If CNN Won’t Do It, I Guess I Will: Transcripts of CNN’s ADA Coverage

As I discussed yesterday, CNN apparently doesn’t think captioning online content is important. When that content is coverage of the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, that’s pretty offensive. Since CNN hasn’t responded to repeated requests for captioning, I decided to help them out with full transcripts of their content. I know they’re busy folks over there, and I’m sure they have a lot to do! Clearly, since they’ve been asked repeatedly since Monday for captions on this content.

Feel free to reprint/distribute these transcripts with a link back to the original source.

President Obama’s remarks made on 26 July:


Video opens on President Barack Obama at the White House, making a speech.

President Obama: Today I am announcing one of the most important updates to the ADA since its original enactment in 1990. Today, the Department of Justice is publishing two new rules protecting disability-based discrimination, prohibiting disability-based discrimination, by more than 80,000 state and local government entities.

Camera cuts to crowd on stage next to him, applauding.

President Obama: And seven million private businesses.

Camera cuts back to the President.

President Obama: And beginning 18 months from now, all new buildings must be constructed in a way that’s compliant with the new 2010 standards for the design of doors and windows and elevators and bathrooms. Buildings like stores and restaurants and schools and stadiums and hospitals and hotels and theatres.

Camera cuts to seated crowd, applauding, and then back to the President.

President Obama: My predecessor’s administration proposed these rules six years ago and in those six years, they have been improved upon with more than 4,000 comments from the public. We’ve heard from all sides. That’s allowed us to do this in a way that makes sense economically, and allows appropriate flexibility, while ensuring Americans with disabilities full participation in our society. Equal access. Equal opportunity. The freedom to make of our lives what we will. These aren’t principles that belong to any one group, or any one political party. They are common principles. They are American principles. No matter who we are, young, old, rich, poor, Black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled, or not, these are the principles we cherish as citizens of the United States of America.

Video feature done by Kyra Phillips:


Video opens with archival footage of President H. W. Bush signing the Americans with Disabilities Act on 26 July, 1990.

Voiceover: With the stroke of a pen, it was done. The passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Cut to a shot of a grocery store, taken from a low angle. A handicapped parking sign is just visible, along with a curb cut. As the voiceover continues, each of the features discussed is shown on camera.

Voiceover: You’ve seen the results. Curb cuts and ramps. Wider doors. And braille on elevators and ATMs for the blind. Enough?

Cut to a closeup of a person wearing glasses. The shot widens to show the person seated at a desk covered in paperwork.

Voiceover: Former Attorney General Richard Thornburgh, who helped push the ADA through, says no.

Cut to Thornburgh sitting in front of a bookshelf, wearing a suit. As he speaks, the camera cuts back and forth between archival footage, Thornburgh, and people with disabilities going about daily activities.

Thornburgh: Well, I am gratified but impatient. Gratified that we’ve expressed in a formal way through legislative action the importance of the civil rights of people with disabilities and their rights to participate in the mainstream of our lives without being discriminated against, and disappointed in a way because we haven’t reached the promised land yet.

Cut to people with disabilities seated in a library, and then to a framed picture of a smiling young person in a formal portrait.

Voiceover: By promised land, Thornburgh means economic opportunity for the disabled1, so people like Ryan Cole can compete on a level playing field.

Cut to Cole and his mother, Andrea Cole, in his bedroom. She is showing him a photo album.

Andrea Cole (pointing at album): Was this the day you were born?

Voiceover: Ryan represents the second generation of the ADA.

A photo montage of Ryan plays while Ryan’s mother speaks.

Andrea Cole: Ryan was diagnosed when I was about 18 weeks pregnant with a Dandy Walker maformation, which is a brain malformation, which affects the cerebellum, and, in his case, he is missing a portion of his cerebellum.

A shot of Ryan and his father walking up the stairs, with his father saying ‘let’s go to your room.’ His father, Eric Cole, speaks now, while the camera shows photographs of Ryan as a young and clearly very ill baby and then cuts to Eric Cole in the kitchen.

Eric Cole: Ryan’s had two brain surgeries. He’s had abdominal surgery to place a G-tube, he’s had hernia surgeries. He’s had seizures, ah, that were brought under control, and some mobility issues.

Cut to Ryan Cole riding a tricycle.

Voiceover: Ryan’s parents want their son to grow up to be self sufficient, and advocates say society can do its part to make that happen.

Cut to Andrew Imparato, representing the American Association of People with Disabilities. As he speaks, the camera shows a powerchair user entering an accessible building.

Imparato: I think one of our challenges as we move into the next decade is how can we create more economic opportunities so that more people with disabilities are working, more people are in the middle class, own their own homes, and are able to participate fully in the mainstream of the economy.

Cut to Andrea and Eric Cole sitting at the kitchen table. The camera shows them interacting with their son while the interview and voiceover continue.

Eric Cole: I think individuals with disabilities, you know, what everybody wants, is they want a hand up, not a handout.

Voiceover: And for Ryan’s father and many others, it’s about common decency.

Eric Cole: I think there are many stereotypes that we still battle today. I think there are some derogatory terms out there that are still used for individuals with cognitive and intellectual disabilities. And understand that individuals like Ryan have hopes and dreams and aspirations, just like the rest of us.

Voiceover: Kyra Phillips, CNN.

About s.e. smith

s.e. smith is a recalcitrant, grumpy person with disabilities who enjoys riling people up, talking about language, tearing apart poor science reporting, and chasing cats around the house with squeaky mice in hand. Ou personal website can be found at this ain't livin'.

2 thoughts on “If CNN Won’t Do It, I Guess I Will: Transcripts of CNN’s ADA Coverage

  1. You are one of the most amazing people I know. I am saying this publicly, because I don’t think that things like this are said publicly enough.

Comments are closed.