Saturday, April 18, 2009

"Keep Your Shirt on, Mac!"

A reporter who uses a wheelchair attends a news conference held by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. The reporter's coat falls, and the fall kicks the reporter's tape recording into playing, but the reporter can reach the recorder to turn it off -- and Bloomberg pitches a hissy-fit.

Some in the disability media and some in the mainstream media think Bloomberg should have been more patient. I'm not sure. Asking a politician to pause while he's busy preening is akin to asking Madonna or Paris Hilton not to notify the paparazzi when they venture into public.

What most dismays me is not the boorish behavior of Bloomberg, but rather the idea that the reporter didn't simply say, "Hey, I'm movin' as fast as I can."

The reporter asked for an apology. The mayor rationalized.

The ugly thing is that incident would have never made the news if the reporter hadn't been a wheelchair user. It's one more practical demonstration that people with disabilities still move in an environment where disability is the primary factor in how we are perceived.

1 comment:

FridaWrites said...

Exclamation points. How aggressive and unkind. It's not like the reporter wanted to interrupt and would naturally have been embarrassed. It is difficult to keep coats on wheelchairs as compared to nonmoving chairs, they get tangled up in wheels or slid askew.