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Re: LSAC Inaccessible Web Lawsuit


From: Cynthia Waddell
Date: Feb 22, 2009 11:40AM

I read your blog about the LSAC matter and you raise interesting points,
including the question: What is the responsibility of news agencies when
announcements of lawsuits are made? Your blog asks about balanced reporting
and whether or not there is a responsibility for the reporting agency to
present both sides.

Perhaps it would be of value to evaluate press releases made by a plaintiff
or defendant in a lawsuit? Press releases, by their nature in a U.S.
litigation posture, can be one-sided. Sometimes there are privileged facts
that cannot be disclosed precisely because a lawsuit has been filed. I
suspect that sometimes press releases are used as part of the overall
bargaining between parties to launch the dispute into the public sphere for
influence. On the other hand, lawsuits are a serious matter and press
releases should not be used to play games with the reputations of the
parties involved.

You might want to take a look at all NFB press releases to see if the tone
and rhetoric is the same as this one. I doubt you will see balanced
reporting on all of them. Consider comparing NFB press releases announcing
lawsuits with other civil rights press releases - maybe you may or may not
see language style differences. I also wonder if there is something about
social justice issues and civil rights that makes this type of press release
different from a different one about litigation over a non-civil rights

We will all stay tuned to this case since it is building upon California
case law established under the Target web accessibility case.

Best regards,
Cynthia Waddell

Cynthia D. Waddell, JD
Executive Director and
Law, Policy and Technology Consultant
International Center for Disability Resources
on the Internet (ICDRI) Phone: (408) 691-6921

ICT Accessibility & Government Services Expert
United Nations Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs

ICDRI is based in
Raleigh, North Carolina USA

See My Books!
Web Accessibility: Web Standards and
Regulatory Compliance by Apress 2006
at www.icdri.org/WSR_Book.htm
See also Constructing Accessible Web Sites

Is your Web Site Accessible?
Find out now with Cynthia Says! www.cynthiasays.com
Endorsed by the American Council of the Blind,
the CynthiaSaysTM portal is a joint Education
and Outreach project of ICDRI, The Internet
Society Disability and Special Needs Chapter,
and HiSoftware.

-----Original Message-----
From: Zdenek, Sean [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ]
Sent: Sunday, February 22, 2009 9:22 AM
To: <EMAIL REMOVED> ; WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: RE: [WebAIM] LSAC Inaccessible Web Lawsuit

Thanks, Cynthia, for the info on NFB v. LSAC.

I went searching yesterday for more information about this complaint - I
read everything I could find, including the complaint -- and found that the
NFB's press release has already been reprinted verbatim on a number of
general news sites, including Yahoo!, CNBC, AOL, and Forbes. On only two law
sites was I able to find any response from the LSAC. I document my search
for info and my analysis of what I found in this blog entry:

Not surprisingly, the LSAC has a different story to tell, but to date their
story is not being disseminated on general news sites. The NFB's press
release has dominated the rhetorical landscape. What you wouldn't know from
reading the press release or the news sites (where the press release has
been disseminated) is that the LSAC claims to have made significant progress
on revising its website and seems much more willing than the press release
implies to work with the NFB.

As a result, I'm interested in 1) the responsibility of news organizations
to present the dispute in a more balanced way, and 2) the extent to which a
press release can frame a story, set the terms of discussion, be
disseminated as objective news, and offer disputed items as facts.

I'm both sympathetic to the NFB's complaint and, because my background is in
rhetoric, interested in the rhetorical dimensions of it all.


Sean Zdenek, PhD
Assistant Professor
Technical Communication & Rhetoric
Department of English
Texas Tech University
806.742.2500 x284
Office: 472 English Building