This is my fourth blog on the disgraceful AFR debacle, but as they have not yet responded appropriately, I felt like writing about it again. It seems the AFR simply refuses to engage in full and open conversation about their lapse in judgement earlier this year, and have chosen to ignore those of us who have made very valid complaints. Perhaps they hope we will just go away.
However, as we head towards Dementia Awareness Month, it is important the issue of language in the media is raised again, as there will be an onslaught of articles and stories about PEOPLE with dementia during September.
NOW it is the time for RESPECT for people with dementia, including from everyone in the media. I met two delightful journalists in the UK, who were offended that I had mentioned the challenges people with dementia generally have with the media and their use of disrespectful language, and accept there are a few who absolutely are doing the right thing, and also doing their best to change their own industry. Thanks to @DiverseAlz and others in the media for listening, and more importantly for acting.
After the article in the AFR, which referred to people with dementia as “Mad, bad and dangerous”, a number of colleagues of mine and others were published in the Australian Ageing Agenda today in an article Anger over Fin Review’s ‘feral’ dementia story;
“Advocates and care providers are outraged over a newspaper article that labelled seniors experiencing severe behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) as “mad, bad and dangerous to know”, sparking a new focus on media representations of dementia.
Prominent dementia experts have described as “misleading, offensive” and “scurrilous” the Australian Financial Review article on the government’s Severe Behaviour Response Teams that appeared under the headline ‘Teams to deal with feral patients’.
The article by veteran Fairfax reporter Christopher Jay, which discussed the tender for the teams that will assist with the care of seniors experiencing BPSD, said that aged care providers were “bracing themselves” for a “surge of feral geriatrics with severe and often violent behaviour problems stemming from dementia.”
The article has been met with fierce criticism from consumer groups such as Alzheimer’s Australia, as well as leading dementia advocates and researchers.” Follow here to read the full story.
Professor Wendy Moyle did have part of her Letter to the Editor which she submitted published, in favour of an apology and retraction of the article.
Professor Rhonda Nay asked for the sacking of the journalist and Editor in Chief. After many emails, I have still not had a reply, other than the first, which was obviously copied and pasted to everyone. Disgraceful, shameful, disrespectful, and we won’t go away.
If we referred to homeless people, Indigenous people, even bikies who are into crime, or any other group of PEOPLE as mad, bad and dangerous to know, or as feral, it would be considered reprehensible. It seems, the Australian Financial Review is definitely not interested in the truth, but rather, allowing this example of their own very poor and extremely offensive journalism to continue without question, and without apology.
PEOPLE with deMEntia are not feral, nor mad, bad and dangerous. They are people with a chronic, progressive terminal illness.
Why is it that the AFR have been allowed to get away with such offensive references to PEOPLE with deMEntia?