Disability and the Media

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Portraying The Disabled In the media today, people with disabilities are perceived as tragic heroes or as medical miracles. They are rarely seen for their intelligence or for their accomplishments excluding their overcoming disability hardships. The textbook, Everything’s an Argument, contains an excerpt from Charles A. Riley II 's book “Disability and the Media: Prescriptions for Change.” Riley, a journalism professor at New York’s Baruch College, uses appeal to ethos, logos, and pathos to persuade his audience that their methods of portraying disabled people are in dire need of change. Riley reports that disabled celebrities are seen as the object of pity, ultimately depriving them of feelings of normality. As well as pointing out the common clichés of disabled people in the media, he provides some guidelines that should be taken when portraying people with disabilities in the media. Ultimately, with the use of precise topic, relevant diction, and a serious tone, Riley impressively organizes and structures his writing to show that there is a need for change in the media and that the change is possible. Therefore, he uses his rhetorical strategies effectively to persuade his audience into changing the way able-bodied people portray the disabled. Riley’s text gives a historical background, which is used as an appeal to ethos. He has won many awards for his work on issues involving disabilities. Along with his historical background, a list of books that he has written is provided. Knowing about his previous work, books, and awards provides the readers with a sense of trust in the author. Therefore, his appeal to ethos helps in his persuasion of getting able-bodied people to commit to change in the way they portray the disabled. Throughout the text, Riley gives many examples of celebrities with disabilities and how they are inaccurately perceived through media. With these examples, Riley appeals to logos; providing his audience with evidence that


Cited: Charles A. Riley. “Disability and the Media: Prescriptions for Change”. 2005. Everythings an Argument. 5th ed. Eds. Lunsford, Andrea, John. J. Rusziewicz, and Keith Walters. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2009. 641-650.

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