For the 20th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act on Monday, there was a big ceremony at the White House, where President Obama gave a speech. A number of people with disabilities attended, including Marlee Matlin, upon whom I have a huge crush. Matlin is an awesome actress, and she’s also a tireless crusader for captioning, including online and offline.
Many news outlets covered the event, including CNN. ‘Obama marks 20th anniversary of landmark disabled rights law‘ features not one, but two videos.
Guess how many of them are captioned.
You know what’s a really bad idea? Not captioning stories about the Americans With Disabilities Act. You know what’s an even worse idea? Not captioning stories about events attended by Marlee Matlin. Matlin’s on the case on Twitter:
Still no word from @CNN about lack of captions on their internet story about accomplishments of the Americans with Disability Act.
The points Matlin is raising are important. Especially given that a bill improving media accessibility just cleared the House of Representatives, this is more important now than ever, because the government is actually starting to think seriously about these issues and it’s taking steps to improve media accessibility. As Matlin points out, that bill doesn’t mandate captioning for web-only content. If content hits the airwaves, it has to be captioned, and when it is displayed online, those captions have to be made available. But if content is developed specifically for a website? No captions needed, under the bill’s terms.
We need Internet captions. We need them now.
CNN has a feedback form and they say they welcome comments. Internet, you know what to do.
ETA: I posted full transcripts of CNN’s content, for those who wanted to access it and couldn’t. And to make a point. Accessible content: Not that hard to provide, CNN.