Autism Narratives in Media Coverage of the MMR Vaccine-Autism Controversy under a Crip Futurism Framework.

Health Commun. 2018 Mar 09;:1-7

Authors: Mann BW

Abstract
While previous studies in health communication have examined online news media regarding autism, there is a lack of research that critically examines how such media representations may stigmatize autism and seeks to eliminate the condition, particularly in the context of the resurging measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine-autism controversy. To address this gap in the literature, this study analyzes 153 articles that engage the MMR vaccine-autism controversy from the top 10 online news sources in the U.S. from September 2015 through July 2017. It draws from Kafer’s (2013) work in Feminist, Crip, Queer, using a lens of crip futurism to interpret three major narrative themes: a death and survival narrative that purports autism as a worst-case scenario, a societal problem narrative, and a preventative narrative that seeks to eliminate the condition. These themes suggest that online news media narratives about autism surrounding the autism-MMR controversy play into stereotypes about autism, including stigmatization and prioritization of preventive behaviors and cures over supporting the lived experiences of autistic individuals. Continued research on the impact of online media portrayals of autism specifically, and disability in health contexts generally, is called for.

PMID: 29521536 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

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