for profit
corporations. Under a 1984 pamphlet numbered a-122 from the Office of
Management and Budget in Washington, D.C.,(5) tax exempt not-for-profit
corporations such as the radio reading service can lose their not-for-profit
status if they engage in political activity. So this medium is all but
eliminated as a source of political information from which a print disabled
person can make an opinion to vote.

According to IN TOUCH NETWORK, many things they would like to do are
precluded as they may not accept advertising or do commercial programming.
In effect, they are a social service, not a news disseminating vehicle. In
New York State, according to Ayers Guide to Publications 1984 edition, there
are 2,428 magazines, newspapers, and periodicals printed annually.(6) IN
TOUCH only reads about 22 of them.(7) Again, not even 1% of the information
available to the general public is available in this medium for the print
disabled. So once again, information is precluded in a very demonstrable way
to the print disabled of New York.

	   EXPLORATION OF REASONS FOR LIMITED ACCESS TO MEDIA OF
	    PRINT HANDICAPPED...IS IT STEREOTYPE OR  IGNORANCE?

In attempting to find information for myself as a blind individual for the
1985 New York City Mayoral and councilmanic race, I asked several questions
to gain information about candidates. I called the League of Women Voters
for information on who represents me now. I gave them my address and assured
them I was a registered voter. They have a book called "THEY REPRESENT YOU."
I sent them $4 for two copies of the book.  Just finding out who my elected
officials were became a problem.

I asked if there were a person there who would tape record the book or if
there was a way I could obtain written permission to have a volunteer
organization tape it for me. Their first statement was blind people don't
vote, and persons who can't read are precluded from voting.  I found this to
be a grievous non sequitur. I said I was blind, I do vote and I want it
taped for me so I can be an informed voter and keep track of my elected
officials. Through a snarl and maze of stereotyping of my inability to do
anything let alone vote, I finally got a hold of two volunteers unknown to
the League of Women Voters to record the publication.

At this point I wish to quote Lippman as well as Boorstein who quotes
Lippman about stereotypes. He defines stereotypes as "an oversimplification
pattern that helps us find meaning in the world. In examples he states crude
stereotypes we carry around in our heads of large and varied classes of
people like Germans, South Americans, Negroes, Harvard men, agitators. The
stereotype, Lippman explains, satisfies our needs and helps us defend our
prejudices by seeming to give definiteness and consistency to our turbulent
and disorderly daily lives. In one sense, of course, stereotypes - the
excessively simple, but easily grasped images of racial, national or
religious groups, are only another example of pseudoevents. But generally
speaking, they are closer to propaganda. For they simplify rather than
complicate. Stereotypes narrow and limit experience in an emotionally
satisfying way; but pseudoevents embroider and dramatize experience in an
interesting way."(2) I quote this in total to expound hypothesis.  The
League of Women Voters is an organization dedicated by its charter to
promoting voting and political information to be able to vote. My impression
they would reject any stereotypes that would preclude a person from voting.
Yet the stereotype that a blind person cannot vote because they cannot read
was so overwhelming that it was verbalized to me as a reason their own
publication was not in a format available to the print disabled. Even they
did not admit disabled persons vote. And I am a woman...that flies in the
face of their stated purpose. I even told them the benefit of making their
publication in an alternate format and where it could be done for only the
cost of cassette tapes. This idea was rejected as too costly and complicated
and unnecessary.

The next phase of my exploration was news about my local elected officials.
There are 12 local newspapers in my neighborhood most proclaiming the
political platitudes of achievement and public works of my local elected
officials. I called IN TOUCH NETWORK and asked if anyone would read those
articles on the air concerning my district. They refused stating it was too
localized information not of general use to the whole of New York City.

The third phase of my exploration was to ask the local newspapers to read
over the telephone those articles about the elected officials.  They
declined stating they were too busy. When I mentioned I was a blind
political science student, it met with the cold shoulder.

The fourth phase of my exploration of political information in an
alternative format was the listing of volunteers from a book called
VOLUNTEERS WHO PRODUCE BOOKS(2) from the National Library Service for the
Blind. This resource directory is in braille for free, so I used it and
asked 10 different groups to read these articles to me. I would even supply
tape recorders and blank cassettes for this purpose and pay to have them
read to me. Nine out of 10 of the groups declined. Only one agreed to tape
one newspaper a month for me under those circumstances and that was the
LIGHTHOUSE FOR THE BLIND in Manhattan. This would mean I would have to take
a taxi there, drop off the material with cassettes and a tape recorder pay
them and pay my way back to Brooklyn. As you see, this is quite costly. If
not for student financial aid, I would not have even been able to accomplish
this.

I then went into stage two of my investigation. I asked if local newspapers
would consider making one page in large print. Of the 12 local newspapers
only one agreed to make one page of large print. I got him to agree to use
an Orator II ball for his IBM Selectric typewriter used in making the print
copy for the paste-ups. This local newspaper is now very popular with the
senior citizens because this print is larger and easier to read. Three of
the newspapers use a computer tape to make their copy. I asked them to let
me access their tape, and I would adapt it for sound for my voice
synthesizer computer. All three declined citing infringement of copyright.
This exercise demonstrated heroic effort and desire for information. I had
more resources and intelligence and drive than most print handicapped
individuals to obtain this information. Imagine the stumbling block put in
front of someone not so challenged by the task of obtaining information! The
obstacles were mountainous even for this small amount of information. And
ingenuity for modes of access was not to blame.  I used every conceivable
route to obtain this information that was feasible.

My personal belief is that the stereotype of what a print disabled person
can and cannot do is the stumbling block more than the lack of ability or
desire of the print disabled person to obtain the information.  When
presented with methods to make their medium more accessible to the print
disabled, most producers of the print were reluctant or cold to it as a
possibility.

In Erving Goffman's book STIGMA, I quote "That the stigmatized individual
can be caught taking the tactful acceptance of himself too seriously
indicates that his acceptance is conditional. It depends upon 'normals' not
being pressed past the point at which they can easily extend acceptance-or
at worst uneasily extend it. The stigmatized fully expect to be gentlemanly
and not press their luck; they should not test the limits of the acceptance
shown them, nor make it the basis for further demands. Tolerance, of course
is usually part of the bargain."(4)

The more I pressed for access to information, the stronger the stereotype of
what I could not do persisted. An attitude of 'why can't you stay in your
place' appeared.  I did not make an acceptance of my stereotype, and this
confused and angered my 'normals'. Yet I only wanted accommodation to the
same information my fellow non-print handicapped had to the same
information. But in this very exploration of access to print I had made my
point resoundingly. It was attitude and stereotype rather than lack of
available technology or money that precluded my access.

	      THE HEARING IMPAIRED POPULATION: ACCESS TO SOUND
		MEDIA IN FORMS OF CAPTIONED NEWS BROADCAST.

Probably more ignored and with less information to the sound media than even
the print handicapped is the hearing impaired. According the Chris
Pruszynski, manager of Instructional Television at the National Technical
Institute for the Deaf, there are about 13 million deaf or hearing impaired
persons in the United States. Of these, 2.5 million are profoundly deaf or
hearing impaired, and of that 2.5 million only 90% know sign language!(1)
The preferred medium of the deaf is printed words based on this statement.
Their mode of information gathering is visual. While this population can
read local newspapers, and can watch television, radio is not accessible to
them. And television usually does not take into consideration the needs of
the deaf.  Candidates in political debated do not face the camera, so
lipreading is often impossible. And just as deprivation of sight denies
print impaired the print media, deprivation of sound deprived the hearing
impaired the sound media.

One accommodation for the hearing impaired to access the sound and visual
media is a device called closed captioning. Perhaps in foreign language
films you have seen subtitles with English words. It is difficult to follow
such films yet this is the prototype of what the hearing impaired use to
'hear' films and visual sound media. It is the prototype of closed
captioning.  Closed captioning is printed words in an LED type readout in
line 20 for a cathode rat tube (commonly called a television screen). A
cathode ray tube produces its pictures in little dots and rows of dots
across the screen moving at a fast pace. As the dots are reproduced, line by
line, the picture comes into view. Line 20 is the 20 line of 172 lines per
average screen transmission from the bottom of the television set picture.
With the use of a device called closed caption film decoder, deaf persons
who own such a device can read line 20 of the screen to find out what the
person on the screen is saying.

According to the booklet, CAPTIONING AT NTID: TEAMWORK, TECHNIQUE AND
TECHNOLOGY,(2) this is now a computerized operation. Simple access to the
special computer necessary can access this form of medium. And 13 million
potential users is a formidable market. With this 'easy access' you would
think there were many news programs, commercials, and newscasts with this
medium. The resounding answer is there is not.

According to Chris Pruszynski, there is only 40 hours of network TV programs
closed captioning each week. Most of these are on the Public Broadcasting
Station and American Broadcasting Station. The only news broadcast that is
closed captioned is PETER JENNINGS.(3)

What can we conclude? Technology is there to make closed captioning possible
yet not a significant number of television stations use it. How many
television stations are there in the United States?  According to
Statistical Abstracts of the United States, 1984 edition, there are 841
commercial television stations in the U.S.(4) But PBS and ABC are the only
ones which close caption any broadcasts. And the political information
available is greatly diminished.

In Erving Goffman's STIGMA, Ms. Peck, a pioneering social worker for the
hard of hearing often found hard of hearing persons targeted for miracle
cures like magnetic head caps, vibrating machines, artificial eardrums,
blowers, inhalers, massagers, magic oils, balsams, and other...  cures for
deafness.(5) Perhaps the stereotype of the 'medicine man with a magic cure'
deters many possible reputable possible producers of captioning away from
the endeavor. Again, I feel stereotype is the problem, not lack of
technology or access to means of doing the task of accommodation.

To prove a point about the hearing impaired and their access to information
on captioning of media, the National Technical Institute for the Deaf as
well as National Association of the Deaf and a government agency called
Captioned Film and Media Applications Branch, Division of Education
Programs, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Service of the
United States Department Of Education advises people on captioned media.
There are many sources of information and ways to accomplish captioning, yet
many people in the media do not think of deaf as a market let alone a target
of political propaganda to vote.

Only one known public opinion poll was ever made of the viewers of closed
captioned television commercial watchers. According to the survey, 4,108
television commercials were closed captioned In the year 1982, 84% who had
close caption decoders who watched the commercials felt they were
informative; 75% felt they were entertaining; 655 felt they were going to
change brands.(6) I feel this demonstrates when an accommodation is offered
and a market targeted despite stereotypes it has a positive impact. Perhaps
politicians wishing to influence 13 million potential voters should re-think
their insistence of lack of it in regards to close captioning of their
debates on television.

	   Mobility Impaired Persons and Those Institutionalized.
		     Wheelchair Users in New York City.

It is estimated by the New York State Department of Social Services, there
are over 100,000 wheelchair users on medicaid.(1) This includes those in
nursing homes as will as veterans, (Some veterans have medicaid) Also
according to the Eastern Paralyzed Veteran Association of New York City
there are about 1,000,000 persons in all with severe to moderate mobility
impairments in the New York City area.(2) This includes people who use canes
to walk, walkers, wheelchairs and any ambulation aid. This is 1/8 of the
population. The majority or the people who use canes and walkers are senior
citizens. I already gave the statistic on how many people percentage-wise
are seniors in our national population. That is 11.7% over the age of 65.(3)
As quoted before also, of the 12.3 million persons of working age with
disabilities, 80% of them live in poverty. This is compelling! This figure
delineates aa huge portion of our population without access to the funds to
buy 'niceties' to improve their quality of life.

In the publication and survey done by the National Library Service for the
Blind and Physically Handicapped by the American Foundation for the Blind,
the entire volume three of devoted to "THE ROLE OF HEALTH CARE INSTITUTIONS
IN SATISFYING THE READING NEEDS OF RESIDENTS WITH PRINT HANDICAPS.(4) Many
issues of who does and does not have access to materials from the library,
as sparse as it is in political content, appear.

On page 108 of this survey volume, many persons in nursing homes are
precluded by public policy in even obtaining the service of the talking book
and magazine service.(5) Usually, there is no coordinator for the service,
and there is a fear of theft of the machinery used to play the recorded
materials. Many nursing homes don't even know there is such a thing as
talking books and radio reading service. Of the deaf in these institutions,
not many own caption film decoders or even watch television if there is none
in the facility. The mobility impaired and institutionalized person has a
marked decrease in access to political news from which to make an opinion.
Many times even local neighborhood newspapers don't even make an effort to
reach out with copies of their publications to the local residents of a
health related institution except to include a news blurb on the activities
of the facilities as 'public relations good news stories.'

On page 51 of this volume,(6) it demonstrates that often the person who
makes the selection for the rare person who is a reader of talking book
program is an occupational therapist, nurse, doctor, or volunteer. Often the
person wanting even the sparse information offered is not at liberty in
these settings to make their own choice of materials.

Is it any small wonder then, that persons in health care facilities do not
vote too often? Many do not have the ability to get enough information let
alone political information to vote. Local elected officials seldom target
these facilities for political campaigning. This truly one of the most
deprived from media group of adult voters. Yet there seems to be no public
policy to alleviate their isolation or enforce their particular rights of
equal access to information and 'the outside world'.

Also I have cited that the elderly and disabled are poor. In recognition of
that fact, Housing and Urban Development has set us a program for elderly
and handicapped specifically. In 1983, 1,483,000 units of housing for the
elderly and handicapped poor were subsidized by HUD by contract.(7) This
means we have another area to find elderly and handicapped..namely, in these
particular housing units. Yet federal law precludes them as places for
polling. These units are called section 202 units. We can now include a
potential one and half million persons nationally not in health institutions
with limited resources and impairments in obtaining information to vote. All
these section 202 units are accessible for mobility impaired individuals.
That means the wheelchair, cane or walker user.

In the bibliography reference circular, ACCESSIBILITY: DESIGNING BUILDINGS
FOR THE NEEDS OF HANDICAPPED PERSONS, 1979 by the National Library Service
for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, mention is made that less than 10%
of all buildings are accessible to wheelchairs. Of that figure, only 4% of
those buildings are public facilities like libraries, stores, schools,
social service agencies and government buildings. Most facilities which are
not architecturally inaccessible are private residences like section 202
houses. So based on that, even if severely mobility impaired persons who use
canes, walkers and wheelchairs could make an opinion from the media to vote,
it is unlikely they would find many places to do it that did not fight them
architecturally in getting in.

		THE VOTING PROCESS: IF THE DISABLED DO MAKE
		 AN OPINION TO VOTE FROM THE SPARSE AMOUNT
		    OF MEDIA AT THEIR ACCESS, THEN WHAT?

I have already demonstrated how media starved disabled persons might
possibly be able to make some vague opinion from the media to vote.  More
often than not, the disabled voter is uninformed due to various factors. Yet
what of the voter registration and voting process? Is it accessible or is it
yet another obstacle to voting?

My research has proven that even the voting process is not accommodating. In
a May, 1985 telephone interview I had with the New York City Board of
Elections Commissioner, Betty Dolan, over 85% of all polling places are not
architecturally accessible. Also, for the deaf population, it wasn't until
1984 that the New York City Board of Elections had a telephone on which the
deaf could get information.(1) The name of this phone is a
TELECOMMUNICATIONS DEVICE FOR THE DEAF. When it was first invented in
1969,(2) it was the first telegraphy means for the deaf to type in words at
one end on a 'modem' and transmit back and forth information on the phone
lines. A man named Walbreight invented it in Nevada. This is one
accommodation for the deaf to get information on voting and voting
procedures if they own this $250 device called a TELECOMMUNICATION DEVICE
FOR THE DEAF.

For the blind and print handicapped, much information is not available in
alternate format. And law precludes bringing a reader into the voting booth.
Since there is no braille in voting machines, and large print is not used,
many blind persons vote absentee if at all. Or if they bring a reader to
read the voting list at the polling place, both democratic and republican
judges have to go in with the person and their reader...thus 4 people to a
voting booth. It is embarrassing and a deterrent to many self-conscious
print disabled persons. In fact, it is a major impediment to voting.

For the mobility impaired, many of the polling places are in public schools
over 100 years old. A bare minimum of them are architecturally accessible to
wheelchairs, or to elderly with walkers and canes. Long flights of steps act
as a further impediment to voting access to this population as well.

For persons in institutions, many are precluded by public policy of the
institution from even registering to vote. There are no facilitators for
registration or for voting. And there is no official outreach to those
persons to vote. Administrators have daily living needs to attend to and
consider voting registration and facilitation a luxury too expensive to
pursue for their clientele.

Thus categorically a potential 24% of the voting age public is precluded
from voting if they even wanted to by lack of clear public policy.

There is one hope for the disabled. It is the VOTING ACCESSIBILITY FOR THE
ELDERLY AND HANDICAPPED ACT. This is Public Law 98:435 passed into law on
September 28, 1984.(3) By 1985, December 31, there must be in place laws and
procedures to eliminate barriers to voting for the elderly and handicapped.
Thus if a disabled person does indeed make an opinion from the media to
vote, they will not be precluded under law or public policy from doing so.

According to Commissioner Dolan, of the 65,000 absentee ballots in the 1984
presidential election, 14,000 were listed as permanently disabled. And of
160 persons in wheelchairs asking help to the polls, only 42 used assistance
to the polls to actually vote.(4)

	      HOPES FOR RESOLVE: PUBLIC POLICY AND INCENTIVES
			   PROJECTIONS AND IDEAS

My first suggestion is that those persons who have the technological
know-how market the idea of their media production for the disabled to
governments. If these producers of the media and devices make themselves
known and promote their skills on a contracting basis to government, perhaps
more information can be gotten to this population of disabled.

Second suggestion is that disabled special interest groups from coalitions
of special interests and political action committees (PACS) and support of
oppose candidates. Presently there are several groups of blind, or deaf, or
mobility impaired individuals as well as a few elderly groups who have done
this. Most noteworthy among the blind is the NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE
BLIND, BLIND VETERANS ASSOCIATION, AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND and the
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE VISUALLY HANDICAPPED. They have already made a
lot of alternate format media available to their constituencies. In this
way, they spread views and share them among their peer group forming a
pluralistic special interest group. Organizations of deaf, such as National
Association for the deaf, have political newspapers of their own with views
on political candidates. Also they promote Telecommunication devices for the
deaf and captioned media. If all 13 million deaf made a coalition, they
would be a formidable group to oppose when they demanded these
accommodations. Also such groups as the Paralyzed Veterans of America, The
American Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities, Disabled Veterans of
America have all formed newspapers and magazines for the pluralist groups
they represent.

In digression, I wish to cite the view of HOLLOWAY AND GEORGE in their book,
PUBLIC OPINION COALITIONS, ELITES AND MASSES. They say on page 129 that
according to Gordon, 'cultural pluralism is complex. The pluralist groups
formed by these disabled groups has to throw off the stereotype of inability
from disability, and thus try to melt into the melting pot adverse to their
inclusion.  The group identity of the disability would be the common link,
yet, it would make the group 'ethnically distinct', with the identifying
disability being the chief group identity. In the secondary relationship
these groups would have, they would become as in Gordon's second step
'characteristic of the economic and political sector and the system's
culture as a whole,' and that the combination of distinctiveness of group
identity yet economic and political culture identification would create a
cultural pluralism sufficiently minimal to prevent significant amount of
intermarriage while cooperating with other groups and individuals in
secondary relations of political life, economic life and civil
responsibility.'(1)

I feel this expresses the type of impact I would expect PACS of disabled
consumers to exert to gain equal rights. I would hope these groups could
maintain their purity of 'differentness while blending enough as per
Gordon's idea of not being 'too pushy' in their stereotypical behavior.

The third suggestion I have is that governments institute the provisions in
the VOTING ACCESSIBILITY FOR THE ELDERLY AND HANDICAPPED of the requirements
that doctors have to certify permanent disability for those permanently
disabled persons wishing to vote absentee. Also, the use of assisting
devices both 'access' the words in voting, should be allowed in all polling
places and places of registration. Health facilities should be targeted by
boards of elections for both registration as well as voting during primaries
as well as elections.

The fourth suggestion I have is that buildings already identified as
architecturally accessible should be used as polling places. There can be
more than schools used for this purpose. Social service agencies, senior
citizen centers, health facilities, diagnostic laboratories, religious
institutions, community meeting halls, bank buildings with appropriate
places can all be and should be considered when choice is made for a polling
place.  The use exclusively of school buildings which are not accessible is
antiquated.

The fifth incentive is a tax break to those who make their facility
accessible for either production of alternate format purposes (i.e.,
brailling, large print manufacture) actual use of facility for voting for
handicapped, of anything they do to facilitate aiding of handicapped to
vote.  There should be an incentive for middle to large employers to let
their handicap person indicate they are, and where they want assistance to
get to a polling place. The employer should be able with a certificate that
their employees participated in this activity from the board of elections
take off dollar per dollar the money they paid their employees during that
activity.

The answers and solutions to the problems of access to the disabled are
there. It is just up to the rest of the country to catch up with the fact
and facilitate the changes.  LISTING OF PERSONAL INTERVIEWS:

1.   May 10, 1985: Corine Kirscher - Social Research Director
     American Foundation for the Blind

2.   April, 1985: Commissioner B. Dolan - New York City Commissioner
     Board of  Elections

3.   April, 1985: New York State Department of Social Services - Durable
     Medical Equipment Co-ordinator - Mr. Altscul.
     Regarding how many wheelchairs were purchased  under medicaid in the
     State of New York in the last five years.

4.   New York Society for the Deaf  Dr. Jerome Schein - numbers of deaf
     in  U.S., N.Y.S. and N.Y.C.  March, 1985

5.   Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association, N.Y.C. decision -  Patrick
     O'Connell lobbyist and co-ordinator of voter registration April 1985

6.   March, 1985: Grant Mack - President American Council of the Blind -
     Regarding availability of media to blind and print handicapped

7.   April, 1985: Cathy Crosby - Manager of Library Services Recording
     for the Blind and Visually Handicapped - Princeton, N.J. Re: Her
     masters thesis on high tech availability of information to the print
     disabled

8.   April, 1985: Chris Prusznyski, Manager Instructional Television for
     National Technical Institute for the Deaf - Regarding captioning of
     film and how possible it is in the U.S.A. Caption film and broadcast
     access in U.S.

9.   April, 1985: Mr Gary Olsen - Interim Director National Association
     for the Deaf - Silver Springs, Maryland Detailed interview about
     accessibility to both education as well as publications with political
     content, for the deaf population.

10.  April, 1985: Mr Jasha Levi, Director  IN TOUCH NETWORK NYC radio
     reading service for the Print Handicapped. He is Executive Director.
     We discussed how many people use his services in the metropolitan
     New York area

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

The entire 1,972 page survey done in 1979 for the National Library Service
for the Blind and Physically Handicapped by the American Foundation of the
Blind by Marvin Berkowitz, Lorraine G. Hiatt, Pamela DeToledo, John Shapiro,
and Margery Lurie includes these five volumes:

1. READING WITH PRINTED LIMITATIONS: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY; VOLUME 1

2. CHARACTERISTIC, ACTIVITIES AND NEEDS OF PEOPLE WITH LIMITATIONS
   IN PRINT READING; VOLUME 2

3. THE ROLE OF HEALTH CARE INSTITUTIONS IN SATISFYING THE READING
   NEEDS OF THE RESIDENTS WITH PRINT LIMITATIONS: VOLUME 3

4. CURRENT ISSUES IN LIBRARY SERVICES FOR PEOPLE WITH LIMITATIONS
   IN READING PRINT: VOLUME 4

5. DESIGN AND EXECUTION OF STUDY OF READING LIMITATIONS: VOLUME 5

The following are bibliographies and reference circulars used by the
Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. 1291 Taylor Street
N.W., Washington, D.C. 20542 which I used for this study:

1. MAGAZINES IN SPECIAL MEDIA, 1981

2. READING MATERIAL IN LARGE PRINT, 1979

3. READING MACHINES FOR THE BLIND, 1980

4. ACCESSIBILITY: DESIGNING BUILDINGS FOR THE NEEDS OF HANDICAPPED
   PERSONS: 1979

5. NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS CONCERNED WITH VISUALLY AND
   PHYSICALLY HANDICAPPED PERSONS: 1980

THE FOLLOWING BOOKS WERE USED FOR INFORMATION ABOUT THE DEAF:

1. Directory of NATIONAL INFORMATION SERVICES IN HANDICAPPING
   CONDITIONS: U.S.  Department of Education- Superintendent of
   Documents  1982

2. National TECHNICAL INSTITUTE FOR THE DEAF: A CATALOG OF
   EDUCATION RESOURCES 1985

3. CAPTIONING AT NTID: TEAMWORK, TECHNIQUES AND TECHNOLOGY 1985

4. Adapted MEDIA EXCHANGE PROJECT: NATIONAL TECHNICAL INSTITUTE
   FOR THE DEAF 1985

The following books were used for this course:

1. PUBLIC OPINION:  Walter Lippman  FREE PRESS  1965

2. MEDIA IN POLITICS:  Doris Graber Congressional Quarterly  1984

3. PUBLIC OPINION:  COALITIONS, ELITES AND MASSES:  by Harry Holloway
   and John George St. Martin Press  1979

4. THE IMAGE:  A GUIDE TO PSEUDO EVENTS IN AMERICA by Daniel J.
   Boorstin Atheneum Press N.Y.  1982

OTHER SIGNIFICANT BOOKS  AND PUBLICATIONS:

1. THE IMS '84 AYER DIRECTORY OD PUBLICATIONS:  IMS FREE PRESS
   Pennsylvania 1984

2. WORLD ALMANAC 1984

3. PUBLISHERS AND NEWSPAPER ENTERPRISES ASSN 928pp. NY NY for
   number of television stations in U.S.

4. DISABLED USA* magazine of the PRESIDENT'S COMMITTEE ON
   EMPLOYMENT OF THE HANDICAPPED...WASHINGTON, D.C..September
   1984 and Spring 1985 issues

5. THAT ALL MAY READ*  NATIONAL LIBRARY SERVICE FOR THE BLIND AND
   PHYSICALLY HANDICAPPED* 1984 - Dealing with issuers of those who
   have reading problems.

				 FOOTNOTES
				  Prologue

1. PUBLIC OPINION by Walter Lippman FREE PRESS  pp 31-36
2. IBID page 32
3. IBID page 32
4. IBID page 36
5. DISABLED USA* Publication of the President's Committee on Employment
   of the Handicapped Sept. 1984  HOW MANY ARE WE?: SOME STATISTICAL LIGHT
   ON DISABILITY by Robert Gorski, editor, DISABLED  USA
6. Personal interview March 1984 with Robert Gorski, DISABLED * USA

		 SPECIAL NEEDS: BLIND AND PRINT HANDICAPPED

1. Personal interview with Corine Kirschner - Social Researcher and Chief
   Statistician for American Foundation for the Blind. She cites data
   from 1979 study of the National Society to Prevent Blindness as well
   as an exploration from the Rehabilitative Services Administration in
    Washington. D.C.
2. Statistical Abstracts of the Unites States 1984 edition - U.S.
   Department of Commerce
3. American Opthomological Association and National Society to Prevent
   Blindness, as cited in May, 1985 interview with Corine Kirschner
   (see above)
4. 1979 survey National Society to Prevent Blindness
5. Interview Corine Kirscher, May, 1985
6. DISABLED USA March, 1984; READ INTO THE SYSTEM AND THRIVE By
   Tzipporah Ben Avraham page 20
7. THAT ALL MAY READ by Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
   Jan., 1984 page 14
8. RR BOWKER- Bowkers annuals 1985 edition
9. THAT ALL MAY READ by Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped;
   page 226
10. CHARACTERISTICS, ACTIVITIES AND NEEDS OF PEOPLE WITH
   LIMITATIONS IN READING PRINT: VOLUME 2 NATIONAL LIBRARY SERVICE
   FOR THE BLIND AND PHYSICALLY HANDICAPPED by American Foundations
   for the Blind 1979 page 57
11. WALTER LIPPMAN* PUBLIC OPINION: FREE PRESS 1949 pages 31-36
12. DISABLED USA publication of the President's Committee on Employment
   of the Handicapped Sept. 1984 HOW MANY ARE WE: SOME STATISTICAL
   LIGHT ON DISABILITY.

		WHAT DO YOU FIND IN THESE SPECIAL LIBRARIES?
		HOW MUCH POLITICAL INFORMATION DO YOU FIND?

1. INTERVIEW WITH CORINE KIRSCHNER* SOCIAL RESEARCH AND
   STATISTICIAN FOR THE AMERICAN FOUNDATION FOR THE BLIND  May,
   1985
2. MAGAZINES IN SPECIAL MEDIA  by the National Library Service for the
   Blind and Physically Handicapped 1980 reference circular

FOOTNOTES Page Two

3. AYERS GUIDE TO PUBLICATIONS 1984 edition by IMS Communications
4. IBID

       RADIO READING SERVICES AND THE PRINT HANDICAPPED AND POLITICAL
			      CONTENTS OF NEWS

1. WALTER LIPPMAN: Public Opinion by Free Press page 32
2. CHARACTERISTICS, ACTIVITIES AND NEEDS OF PEOPLE WITH
   LIMITATIONS IN READING PRINT VOLUME 2 by American Foundation for the
   Blind 1979 Page 57
3. Personal Interview with J. Levy - Director IN TOUCH NETWORK The NYC
   radio reading service for print handicapped. April, 1985
4. Program guide of the IN TOUCH NETWORK 1985 guide as given to its
   subscribers
5. Circular a-122 of the OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET Washington,
   D.C. which in part says in this March 1984 document that tax-exempt
   not for profit organizations (501 c-3) corporations may not participate
   in any political activity under peril of losing their tax exempt not
   for profit status.
6. AYERS GUIDE TO PUBLICATIONS by IMS Communications 1984 edition
7. From guide to programs to IN TOUCH NETWORK sent to its subscribers

	EXPLORATION OF REASONS FOR LIMITED ACCESS TO MEDIA OR PRINT
      HANDICAPPED. IS IT STEREOTYPE OR IGNORANCE OR ACCOMMODATION?...

1. THEY REPRESENT YOU. Booklet of elected officials in New York City with
   maps of districts, addresses of officials and information on the voting
   process    1984 edition
2. THE IMAGE: A GUIDE TO PSEUDO EVENTS IN AMERICA by Daniel Boorstein
   Atheneum Press: New York 1982 page 37 on stereotypes
3. VOLUNTEERS WHO PRODUCE BOOKS 1984 reference circular NATIONAL
   LIBRARY SERVICE FOR HE BLIND AND PHYSICALLY HANDICAPPED
4. STIGMA page 120 by Erving Goffman 1963 Prentice Hall

			      HEARING IMPAIRED

1. Letter to me from Chris Pruszynski - Director and manager of Institutional
   Television at Rochester's National Technical Institute for the Deaf
   Letter dated April 22, 1985
2. Captioning at NTID: TEAMWORK TECHNIQUES AND TECHNOLOGY,  a
   pamphlet to inform those who are interested in the production of
   this media at this facility.
3. Quote from April 22, 1985 letter from Chris Pruszynski as above
4. STATISTICAL ABSTRACTS ON THE UNITED STATES by the U.S. Department
   of Commerce page 542 1984 edition

			    FOOTNOTES Page Three

5. STIGMA Page 9 By Erving Goffman 1983 by Prentice Hall
6. NATIONAL CAPTIONING INSTITUTE INC. March, 1963 NCI CLOSE CAPTION
   BULLETIN Vol. 3

      MOBILITY IMPAIRED PERSONS AND THOSE INSTITUTIONALIZED WHEELCHAIR
			   USERS IN NEW YORK CITY

1. Personal interview with Mr. Altschul - NYS DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL
   SERVICE Program Analyst to Commissioner concerning medicaid. May, 1985
   interview
2. PATRICK O'CONNOR Personal interview, He is lobbyist and statistician for
   the NYC EASTERN PARALYZED VETERANS ASSOCIATION Interview date March
   1984 edition
3. STATISTICAL ABSTRACTS OF THE UNITED STATES, by U.S. Department of
   Commerce 1984 edition
4. THE ROLE OF HEALTH CARE FACILITIES IN SATISFYING THE READING
   NEEDS OF RESIDENTS WITH PRINT LIMITATIONS VOLUME 3 NATIONAL
   LIBRARY SERVICE FOR THE BLIND AND PHYSICALLY HANDICAPPED by
   American Foundation for the Blind 1979
5. IBID page 108
6. IBID page 51
7. STATISTICAL ABSTRACTS OF THE UNITED STATES, by U.S. Department of
   Commerce 1984 edition
8. ACCESSIBILITY: DESIGNING BUILDINGS FOR THE NEEDS OF HANDICAPPED
   PERSONS reference bibliography 1979 National Library Service for the
   Blind

			    THE VOTING PROCESS:

1. Interview with Commissioner Betty Dolan, Commissioner NYC Board of
   Elections May 1985
2. Inventor Weibreicht invented this device in 1969 in Nevada according to
   the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf
3. VOTING RIGHTS ACT FOR THE ELDERLY AND HANDICAPPED ACT P. L.
   98:435
4. Interview with Gregory Maraskowitz - director of Voter Access of the
   Mayor's Office for the Handicapped persons this was a project to assist
   handicapped get to and from polling places and to vote.

			     HOPES FOR RESOLVE

1. PUBLIC OPINION COALITIONS ELITES AND MASSES by Holloway and George
   page 129

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