The Politics of (Dis)Information: Crippled America, the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the 2016 U.S. Presidential Campaign

Stephanie J Cork, Paul T Jaeger, Shannon Jette, Stefanie Ebrahimoff

Abstract


Politics – especially presidential campaigns – are an important means by which to examine the values and issues that are given priority by members of a society and the people who wish to be leaders of that society. The issues discussed in a campaign, and the ways in which they are discussed, reveal much about social attitudes and policy goals. In the past twenty years, information and communication technologies have become simultaneously central policy issues at the national level (access, privacy, security, etc.) and the main channels by which candidates engage their supporters (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc.). In this paper we examine both of these roles of information and communication technologies in the 2016 presidential campaign in the United States through the lens of disability issues. This particular focus was driven by: the occurrence of the 25th Anniversary of the American with Disabilities Act during the first year of the campaign, and, more significantly, the intersection of disability, information, and technology as a major civil rights issue for people with disabilities, who represent nearly one-fifth of the population of the United States. For this study we collected and analyzed campaign materials released online about disability issues by selected presidential campaigns, as well as news stories and other related Web content, to better understand the issues related to disability being discussed in the campaign and implications of those issues for people with disabilities.


Keywords


Inclusion; Digital Inclusion; Disability

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