PBS NewsHour series
"Autism Now"

As man of you are aware, ASAN and others in the Autistic Community have significant concerns about this week's PBS NewsHour series "Autism Today". The series relies on old stereotypes against Autistic people and uses poor quality science to advance the personal agenda of the journalist, Reboert MacNeil, who put it together. Our concerns are as follows:
  • In interviews leading up to the airing, Robert MacNeil, NewsHour co-founder and reporter, made reference to many crude stereotypes about Autism and Autistic individuals and used rhetoric that dehumanized Autistic people. He stated in his interview, Autistic Americans lack "the most human thing we have, which is our ability to look into each others eyes and feel that other person's existence and what might be going on in their mind, and to empathize with them.";
  • No input from Autistic-run organizations or groups advancing an acceptance-oriented perspective about autism was sought in this supposedly "Comprehensive" approach to the autism spectrum and the issues surrounding it;
  • The series relies on disproven and scientifically dubious claims around vaccines and biomedical interventions with no basis in science.

We're providing our allies in the blogging, advocacy and academic communities with contact info for NewsHour below to urge you to express your concerns directly to the program and encourage you to send this information out to your networks through whatever means you deem most appropriate. We ask that you voice your opinion! Let it be known that a conversation about Autism should include Autistic people. The contact information is below:


Anne Bell

PBS NewsHour

[email protected]

Office: (703) 998-2175 


Please bcc: [email protected] so we can keep track of the progress of the campaign and make sure that PBS NewsHour cannot claim to have not received the e-mails you or those you contact send.



Thank you,


The Autistic Self Advocacy Network



The Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN) is a non-profit organization run by and for Autistic people, fighting for disability rights in the world of autism. Working in fields such as public policy, media representation, research and systems change, ASAN hopes to empower Autistic people across the world to take control of their own lives and the future of our common community.


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