On April 28th, 2021, President Biden gave his first address to Congress on the eve of 100 days in office. Prior to the address, the White House announced they would be providing a feed of the American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter for this address — a first in U.S. history. The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) commended the White House for taking steps to ensure accessibility for all who are watching, including deaf and hard of hearing people.
However, we were disappointed when TV networks carrying the broadcast did not also include the provided ASL interpreter feed through an appropriately sized picture-in-picture (PIP) inset so that deaf and hard of hearing people can access the address. With 48 million deaf and hard of hearing people in the U.S., it is critical to ensure we have access to the topics President Biden addressed last night through both accurate captioning and ASL. We thank CBS News for sharing the ASL interpreter feed on its website, although we encourage CBS News in the future to include this ASL interpreter feed as a part of the screen (such as a PIP) with the address rather than a separate video of the ASL interpreter feed on its own. Additionally, not everyone has access to high speed internet, which is why we encourage all TV networks to make ASL interpreter feed available via TV broadcast. We urge all TV network stations to do the right thing and provide access to the ASL interpreter feed in the broadcast.
If you are deaf or hard of hearing and have a complaint about access, please contact your local TV station and share your feedback.