In the sticky conversations around rationing life-saving treatments and vaccines during the Covid pandemic, corporate media have elevated some experts without disclosing their troubling views on disability, aging and the value of human life. Meanwhile, media outlets have largely sidelined the voices of disabled activists and others who could speak on behalf of those most affected by the pandemic.
In the first weeks of the Covid outbreak, national media outlets did shine a spotlight on issues for disabled people, including the potential for discriminatory triage guidelines. Disabled voices appeared in the op-ed pages of the New York Times (3/19/20, 3/23/20), Washington Post (4/6/20, 4/9/20) and Vox (4/4/20), advocating for their rights.
Disability became a viral social media topic in July 2020, after a Texas woman shared a recording of a doctor refusing life-saving treatment for her Covid-infected husband, Michael Hickson, a Black father of five who was already a quadriplegic with brain damage. On tape, his doctor defended his choice based on Hickson’s lack of “quality of life,” by which he clarified... see more