After viewing MANY videos on Carly Fleischmann, the young woman diagnosed with autism from Canada who has hit the media hard…with appearances on The Ellen Show (Now a friend of Ellen), Larry King, 20/20 with John Stossel, ABC News, Canada AM…and on & on….I am most interested in the language differences between newscasts from the different countries. Is there a slight cultural difference in the reaction to autism, or is it just a difference in media? If it’s media, does media’s influence on culture create meaning? I watched the two video posts above with a critical eye (or ear) to language choice. I felt that the sensationizated language and descriptors used in John Stossel’s 20/20 interview taints the viewer to respond to Carly’s experience as somewhat miraculous, or even freakish. On the other hand, the Canada AM interview is less inflamatory, and more fact-driven. Don’t get me wrong- I think both interviews consider autism through a “disease-model-to-be-cured” lens, but I consider how different societies, even societies that are very culturally similar, perceive autism, and how they respond to a human-interest story.
Carly has a book, Carly’s Voice, or I should say her father has a book- she has a chapter. She also has a website carlysvoice.com that has several features…plugging the book, media, and a forum with several interest groups. Carly’s story is interesting and remarkable- but not crazy-remarkable based on the 1st person narratives we have become familiar with…
One more point of interest- Dad is her big advocate. Mom is in the picture, but it’s Dad who is the feature in all the media, including Carly’s video portrayal of experiencing autism in Carly’s Cafe (video above) It sounds like he is professionally in PR, so maybe Mom is more “behind the scenes” type.
Worth Checking Out-