The Associated Press Attempts More Disney Guilt by Association

Walt_Disney_World_Resort_entrance Are Disney and its guests responsible for Orlando's homeless population? The AP seems to suggest so.

Back in February, I wrote about a phenomenon I call Disney Guilt By Association, a particular type of disinformation in which members of the media attach Disney to negative news stories where the company has an incidental link. In my original article, I wrote:

On far too many occasions Disney has come up against agents of disinformation trying to tarnish its founder, and the company at large finds itself the target of media hatred. From the antics of its former child stars – as if the studio could be responsible for their personal behavior – to the recent attempts to deface Walt Disney that seem to come from out of nowhere, members of the media try to attach any scandal they can to Disney, manufacturing a type of guilt by association.

The Associated Press has published an article documenting the plight of the homeless in the Orlando area ("In Disney's Shadow, Homeless Families Struggle.") (The piece even includes the tag, "Homeless in Disney's Shadow," as though this particular phenomenon warranted repeated investigation.) The article, which lists no author, chronicles several families who have moved to Orlando seeking a prosperous living, only to find themselves living in seedy motels.

The problem has created a backlash among the mostly mom-and-pop businesses, with some owners suing the county sheriff to force his deputies to evict guests who haven't paid or who have turned their rooms into semipermanent residences. It also shines a light on the gap among those who work and live in this county that sits in the shadow of Walt Disney World, and the big-spending tourists who flock here. On any given day, tourists pay nearly $100 per person to get into Orlando's theme parks. There, they may be waited on by homeless parents. From their hotels, they jog past bus stops where homeless children wait to head to school. They buy coffee at Starbucks next to the motels that have become families' homes. [...] "The fact that we're the happiest place on Earth and No. 1 travel destination is good news, but this service-based economy is actually creating a dynamic of homelessness," [consultant Catherine] Jackson said. Many of the county's homeless moved here to find jobs in the tourism industry, so they lack the social networks of family or churches, Jackson said. (emphasis mine)