Sunday, November 22, 2015

White House: Where is Leadership on Closed Captioning?

What Federal entity has not been providing adequate captioning? What Federal entity captions after posting videos? What Federal entity has not captioned a video after two weeks?

If you guessed the White House, go to the head of the class. On YouTube, there are captions, but selectively and often delayed. ( Even the Americans with Disabilities and the Arts video got posted without captions! That's bad enough. But now we have to confront lack of captions on Facebook too! 

On November 9, the White House finally gave the President a Facebook page at This page is not Obama's personal page; it will be inherited by the next President. The page includes videos. The first video posted on November 9 has captions, but the second video, posted November 11, lacks captions! 

That second video has lacked captions since it was posted on November 11! That's roughly two weeks of no captions since! Not acceptable, especially since it is the White House! 

We have enough of a problem with the wrong attitude towards closed captioning online (too expensive, too time consuming, need to do it after the fact, and so on). We need leadership on online captioning to come from the top, and the top is the White House!

This is NOT a democratic OR republican issue. It has zilch to do with politics. It has to do with accessibility! If the White House Public Relations team doesn't get the message that they must caption BEFORE posting any video, how can we expect top YouTubers and web series producers to do the same?? There has to be leadership!

We are urging people who find this unacceptable to go to the new President's Facebook page and post a complaint below the video about the lack of captions. As of this writing, 11 people have posted complaints! It is an active page, so the complaints are most easily viewed by selecting "most recent" in the viewing dropdown.

Post a complaint about lack of captions on THIS video!


  1. Had dual hearing aides since age 38. Little by little hearing decreased. About 2006 or 7 I had one cochlear implant. At least I could understand my grandkids. Now at 68 years old, the other ear is deaf, hearing and understanding passes in certain settings. Television is very difficult with all the background music and "noise". I understand very little unless I am in a perfectly quiet room... nothing else running... like a fridge, heater, furnace, AC. please.. get yourself some good earplugs and try being very hard of hearing. Try to understand someone at a drive through fast food place or in a noisy restaurant, including waitstsaff. Captioning is a blessing. I do like to enjoy a few programs. Thanks

  2. Thanks for your usual energy Jamie, well said. CCAC has been advocating to the White House, on and off, for about six years. At first, many videos CC'd! Now, so few. We need all Videos and also Live Streams from WH with quality CC now - past time!

  3. We also suggest Tweeting as CCAC did before the FB page comments (we left two or three on FB too). We tweet from - please follow and RT like crazy. Thanks if you do.