In a recent NBC interview with Pennsylvania Senate candidate John Fetterman, we saw a common problem for many Americans: The ability to get reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA ). Fetterman requires close captions for interviews because of an auditory processing condition as a result of a stroke he suffered in May.
Instead of treating the request as a normal part of Fetterman's campaigning, NBC spent significant time casting doubt on his ability to govern because he requires close captions, according to activists, who highlight ableism as an all too common problem and one that should not even be an issue because of the extensive legislation that allows for all sorts of accommodations.
We wanted to highlight this treatment of Fetterman by a national news service in order to show just how hard it still is to get reasonable accommodations. If the media is unwilling to consider these normal and routine requests, just think how hard it is for a worker who has no national spotlight to get an employer to accommodate their requests under the ADA.
Additionally, the way Fetterman was considered by the interviewer to be someone who might not be fit to serve in public office because of his need for a perfectly reasonable accommodation highlights how unseriously such a request is taken and how much a person’s ability can be doubted because of a need for accommodation.