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August 31, 2005

Disability opposition to Roberts leads the pack -- Not! an update

This next paragraph begins the blog I posted this a.m. But read to the bottom, and you'll see something disturbing.
A telephone press conference was held yesterday at 1 p.m. eastern time on John Roberts's nomination to the Supreme Court. Reporters got to hear from the NAACP, ADA Watch, and the National Women's Law Center. A few hours later, a story appeared [I've fixed this link as per Stephen Drake's comment, below] in the Washington Post, written by Reuters reporter Tom Ferraro. The story, headlined "Both sides step up battle over U.S. court nominee," began with a report on right-wing efforts in support of Roberts. But when Ferraro's story turned to concerns of progressive groups, he led with ADAWatch:

In a teleconference with reporters on Tuesday, members of three other liberal groups voiced concerns about Roberts.

Jim Ward, president of the group ADA Watch/National Coalition for Disability Rights, criticized Roberts for "right-wing judicial activism" and predicted he would vote to weaken the disability law if confirmed.

So what? You might think. Here's what: to reporter Ferraro, ADAWatch's opposition seemed the most significant; that's why he led with it. It may seem a tiny point, but it shows -- at least to me -- that disability rights concerns are starting to stand out in the debate over Judge Roberts. This is great news. And hidden in that seemingly mild second paragraph is something else that caught my attention. Note Ferraro referred to "the disability law." Not "a" disability law, but "the" disability law. That means that he and his editors both believe that readers will know what "disabilities law" he's referring to. Of course it's the Americans with Disabilities Act. That little "the" signals that the ADA is well-enough known that Post readers will naturally know about it.
We're gaining.
Uh... an update: Actually, we're not gaining. The comment below alerted me to the fact that somebody at the Post -- or Reuters -- had edited this piece and removed the disability references! Actually, this is a good lesson for me, I guess. It's not the first time I've seen a story where, when it first ran, had disability stuff in it, only to have it removed in subsequent editions.
What's up with that?
This was originally posted at 9 a.m. today. Now i'm editing it at noon. Wonder what will happen to this hapless story next?

This is good news, but...

I just went to the Wash Post site following your link, which is to page two of the Reuters article.

When I hit the "back" button I went to this URL:


It's the main article and it's already been edited to a one-page format, apparently. And all mention of disability concerns have been edited out. There is *no* link to a page two in the main article link.

Unfortunately, this is a common occurence with wire service articles, which are written in ways to facilitate shortening and editing.

Same old story probably - the reporter got it, but the editor(s) cut the material as irrelevant. And they'll continue to do so until they see more and more of these stories coming acros their desks.

Posted by mjohnson at August 31, 2005 01:11 PM