Debilitating Journalism

2 comments
additional needs, down syndrome, down's syndrome, equality, family, inclusion, journalism, love, pre natal, pregnancy, special needs, Uncategorized
What does the word “debilitating” conjure up to you? To me, it is a profoundly frail and sick person, unable to do pretty much anything. In my minds eye I imagine someone lying on the floor, or in a bed, desperate for help, pale in colour and unable to do much for themselves. It suggests a person with zero quality of life. Someone frustrated and uncomfortable. It is a sad, pitiful image. One I definitely don’t recognise in my son. In fact, I LITERALLY couldn’t think of a more inaccurate description of my bright and sporty, fiercely independent, driven boy who is full of magic and mischief and boundless energy, with a sparkle in his eyes.

The first definition I found online of debilitating was “to make weak, or feeble”

I am therefore delighted that, despite Sarah Knapton, the author of the piece in The Telegraph, refusing to acknowledge on Twitter it was wrong to use this word when referring to people with Down’s syndrome, the editor at The Telegraph has chosen to remove it. Author Sarah even suggested it was only done as a “goodwill gesture” and remained adamant the terminology was correct. Wow thanks. Too kind. She set the tone of her whole article with the wrongful use of this word.

When Seb was born, all I could “see” was Down’s syndrome. I read everything I could get my hands on about the condition (thankfully none of it used the word debilitating) and, as a result, I thought Seb WAS Down’s syndrome. Of course I know better now. I am actually taken aback sometimes that he is, on paper, classified as disabled. He’s just Seb. Well, not *just* Seb, but you get my drift.

Crap unbalanced journalism like this should not be allowed. It’s dangerous. It’s spin and it’s not on. The masses will read it and take it. Trust it. Not question it. Add in the title of “science editor” and a quote from Great Ormond Street and it gives it credibility. I am still fuming that it ran with the headline it did – without mentioning the many more lives of babies lost with Down’s syndrome, and that it refers to the test as the “test for downs” yet later admits the new test looks for other things too, so why the heavy focus on downs? It also quotes an obstetrician as saying it tests for many “diseases”. Down’s syndrome is NOT a disease.

We all agree, less miscarriages is great. But we all also agree information is key. Balanced, ACCURATE information.

The only thing round here weak and feeble is Sarah Knapton’s journalism.

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2 thoughts on “Debilitating Journalism”

  1. Maureen Roberts says:

    Absolutely, at least have the good grace to admit an error, apologise and remove it. As you say, it has given the wrong impression and with the ‘credible’ sources, it will give a wholly inaccurate impression. Keep writing – please!

    Like

    • Thank you Maureen for taking the time to write your supportive comment. I will keep writing as long as people are reading, so thank you for your encouragement! best wishes, Caroline

      Like

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