The Impact of Closed Captioning on John Fetterman's Journey to the Senate

In 2022, just days before winning the primary to become the Democratic candidate for the Senate in Pennsylvania, John Fetterman suffered a stroke. Like many stroke victims, he experienced a loss of function that persisted long after his recovery, including lingering auditory processing issues that made it challenging for him to understand spoken words. In interviews in the months that followed, John Fetterman relied on closed-captioning technology to help him comprehend reporters' questions and assist in his debates against his primary opponent, Dr. Mehmet Oz.

Upon being elected to serve in the US Senate, closed-captioning devices were installed both at his desk and at the front of the Senate chambers to facilitate his understanding of his colleagues as they spoke on the Senate floor. John Fetterman serves on several committees, including the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry; the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs; the Committee on Environment and Public Works; the Joint Economic Committee; and the Special Committee on Aging. Closed-captioning has proven invaluable, benefiting both John Fetterman and his constituents in Pennsylvania, extending its utility beyond merely enabling him to watch TV at night or understand reporters.

With the assistance of closed-captioning technology, John Fetterman has been able to serve the people of Pennsylvania at the highest levels of government. During a hearing with the Senate Special Committee on Aging, Fetterman himself expressed gratitude for the transcription technology on his phone, stating, "This is a transcription service that allows me to fully participate in this meeting and engage in conversations with my children and interact with my staff." He later added, "I can't imagine if I didn't have this kind of bridge to allow me to communicate effectively with other people."

Captioning and transcription efforts extend well beyond being a mere requirement for broadcasting a program. As captioning technology continues to advance, an increasing number of individuals, like John Fetterman, will have the opportunity to participate in public life, even at the highest levels of government. They will serve others, even as transcription and captioning technology serves them.

Take a look at his setup in action here. Dedicated monitors with real-time captions displayed are becoming an increasingly popular setup at live events. Alternatively, explore the convenience of live captioning on mobile phones, making captions accessible from any seat in the venue. Either option is easily achievable — contact one of our experts to find out more.