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ADA Policy Brief Series #5: Negative Media Portrayals of the ADA

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February 20, 2003


Media accounts of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) have not been uniformly negative, but all too often they have portrayed the Act in a misleading and very unfavorable light. Frequently, they have placed an unfavorable “spin” on the ADA, on the court decisions interpreting it, and on the impact it has had on American society. Such media perspectives have exaggerated and thus magnified the effect of inhibitive court decisions, and have frequently subjected the ADA to misunderstanding, confusion, and even derision. Negative impressions of the ADA fostered by media mischaracterizations have fostered widespread misunderstanding of the Act’s purposes and vision, as well as the actual content of the Act in terms of its requirements, scope, and the defenses it provides.

This policy brief seeks to identify some prevalent myths and misconceptions about the ADA that media coverage of the law has propagated.

An official website of the National Council on Disability