Articles from The New York Times and ABC News have rushed to John Fetterman’s defense and highlighted how bias against people with disabilities has catalyzed backlash against the Pennsylvania Senate candidate. discuss performance.
“One in four Americans has a disability, but politicians with disabilities are rarely on the national debate stage. It made John Fetterman’s appearance a powerful moment, but the audience reactions were painful,” Maggie Astor wrote. of the Times.
The article, citing Americans with disabilities, called Fetterman’s performance both a sign of positive development in political representation, but also a stark reminder “how far they have to go.”
“On the one hand, Mr. Fetterman, the Democratic candidate, took part in a nationally watched debate months after a stroke left him with auditory processing disorder, speaking openly about his disability. – a remarkable moment for people who have felt the pressure to hide their own, and who rarely see people like them in politics,” Astor added. “On the other hand, much of the debate coverage has focused on Mr. Fetterman’s verbal stumbles.”
ABC News carried a similar story on Thursday, speaking with disability advocates about the public reception Fetterman’s debate with Republican Mehmet Oz received.
“Activists with disabilities say persistent and continued blows to Fetterman’s condition despite his persistence on the campaign trail highlight how ableism turns a condition someone knows about into a weapon to be used against them to make assumptions about their abilities,” Kiara Alfonsaca wrote.
The writer also noted that Fetterman would not be the first American politician to serve with a disability, comparing him to President Biden, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, R., Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., and former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. .
Biden has a speech impediment, Abbott and Roosevelt both suffered permanent paralysis, and Duckworth lost his legs fighting in the Iraq War.
The article noted that Fetterman’s decision to withhold medical records may have exacerbated negative reactions to his stroke and cited neurologists who claimed that speech problems do not necessarily indicate cognitive impairment.
The Times, on the other hand, made no mention of Fetterman’s resistance to the release of his medical records.
Fetterman’s health was at the center of the election, as he suffered a stroke five months ago. The Oz campaign has repeatedly asked to see the Democrat’s medical records, to which he answered emphatically “no” when asked during the debate.
“My doctor thinks I’m fit to serve, and that’s what I think I’m here for,” Fetterman said when asked if he would release his medical records Tuesday night.
When asked by a reporter if Biden thought Fetterman should release his medical records, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre refused to weigh in.