Propaganda and Legislation a la AG Bell

Propaganda is the spreading of an idea or falsehoods to promote and propagate an agenda

in this case the idea and ideology is the notion that to hear and / or behave as a hearing person is superior to being Deaf.  This notion is known as AUDISM and it is not cool

From the AG Bell Association bylaws:

Section 4.    No substantial part of the activities of the Corporation shall be the carrying on of propaganda, or otherwise attempting to influence legislation, … (the rest of that section is about political campaigns)


(thanks Don for directing this truth to the surface)

carrying on of propaganda

AG Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AGBAD) has the slogan of advocating independence through hearing and talking which is….

a falsehood because:

1. the truth is – folks who do not talk and hear are independent

2. the truth is –  hearing and talking does not automatically make one independent

3. the truth is – even if a Deaf person can talk and hear they still experience discrimination and oppression and prejudice

re: #1 We know Deaf folks who nada hear or speak who travel the globe.  We even know Deaf-blind folks who nada hear or speak and they travel the globe too – how is this possible u ask?  well because one does not need the ability to hear and speak to function in this big ole wide world.

re: #2 We also know that many completely hearing and speaking folks as in the norm – are not so independent.  Many of them graduate from school but dont fare so well in the wide world even though they can *gasp* “hear and talk” completely, normally, flawlessly, unaidedly, unassistedly, unendingly but still many hearing folks dont graduate from high school, dont finish college, dont keep jobs, etc – especially in this economy.  How can this be if listening and talking are said to be the great equalizer????

how can this be?

well cuz what matters is who we are – not what our ears do or dont do and SUCCESS should be measured by the content of our character and not by our dB loss or gain

re: #3 – many Deaf folks spend their entire life time working on their independence through listening and talking only to still be left out left and right – boo and grrr.  Only to still prefer visual information such as text messaging, songs with lyrics printed, captions and subtitles, CART, and gasp American Signed Language.  hmmm odd eh?

So AG Bell Association ya gotta quit it with that big ole snake oil lie u keep trying to sell to the parents and wee things – that they will only be able to compete and be complete if they can hear and talk cuz that is NOT true

so we see the AG Bell Association deafinitely be carrying propaganda and even mailing it to teachers and staff at Deaf schools across the US of A.

[pix of an unwanted and offensive temporary membership card from AG Bell Association with their false propaganda promise on the bottom.]

psst members of the Deaf community – what do u say about sending a letter back to AG Bell Association on behalf of teachers and staff of the Deaf, children, parents, family members, and SOCIAL JUSTICE?  (click this link for info and examples)

influence legislation

the AG Bell Association has been lobbying congress to get legislation passed.

See (thanks shawn for the link)

During the peak years AG Bell Association was getting $100,000 from Advanced Bionics as part of the Circle Alliance Partnership

“This is about investing in people,” said Miller, President, Auditory Division at Advanced Bionics. “Through education, outreach, information exchange and networking, together AG Bell and Advanced Bionics can make a significant difference in the lives of people with hearing loss.” ~ James Miller of Advanced Bionics (2006)

NOTE: Advanced Bionics is a US based cochlear implant co. owned by Swiss Co. Sonova, which had to stop production and recalled all of their HI-Res 90K Cochlear Implants last year due to some failing hot inside the head.  It is still awaiting FDA approval to begin marketing their CI in the U.S. again.  Sonova has filed a Goodwill Impairment write off for the financial losses suffered during the time that Advanced Bionics productions were shut down.

Advanced Bionics has been fined by the FDA for a earlier cochlear implant that had moisture leakage and caused intermittent shocks and has had numerous recalls and one of its CI brands contributed to several of the spinal meningitis post-surgery deaths and illnesses due to the positioner used in that particular CI.

Another AG Bell Circle Alliance Partnership partner during that peak lobby funding time noted in the chart above was the cochlear implant company – Cochlear Americas, which is based in Colorado and part of Cochlear LTD which originated in Australia but has divisions world wide.

“For so many people dealing with hearing loss, AG Bell is a reliable resource that provides up-to-date, accurate information to help individuals live independently,”~ Chris Smith, President of Cochlear Americas (2006)

Cochlear Americas has been fined by the US Dept of Justice for insurance fraud and engaging in kick backs.

Last year AG Bell’s Circle Alliance Partnership logo went a missing on its website and no update notifications of continued donations have been mentioned in any press announcements.  However, Advanced Bionics and Cochlear Americas as well as Med-El continue to be big sponosrs for AG Bell conferences and programs.

NOTE: Added 9/13 – new recall announced from COCHLEAR of their CI500 range and listing of other recalls and fines with links

It is unclear if these corporations are still part of the AG Bell Corporate Advisory Council.

You can see how the AG Bell put their $$ to use via the Open Secrets site if you click the Issues TAB – then click the number under SPECIFIC ISSUES and it will route u to the actual legislation etc.

All of this took place while Todd Houston was CEO of AG Bell (2002-2007).  Houston is a speech pathologist and certified in auditory verbal therapy, who is now at Utah State University.

Alexander T. Graham is now CEO of AG Bell – his background is in competitive intelligence.

“Graham’s experience in introducing new strategic direction for membership-based advocacy organizations will be a tremendous asset as we begin a new phase in our association’s focus,” said Karen Youdelman, Ed.D., president of AG Bell. “In our July 19 membership update, our board affirmed that AG Bell should focus on informed choice about educational options, early intervention and identification of hearing loss, the use of new technologies (such as cochlear implants, digital hearing aids and assistive devices) and the availability of trained, highly qualified professionals to support those with hearing loss who use spoken language. Mr. Graham will be instrumental in spearheading our efforts.”

Yes, Graham (CEO) and Youdelman (AG Bell President in 2008) are the two folks who signed the AG Bell infamous letter to Pepsi co. where they stated:

“.. we would be remiss if we did not call your attention to the fact that your advertisement offers a limited view of the deaf community.”  It goes on to say “Your advertisement perpetuates a common myth that all people who are deaf can only communicate using sign language and are, therefore, isolated from the rest of society.  In fact, today’s hearing technology, coupled with early screening identification and intervention, has led to incredible advances in listening and spoken language skill development.”

blah blah blah

They then say that Pepsi’s money would have been better spent helping pitiful deaf folks get hearing aids and other “professional services” and go on to offer AG Bell’s help to come up with a better ad in the future that would show positive role models who have overcome their “condition” etc etc etc.  they conclude with their ever ending refrain of how the miracle of sound will set one free


propaganda and legislation – ohhh boy!

NOTE: Catherine Murphy was director of communication at AG Bell Association during the time of this letter and had defended the AG Bell letter to Pepsi in the SignNews article basically saying – we all, (meaning NAD, DBC, AFA, and some of their own members who contested the letter) misunderstood it.  C. Murphy is now the Executive Director of Public and Media Relations at Gallaudet University.

Wow – really?!

AG Bell has NOT retracted or apologized for that letter whereas every other oppressed group that is misrepresented and maligned demands and most normally receives an apology when an insult of this magnitude is made public.

AG Bell we r still awaiting.

And in the meantime – what do they do??? – spin out some more badness with those automatic unwanted membership cards/letters which mislabel teachers of the Deaf as “hearing specialists” (that is completely false and wrong ya all) and puts these folks names on their membership cards with their falsehood slogan of “… Independence through listening and talking”

geez – when r u folks at AG Bell ever gonna wake up – it is ok to be Deaf – it is just NOT ok to be oppressed.

Section 4.    No substantial part of the activities of the Corporation shall be the carrying on of propaganda, or otherwise attempting to influence legislation

Tsk Tsk Tsk AG Bell – not adhering to your own bylaws!

AG Bell’s letter to Pepsi



14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Deafhood Discussions » Propaganda and Legislation a la AG Bell by P. Durr
  2. Dianrez
    Sep 07, 2011 @ 19:43:11

    Hands up and waving, Patti! The constant trickle of truth will eventually crack the false structure of AGBell. Each time someone speaks on falsehoods and deficiencies of this organization, more people listen and start asking questions.

    Audism does more than limit opportunities for d/Deaf people–it also limits the opportunities for everybody to experience and learn from people without hearing.

  3. Ella Mae Lentz
    Sep 08, 2011 @ 21:18:01

    another POWERFUL post! Share it forward!!

  4. handeyes
    Sep 08, 2011 @ 22:23:07

    Dianrez and Ella –

    yep the truth be told and every bit helps for that mighty stream

    1 2 3 push and jumping at da sun we be



  5. Shel
    Sep 08, 2011 @ 23:30:22

    Isn’t it interesting that organizations like this one cries out that they’re being misunderstood when folks point out what they were doing was actually audism and linguicism?

    Misunderstood… my foot.

  6. lchaim2007
    Sep 08, 2011 @ 23:45:47

    Good Message to everyone that exposes the truth of what AGBell did to us in history!

  7. SB
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 15:20:02

    Audism has many sides, one being that deaf people who sign think they are better than deaf people who speak. AG Bell is an organization devoted to hearing parents who want their deaf children to hear and speak. There are too many falsehoods (e.g., “failure rate” of cochlear implants, a very convenient argument for deaf people who are opposed to them) to refute here. By being hostile to AG Bell and deaf people who speak, blogs like this are wasting their time and energy. They continue attacking AG Bell but have never accomplished anything but look mean to parents and professionals.

    Deaf people who sign need to promote ASL to those who are interested in it. AG Bell members are not necessarily that demographic; the people who are involved choose to be involved. ASL needs to be promoted to people, deaf and hearing, who are expressing interest in the language. ASL is an extremely popular foreign language to take in college, so that is a strong indicator of interest. There needs to be greater awareness and use of ASL among those who are interested in it or just starting out.

  8. handeyes
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 22:06:33

    Shel – you use the big words smile. Yes it is odd that they say we “misunderstand” when it is more than just a few folks and when it is pretty dang clear what they have said and it is wrong so – who is misunderstanding what?!

    it would be funny if it weren’t so sad

    lchaim – yep, the study of our history is important
    “Those Who Forget History Are Doomed to Repeat It” George Santayana



  9. handeyes
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 22:19:05

    SB – i see from your email address that you go by spambox

    my goodness – u folks r very creative with the aliases.

    1. pls look up the definition of audism. knowledge is power
    2. this entry has nothing to do with Deaf folks who speak. it is fine to talk. i do and can. doesnt make me more or less independent than anybody
    3. this entry has to do with systems that propagate the falsehood that to hear and or behave as hearing people is superior to being Deaf
    4. re: falsehoods – pls name one and provide facts to prove it is in fact a falsehood
    5. i aint hostile to AG Bell – i am just stating the truth. AG Bell, the man, and the organization have run a vicious campaign against American Sign Language and Deaf culture (see Baynton’s Forbidden Signs, Winefield’s the Twain Shall Never Meet, Lane’s When the Mind Hears and Mask of Benevolence, Crouch and VanCleve’s A Place of their Own) oh can check out Bell’s own writing and AG Bell Associations letters to teachers of the Deaf and the Pepsi letter – hostile wow wee YEP. ’tis a pity
    so if you want to talk of HOSTILE – you need look no further than you beloved AG Bell Association.
    6. i feel not hostility towards AG Bell association – i have met with their CEO and would do so again – i aim to help them do right by Deaf folks and not to be a conduit of oppression. i do this out of sincere love – this is truth force / soul force
    7. we are not attacking – we are challenging and employing civil disobedience. many parents and professionals have thanked us and said it is long overdue. many join with us and yes we see it is contributing to progress.
    8. re: ASL – i sing its praise long and hard and will continue to do so. Yep i know it shines and yes i know its on the rise. No worries there, pal. We blasting off for sure.

    You cant fight oppression simply by saying Black is Beautiful – you also have to engage in direct peaceful confrontation of oppressive systems and YOU HAVE TO PUT THE TRUTH OUT THERE TO THE PUBLIC.

    dont matter how many spamboxes show up to spread their ill-will and b.s.

    we rise and shine folks.

    Much peace,


    MLK Jr re: civil disobedeince / peaceful protest

    “And I think by following this approach it will also help us to go into the new age that is emerging with the right attitude. For nonviolence not only calls upon its adherents to avoid external physical violence, but it calls upon them to avoid internal violence of spirit. It calls on them to engage in that something called love. And I know it is difficult sometimes. When I say “love” at this point, I’m not talking about an affectionate emotion. (All right) It’s nonsense to urge people, oppressed people, to love their oppressors in an affectionate sense. I’m talking about something much deeper. I’m talking about a sort of understanding, creative, redemptive goodwill for all men.” [Applause] – Martin Luther King, Jr

  10. Dianrez
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 23:11:14

    SB, you make several points, a few of them actually good. However, you are missing a very big concept: AUDISM. The idea that to hear and speak is better than finding other ways to communicate, such as ASL. That hearing-like people are more independent than signing (and some speaking) deaf people. And so on.

    Frankly, these are marketing lies, as you will see by looking around for yourself.

    An organization that persists in promoting such falsehoods is acting out of self-interest. Just look at the membership: physicians, audiologists, oral teachers, speech pathologists, you get the idea. Just look at its affiliates: cochlear implant companies, medical establishments, professional organizations dealing in pathology. Just look at its funding and its lobbying–all in the name of what they practice: trying to habilitate deaf children and people into an inadequate semblance of hearing.

    Hostile? Yes. As a person who was personally harmed by this organization’s delusions and still-ongoing overly optimistic promotions, I will admit to being hostile and in support of educating people about this organization’s pathologically-based orientation. It took me years to overcome the misconceptions that were instilled in me and my parents from childhood, and my parental family still harbors ideas that put me at a disadvantage in family reunions. The damage that was done to my family still affects us today.

    As a professional, I have seen both good and harm come from this organization and its affiliates. To be honest, the harm outweighs the good even if numbers balance, which they do not. People who say that the Alexander Graham Bell organization has changed and that it is more accepting of alternative philosophies are talking from a position of hopeful delusion, if not a false marketing facade.

    The fact that you are attempting to change opinion as an anonymous respondent is a tip-off that you are not sure of your position and don’t wish to jeopardize your standing where the facts prove you wrong. Also, you are not willing to stand up to known Deaf people who stand on the evidence and their convictions.

  11. SB
    Sep 10, 2011 @ 14:02:20

    Dianrez, thanks for your reply! I do not think slogans are that important; I would hope that people get involved with organizations with more research than that! The slogan to me means that hearing aids and cochlear implants are the most immediate accommodations available for a deaf person. The so-called independence means that you can bring the accommodations with you wherever you go. Obviously, that changes people and where they can be, hence the debate about deaf identity and deaf community.

    The emphasis on having these immediate accommodations means that the goal is individualistic. There are local communal efforts but these depend a lot on locations and demographics, so the most consistent organizational benefit is what can be done for the individual. That results in a very specific approach. Omission is not prevention of what else is possible; they just cannot fit in the constraints of that approach. To put this in reality, sign language users have a very communal approach because they share a language, where hearing aid and cochlear implant users take a more individual approach to use their accommodations wherever they go. That does not mean there cannot be overlap; some HA/CI users may be fine on their own, may like socializing with other HA/CI users, or may like joining sign language users too.

    AG Bell has a specific focus. Obviously, I disagree with what is said about the association, but I’d rather pull together empirical evidence before making refutations. As a national association, it can help with the individual approach but not the communal approach, because the latter needs to take place on a local level. I think deaf people should know one another, and it may be for different reasons, such as sharing resources or sign language or both. I try to accomplish that with all different kinds of deaf people. That’s my frustration with blogs like this, that there is this rallying-together for some nebulous goal. The real effort is on a local level and not necessarily limited to a single mode of communication. After all, we do have common beliefs, such as agreeing that Netflix is the pits with its Watch Instantly feature. 🙂

    In summary, there is a kind of independence in all this that we should all pursue. Organizations are monolithic and high-level. At the same time, there are certain organizations, not to mention ideals, that we consider extensions of ourselves. Rather than attacking those extensions, we should appeal to the individual. I try to do that in all the ways I know how, for all kinds of deaf people or people who know them.

  12. handeyes
    Sep 11, 2011 @ 02:16:17


    everything u have written is pure twist and spin

    u say AG Bell’s slogan is about CIs and HA – well what the heck? that is not their gig ya know – their gig is oral only

    and are u saying one is independent because one has CIs and / or HA and thus can travel? huh? what happens when the CI / HA breaks or batteries dies or they are swimming – does this mean they are no longer independent and individualistic?

    surely u do not want to go down that line or reasoning for a variety of reasons – chief amongst them being – it makes no sense ; )

    most humans – regardless of what language(s) they use are communal and interdependent – its called LIVING

    re: “independence” as in the notion of which this country was founded – ie the Declaration there of….

    it was not a declaration of “all i care about is me myself and i” nope it was – we will not live under an unjust tyranny and it was to put forth a VERY import principle and notion that the US of A is still working mighty hard to live up to – that all folks were created equal and are endowed by the creator with certain unalienable rights – the right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness

    so i for one am not gonna stop anyone who wants to talk, walk, dance, prance, listen, sign, be Deaf, etc etc.

    when u support AG Bell u r supporting an exclusionary practice and system – u r supporting the belief that to listen and talk makes one more independent than to sign and be Deaf and that is simply not true

    and that is simply discongruent with our notion that all folks are created equal

    ’tis a pity

    now re: ur lead up to “appeal to the individual” well why dont u try leading by example. for example – i happen to be an individual so instead of coming to the People Place to try to trash me or instead of spreading an untruth about this blog site over at another blog site – ie instead of attacking and bashing this system – why dont u try appealing to me, the individual?

    im watching

    maybe ill learn something

    by the way – u still have not shown any evidence of any falsehoods in this entry

    ya know u really r not practicing ANYTHING u have preached in your two long comments here

    again ’tis a pity

    but i have hope. i have hope u will raise to the challenge of ur own rhetoric

    more than just my eyes r watching to see if u r SB or BS

    we will see see

    much peace


  13. handeyes
    Sep 11, 2011 @ 02:33:26

    Dianrez – i thank u for all u wrote and shared. U r a gem

    ur good heart, ur willingness to delve into these hard subjects and to challenge folks respectfully – all wonderful

    i would like to suggest one correction though – hope ya dont mind.

    i do not think u r or have exhibited hostility – i think what u r referring to is righteous anger. we should all be upset by injustice and we should all challenge it.

    if we look at what hostility means and what constitutes hostile actions – i suspect that SB and AG Bell are exhibiting this more than u or i

    i have been aiming to be an extremist of love these days – i falter and i waiver but by and large – i am not feeling hostile or having hostility. I really have a great deal of compassion for AG Bell the man and the organization and the CEO and the Communication director etc.

    i also have faith – in peaceful resistance, peaceful direct confrontation, soul force, truth force, civil disobedience, truth and love

    “we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.” ~ ML King Jr

    Dianrez – thank u for being a big part of this mighty stream

    much peace


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