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September 01, 2005

Jerry Lewis's Parade

In case you've ever wondered how MDA manages to get a pull-the-heartstrings cover story in Parade magazine every Labor Day, wonder no more: MDA exec Robert Ross spills the beans in his column in the Sept./Oct. issue of Quest, one of the MDA magazines. Ross's column is conveniently online as well. Turns out Jerry and Parade CEO Walter Anderson became pals back in 1984 -- and what pals!!
It happened, says Ross, when Jerry was being photographed to be featured on the April 22 cover. Writes Ross:

That photo session was also significant in that it brought about the first meeting between Walter Anderson and Jerry Lewis, which developed into an enduring friendship. The following year, spurred in large part by that friendship, Parade began its tradition of featuring MDA-themed covers on its Labor Day weekend editions, coinciding with the Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon. In this way, Parade has performed a monumental service for MDA, spreading awareness of MDA's ongoing fight against more than 40 neuromuscular diseases.

Oh, gag me! I sure wish Parade would think about performing a "monumental service" for the disability rights movement. But I suspect that's not to be.

Walter says Parade's task of coming up with a different MDA story each Labor Day is not overwhelmingly difficult. "Every year the news is different, the medical breakthroughs are different," he says. "There are 40 neuromuscular diseases, and within those 40 there are extraordinary variations."

I could also think of a lot of different stories Parade could do about disability rights and access. But I guess they're not the type of story they want. Parade's "status as the country's most widely read magazine" (weekly circulation: 35 million), writes Ross, "is due in large part to its focus on the individual's potential to transform himself and positively affect the world."
I guess that leaves disability rights out of it.

Posted by mjohnson at September 1, 2005 02:46 PM