Carol Cleigh Sutton: How Deeply Ableist is Mainstream Media?

From Not Dead Yet: For More Info, Go Here…

A man named Michael Hickson died on June 11, 2020. He was denied food an fluids for 6 days. He was a Black man. His death occurred in a climate of national discussion about the killing of Black men. His wife, Melissa, has ample evidence that his death was deliberate and was the result of prejudice. Yet almost no stories in the mainstream media mention his death and outrage is coming from the disability rights movement and a few ‘shocked’ ethicists.

Michael was quadriplegic.Michael’s life was ended because he was disabled. This much is obvious from the recording that Melissa has of a physician callously ‘able-splaining’ the fact that he would kill her husband because he believed Michael had no ‘quality of life.’ Disability advocates have long known that ‘quality of life’ is code for BDTD- Better Dead Than Disabled.In each of the four (4) stories about Michael’s death that I found in mainstream media (as of July 4), there are flat denials by the hospital that Michael was discriminated against because of disability. Not one reporter used the tapes to question that denial. There was also no attempt to contact a disability rights organization (like Not Dead Yet). Instead there is a very weak statement form a Texas Right to Life organization which doesn’t make clear that the physician in the tape is talking about disability when he uses the catch phrase ‘quality of life.’

Finally, the reporters all let the guardianship organization get away with a statement in which they claim that Michael’s spouse and family agreed to have him starved and dehydrated to death. Here is a story that is typical: Quadriplegic patient dies of COVID-19 after Austin hospital, guardian decide against life-saving treatment.

**So, why?The answer is obvious to anyone who has been around disability rights. Mainstream media is deeply ableist and is working hard to help the hospital and guardianship organization sweep one more Black, disabled body under the rug. They are colluding in the murder of a Black disabled man.

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