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CBS Censors Sign-Language Interpretation of Super Bowl National Anthem

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CBS broadcast the Super Bowl on Sunday February 3, 2019, but it never aired the American Sign Language performance by Aarron Loggins, a deaf performer and activist. The television audience for the 2019 Super Bowl was estimated to be one hundred million viewers. This Super Bowl was special in part Gladys Knight was to sing the National Anthem and “America the Beautiful” while Aarron Loggins interpreted in American Sign Language (ASL).

Every year an ASL interpreter signs the National Anthem. However, this year, Loggins’ performance was not broadcast. The National Association of the Deaf had kept the public up to date with posts on their website and social media; this is where members of the deaf community could see the highly anticipated performance that CBS had otherwise marginalized. The day of the Super Bowl, Loggins’ interpretation was posted on social media and the video has currently been viewed over one million times and shared by thousands of people. Aarron Loggins has been praised for his very powerful and emotional performance. It is evident that many people are disappointed with the lack of representation for the deaf community; they have also been outspoken about wanting to see more sign language interpretations and more coverage on national television in the future. Currently, there still has been no response from CBS as to why it decided to edit out the ASL interpretation.

The only corporate media news source to have covered the story appears to be the Washington Post. Coverage of the story by independent news media has also been virtually nonexistent.

Sources:

“Aarron Loggins to Perform at Super Bowl LIII,” National Association of the Deaf,  January 17, 2019, https://www.nad.org/2019/01/17/aarron-loggins-to-perform-at-super-bowl-liii/.

Student Researcher: Kimberly Bisel (Indian River State College)

Faculty Evaluator: Elliot D. Cohen (Indian River State College)

Daniel Christof

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