Well, here it is. A letter drafted up by the Chair of the Public Relations committee. I must admit, this was done in an extremely tasteful way. Read below.
October 1, 2007
Mr. Paul Harvey
Paul Harvey News
333 No. Michigan Avenue (suite 1600)
Chicago, Illinois 60601
Dear Mr. Harvey:
You should be delighted to know that many blind and low-vision people listen to and very much enjoy your program. Some of us have listened to your programs for well over 50 years.
However, as Chair of the American Council of the Blind’s (ACB) Public Relations Committee and on behalf of our entire organization, I am expressing our deepest concern and dissatisfaction with an ad that you share with your listeners. It is the ad for a product called Ocular Nutrition available from High Health. The ad states that a 79-year old fellow by the name of Marvin North of Dallas, Texas was told that he was going blind. The ad continues by stating: “His income would have ceased; his driving would have stopped; no reading, no television, … someone would have to take care of him…”
Mr. Harvey we hold the utmost respect and highest regard for you, but this ad is sending entirely the wrong message. I am a Professor of Marketing here at Western Kentucky University and am totally blind myself, and I know from both my extensive personal, business experience and from my academic experience, that such products can be sold quite effectively with positive portrayals, rather than negative ones. This ad for Ocular Nutrition tends to reinforce one of the most feared losses among people in general, and our senior citizens, in particular, that of losing one’s eyesight.
We are not, in any way, questioning the merits of this product. We are, however, imploring you to use your immense power of influence to change the
wording of this ad.
Mr. Harvey, there are an estimated 5.5 million seniors over 65 who are blind or considered low-vision, and this number is projected to increase considerably over the next twenty years. Thus, it is extremely important that we convey a more positive message to these people, a message of hope, not despair. Organizations like ours, the American Council of the Blind, have support programs for seniors, and we are working hard every single day to make this a more hospitable world in which blind and low-vision people can live. Through our efforts, we now have fully accessible ATM machines in many communities, and audible traffic signals are being erected by more and more cities across the country. We have talking microwaves, watches, calculators, cell phones, digital recorders and audio players, and all types of magnifying devices for low-vision people, and much, much more.
God forbid, but Mr. Harvey, if you were to lose your eyesight, you would not have to lose your income pharmacie en ligne viagra. You could continue doing what you are doing, but you would just have to do it a little differently, probably relying on the highly accessible technology that many of us use today.
Granted we cannot drive a car, but we read books, newspapers, and magazines, not necessarily with our eyes like you do, but with our talking computers, our cassette and digital players. We may be blind, but we still enjoy television and movies. We simply rely more on our ears and obviously, less on our eyes than you do, but to suggest that we can’t do those things is a gross misrepresentation of reality. Many movies today are, in fact, audio described, and we actually get more out of them than most fully sighted people. For instance, recently, I conducted an experiment where one group of my students watched the movie “Ray,” and a group of blind people listened to the same movie, except their version was also audio described. Afterwards, the two groups were given a little quiz about the details of the movie. The blind group scored much, much higher
on the little quiz than the sighted group.
There are an estimated ten million persons who are blind or low-vision in the United States. We represent all ages, most all professions, and we lead happy, normal, very productive lives. We are social workers, psychologists, lawyers, educators, engineers, computer programmers/analysts, athletes, homemakers, politicians, writers, journalists, broadcasters, among many other professions. Many of our members have macular degeneration, but it has not stopped them from working, reading, watching television, living productive, active lives, and enjoying their children and grand children!
As a result of the vast array of devices and technology now available to us, we can do almost anything you can do. We might do it differently, but we can do it. Many of our members are in their 70’s and even 80’s, and they live independently, and many are still leading very active and productive lives, and I would be delighted to put you in contact with some of them if you are interested.
We ask for your support in our effort to project a positive image about blindness, not a dismal one. No, nobody wants to be blind, if given a choice, but if one is blind or vision impaired, it does not mean one’s life is over. Far from it! One must be thankful for the ability to hear the sounds around them, to smell the fragrances in the air, to feel the textures that our beneath our feet and hands, and to taste all those wonderful and delicious foods!
Mr. Harvey, we will greatly appreciate everything you could do to help us to get our message of inspiration and encouragement out to those ten million or so blind people in the United States who are blind or sight impaired, and especially those 5.5 million seniors.
Ronald E. Milliman, Ph.D.
Chair, Public Relations Committee, American Council of the Blind Http://www.acb.org
Dr. Ronald E. Milliman, Professor of Marketing, Western Kentucky University
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