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Friday, September 6, 2013

Controversial TV Report on a Murder


From Left Brain/Right Brain:
The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism started a petition: CBS News: Take down the video Behind the Tragedy: Mother Murders Autistic Son
The petition has over 1500 signatures as of today. Please read and consider signing. If you disagree with the way CBS portrayed the murder and the murderers of Alex Spourdalakis, please consider sending an email to CBS
REDWOOD CITY, Calif. — Autistics and caregivers want CBS to remove a news video which frames autism as an excuse for the murder of a child.The CBS News video, Behind the Tragedy: Mother Murders Autistic Son, frames autism as an excuse for the murder of a child, Alex Spourdalakis, by his mother & caregiver. CBS should not be promoting what The Autistic Self-Advocacy Network’s Ari Ne’eman described as “a dangerous ideology that preaches that people are better off dead than disabled.”
Even though Mr. Ne’eman and his quote were included at the end of the video, the bulk of the video tries to justify the unjustifiable — Alex’s murder — and curries sympathy for his killers. Specifically, CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson says, “His murder might be just another unexplained tragedy, if it were not for a documentary following his family in the months leading up to his death.” This is unacceptable.
The petition can be found at cbs-news-take-down-the-video-behind-the-tragedy-mother-murders-autistic-son-2
CBS News can be reached at
The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism is a book, website, and Facebook community run by Shannon Des Roches Rosa, Jennifer Byde Myers, Emily Willingham, and Carol Greenburg. Each woman writes, educates, and advocates within the autism communities.
Emily Willingham writes:
I strongly urge readers to review what is knownabout this case and to take note of those who were involved when Alex was not receiving the help heneeded.CBS has covered this story in a controversial report [I am a volunteer editor at the site that sponsored the mentioned petition] involving Sharyl Attkisson, whose views regarding vaccines and autism have previously come through in her reportage. The CBS coverage seems to imply that somehow, society’s failure to support this mother led her to brutally murder her son by stabbing him four times in the chest.
What society failed to do that led the godmother to be party to the murder remains unclear.
It’s become typical, again and again, for parents who murder their autistic children to get some kind of a “pass” from the commentariat and the news media because, well, autism is “such a challenge.” That’s in part because some autism organizations and members of the news media have successfully presented autism as a “monster” and a “ kidnapper” instead of as the developmental condition that it is. So in the public mind, an allegedly overwhelmed mother with “ no supports” should certainly be pitied and not judged harshly for killing the “monster.”