Radio Comments On Michael Savage Autism Remarks

Armen Hareyan's picture
Michael Savage Is protested for Autism comments.

There have been numerous calls in recent days for Michael Savage, who hosts "The Michael Savage Show" for Talk Radio Network (the "Network"), to be fired or suspended for his brief 84 seconds of commentary concerning autism during the July 16th broadcast of the Show.

Promptly after the Network's management learned of the comments in issue, the Network commenced an investigation into the particulars and the circumstances of those comments. This investigation began with the Network's CEO, Mark Masters, personally contacting Dr. Savage to address the concerns and obtain an explanation of the comments directly from Dr. Savage.

In that conversation, and other subsequent conversations between Mr. Masters and Dr. Savage, Dr. Savage explained the circumstances and intent of his statements in considerable detail. The Network also carefully monitored subsequent broadcasts of the Show, on Monday, July 21st and Tuesday, July 22nd, which were devoted to the subject of autism and further explanations by Dr. Savage of his views on the subject.

Dr. Savage has clarified that his July 16th statements concerning autism were not directed at those who are in fact challenged by this horrible affliction, but were instead addressing efforts to broaden the concept of autism beyond those who truly are autistic to a broader "autistic spectrum" of behavioral symptoms which are also manifested by persons who do not suffer from autism, and his concern that many children are being misdiagnosed as autistic due to the subjective nature of autism diagnosis (due to the lack of known biomedical indicators, such as blood tests, to definitively confirm or deny the actual existence of autism). Dr. Savage has also explained his belief that there have been efforts by certain professionals and professional organizations to expand diagnoses of autism more broadly, for various reasons, and his concern that this victimizes and stigmatizes children who are misdiagnosed as autistic. On multiple other occasions Dr. Savage has expressed his concerns that other conditions, such as ADD and ADHD, are overdiagnosed and result in improper medication of young children, which Dr. Savage regards as abusive.

In the context of his broader concerns, it is clear that Dr. Savage's comments were intended to suggest his opinion that, in the vast majority of cases, most children throwing tantrums, or refusing to communicate, are not autistic. Unfortunately, by condensing his multifaceted concerns into 84 seconds of commentary, the necessary context for his remarks was not apparent, and the few words he used to express his concerns were, in this instance, inartfully phrased.

As a result, Dr. Savage's comments did facially appear to be directed at children who suffer from autism, and clearly could be perceived as such. This has, in turn, caused understandable pain and distress to those who have a child or family member who is challenged by autism. This was not Dr. Savage's intent, and, on behalf of the Network and all persons associated with the Network, we wish to note that our hearts go out to all families who are forced to face the realities of autism every day of their lives, and to sincerely apologize to these families for any increase in these burdens resulting from inartful commentary appearing in the Network's programming.

While the phrasing of Dr. Savage's remarks was inartful, after the aforementioned investigation, as well as personal knowledge of Dr. Savage's strongly held views towards children and those dealing with special challenges, the Network is satisfied that he did not mean any disrespect to autistic children or their families but was instead reiterating his longstanding concerns on public health issues. Indeed, on these points, Mark Masters, the Network's CEO, notes that:

"I have known Michael Savage for nine years now. Over those nine years, we have had occasion to disagree on many issues. However, I have always respected Michael as a man of conviction, and I have noticed throughout our relationship that he has always been passionate and intense in his opposition to persons who he perceived to be disrespectful of persons dealing with special challenges.

I once asked him about his passion in this area, and he noted that it was because he had a brother who was disabled, but that he did not want to discuss it. Michael never shared any particulars on this with me until he shared with his audience on Monday that his brother never spoke during his lifetime, was institutionalized at 5 or 6 years old, and died in that institution in his 20's.

My observations of Michael's consistent opposition to what he viewed as abuse or disrespect of persons dealing with special challenges, and of his interest in children, as well as his 1982 book, Healing Children Naturally, are completely inconsistent with Michael attacking children who are truly autistic. In contrast, his belief that misdiagnosing children as autistic will damage those children who are misdiagnosed and stigmatize them for life, his aversion to what he sees as improper medication of young children, and subjecting them to a lifetime of chemical straight jackets, and his recent sharing of his belief that the medical profession failed to properly care for his brother prior to his brother's death, do explain his passion in challenging what he sees as improper efforts by some in the health care industry to brand and treat as autistic persons who are not."


In this context, for multiple reasons, the Network does not believe that it is appropriate to take adversarial action to suspend or terminate Dr. Savage for not phrasing his comments in this instance more carefully.

First, the Network recognizes, and those who are calling for action against Dr. Savage should recognize, that live talk radio is unscripted. Hosts do not read from prompters. Regardless of the abilities of any individual host, it is impossible to expect that hosts can in all instances avoid any instances of failure to provide full context and caveats for every statement made in three hours per day, five days per week, of a live talk program.

The Network also believes, as a policy matter, that it is not appropriate to censor the opinions of its hosts on legitimate issues. Neither the Network nor its management personnel agree with all positions asserted by all hosts on each of the Network's shows.

As a policy matter, the Network neither supports nor rejects individual policy statements asserted by its hosts. It does, however, support the rights of its hosts to express their views on public policy issues.

The purpose of talk radio is to raise the level of public discourse by introducing commentary on controversial issues. If the Network were to require hosts to refrain from stating views which others disagree with, or discipline hosts for holding unpopular views, its hosts would be intimidated from exercising their freedom of expression. Should this ever become the standard for talk radio, the interchange of ideas and debate which is the lifeblood of talk radio would be destroyed, and the freedom of expression which is a hallmark of American democracy would be eroded.

The Network is particularly concerned with respect to efforts to remove Dr. Savage from the airwaves by persons or organizations who disagree with his political views. In the case of the underlying July 16th autism clip comments now in issue, the Network must be cognizant of the fact that the initiation of a campaign to remove Dr. Savage from the air for those comments was instigated by Media Matters, an organization which regularly tapes broadcasts of The Michael Savage Show for the purpose of finding sound bites which could be used in an effort to remove him from the airwaves, for their own political ends.

In this case, the Network does believe that there has been an effort by Media Matters to take advantage of an inartful lapse on the part of Dr. Savage in failing to supply full context, caveats and explanations in the 84 seconds of comments at issue. While the Network and Dr. Savage regret any pain to families of autistic children as a result of inartfully phrased comments intended to enhance the welfare of children, it does appear to the Network that Media Matters and others now seek to cynically exploit this particular sound bite, out of context, to harness the pain of parents with truly autistic children, for their own self-serving agenda, in a broader political effort to remove a voice they politically disagree with from the airwaves.

In this context, the Network does question, if such efforts were to be successful with respect to Michael Savage, which other hosts will be the next targets. This is not the first, nor will it be the last, attempt by Media Matters to exploit any issue for their own self -serving political and social agenda.

Despite the concerns on the Network's part as to the motivations of Media Matters and other organizations which seek to remove those hosts they disagree with from the airwaves, and its belief that no action against Michael Savage is warranted under all applicable circumstances of this situation, the Network does want to take some positive action to address the fact that inartful statements concerning autism were made on one of its programs. As a result, the Network will begin broadcasting public service announcements with respect to legitimate autism issues, subject to spot availability, without charge, and will be encouraging other networks to do the same. In this regard, the Network invites organizations which would desire to submit public service announcements to forward them by email to [email protected], or by mail to P.O. Box 3755, Central Point, OR 97502.

In contrast to the cynical efforts of Media Matters to manipulate 84 seconds of commentary out of context, for its own ends, the Network does believe that the issue is about the children. While the 84 seconds at issue has created intense controversy, the Network welcomes the opportunity to broaden the discussion on the important issues relating to autism, the "autism spectrum", the validity of autism diagnoses, and the ever-expanding drugging of America's children.

The Network commenced this discussion in the July 21st and 22nd broadcasts of The Michael Savage Show. For those who believe that the 84 seconds cited by Media Matters defines Michael Savage's views on autism, the Network recommends going to (or clicking) to view a representative sampling of Dr. Savage's views, as well as the applicable issues, in true context.



So, what's new about the loony left taking the comments of a conservative radio host out of context? This is just another attempt to silence conservative talk radio. The left does the same to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and others. Nothing new here, is there? Check out Media Matters and you will find out what their real agenda is.
Dr. Savage's defenders really need to check their dictionaries -- or buy their first one, perhaps -- and learn the meaning of the term "context" before posting any further. By dictionary definition, context constitutes the parts of a written or spoken statement that precede or follow a specific word or passage, usually influencing its meaning or effect. So by definition, Savage's comments were not taken out of context -- the entire text of this speech is available to read, to hear, or to view if you wish, and what he said is painfully clear. There was nothing immediately preceding or immediately following these comments that change their meaning or their effect. Of course, after many people called Savage to responsibility for these comments, he made further statements of the "what I really meant was" variety. But -- again, by definition -- that does not equal context, because those later comments were nowhere near the original text. They are simply a later attempt to explain what he originally said -- in fact, what they really look like are his attempt to alter the meaning of the original statement. Luckily, there are several terms to describe Savage's maneuver: "back-tracking" is the most printable one. BTW, I'm not loony left or loony right: I'm a registered Independent who also happens to be a linguist. So don't go there.
Media Matters and others, it is true, disagree with Michael Savage in the political arena outside autism, that is true. But this does not change the fact that Savage is brutal not just by virtue of his "inartful" comments on autism, but his hateful speech on a variety of topics. You know that of which I speak. That's why you pay him gobs of money. Michael Savage is hateful, angry and intelligent; most listeners who appreciate listening to his bile on a regular basis are hateful, angry and ignorant, and love having someone intelligent espouse and thus justify (in their minds) their views. If Savage were a more reasonable, judicious personality, he would be forgiven here. I think it makes sense to consider the source here. This mean-spirited man deserves a kick in the rear end, albeit metaphorically. Ron, Charlottesville, VA
perhaps some comments on his subsequent radio interview with Dr. Cammarta from Vanderbilt, *the* expert on late-talking children and the austistic spectrum, would be in order as well.
As a physician, I can attest that 20 years ago depressed women were diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. Now they have fibromyalgia. Equally 20 years ago unruly kids were diagnosed with ADD. Now they have autism. That's not to say there aren't children with ADD and the tragedy of autism, but it's woefully misdiagnosed most of the time. With a large percentage of young children being raised by grandparents, the need for some diagnosis other than poor parenting is in high demand.
just because you have an MD, does not make you an expert in every specialty. Leave autism to those that see a child for more than a a 15 minute "physical". In fact, most physicans these days can't make a diagnosis without labs, xrays, CT, and MRIs. They've stopped listening to patients years ago....maybe I should insert "I can attest to that" because I've been a patient for 20 years. What in the world would grandparents raising children have on Autism? I'm married to a physician. Who do you think took years to realize that our child was on the spectrum, my husband with his medical degree, my child's teacher, or myself. The pyschologist took 10 minutes of one- on- one with my kid. Genetic specialists are only now (3 years later) doing tests because my son now has a condition that the medical field deems as "real" and it's an auto immune disorder which many Autistic people have. oh and fibromyalgia, what are you attesting? that it's all in their minds? I had 3 in-laws with fibromyalgia. Okay, they were misdiagnosed. They died of various cancers. One before her 25th birthday. I guess the lack of father was the cause of their constant pain. Glad your not my doctor, you obviously think people with chronic pain whether physical or mental should HTFU or find a father.
Dr. Ignorant, My son was recently diagnosed with autism and the criteria are actually very specific for a proper diagnosis. At his evaluation there were 7 professionals there and they spent a total of 4 hrs. all together to diagnose him using a very specific scale. I have a younger son not on the spectrum and I can assure you that raising him is much easier than raising my son with autism. My son not on the spectrum just turned 3 and is already potty trained, my oler son 4 1/2 on the spectrum is still not potty trained and I have worked a lot harder with him and not had results yet! Austism is not imaginary and I assure you that I am a dedicated mom and not some incompetent nitwit! Cathy Jackson Columbus, OH [email protected]
Michael Weiner (Savage's real name) may have a phd, but that doesn't stop him from being an ignorant bag of bovine fecal coliform culture media. His statements were a combination of hate speech and ignorant ranting. Splitting hairs about linguistics on a follow-up interview is not substitution for real experience. This individual is an example of someone who abuses others and then whines about prejudice when people respond. He does, however, provide a useful service. He is a warning of what the nation would be like under a fascist regime like those he favors.
Dr. Savage has a great show. Let it be.
Go to hell you arrogant prick.
Hurray for the Network! I don't get to hear Michael now, due to a change in venue on our local station. I used to hear him everyday, and loved his wit, his intelligence, his savvy, and his "fire in the bones". I agree with his views about the false diagnoses', and really agree that drugs are killers and not answers to this disorder - if it really is one. I also agree that it is totally wrong to try and nit-pick every sentence or opinion of Michael or any other host. I love his "old childhood" stories, his method of expression, and I hope he never changes. He's one of the primary reasons I got "hooked" on talk radio. Thanks for Michael - he's sure a keeper. Ginny Moss Tulsa, OK
Michael Savage can say anything he wants - short of inciting public riot. But I have never seen such spinning in my life. You should be embarrassed!!!! As for Savage, he should BE A MAN!!! Let him admit that he made a mistake. Unfortunately, I don't think his ego will allow him to do that. To use his own words, he's a putz and a schmuck. Ken, Somerset NJ
If you are unable to make an educated statement in 84 seconds you should learn to keep your mouth shout. What a disgracefull idiot.
Dr Savage has spent his entire life defending children against over drugging. This is a trumped up case, with the fire being fanned by George Soros. I believe this article puts it very well actually. Anyone who reads this piece and then can still rush to judgment on Dr Savage is the real narrow minded one. So I say stop getting side tracked here people, it's time to see what this really is. An attempt in an election year to change the subject and silence the truth. God Bless Michael Savage our Paul Revere.
"Inartful comments"?! "Broader context"?" Savage has stated that he "stands by" his comments, he has not apologized, and his original statement (that he stands by) said NOTHING about over-diagnosis. He attacked disabled children like my son, and he attacked fathers of autistic children like me. Savage said I should tell my son to stop acting like a "moron", and a "putz". How can this network believe it is even possible to forgive these statements by placing them "in a broader context"? As for Media Matters, I personally don't like them. But I don't give a hoot what their "agenda" is. Savage doesn't get a pass because his political opponents publicized his words. They are HIS WORDS, not theirs. And he doesn't get a pass because its live radio -- he is a professional who has been doing this for years, PLUS you don't even need to be a radio professional to know that you don't call disabled kids "morons" and "putzs". It takes a dark heart to leave this man on the air and write spin for him. Frankly, the tortured logic you use to excuse Savage is convincing evidence that all you really care about is money. As a result, this network, all of Savage's stations, and all of his advertisers have lost all of my business. I will continue to encourage all of my family and friends to do the same.
Another Mark Masters syndicated shows is resurecting the myth that autism is caused by bad parennting!
Hate speech is not free speech. The cruel tone of the rhetoric is like a "call to action" for the angry masses to take the "disciplining" of autistic kids into their own hands. Bullies don't need a cheerleader, so he needs to take it back. Nine year old Gabriel Poirier of Montreal DIED of suffocation when his teachers tied him up in a heavy blanket to "discipline" him for his autistic behaviors. Others have been beaten bloody without any intervention because "it looked like (he) got what (he) deserved." That's what he did that was wrong, wrong, wrong. The Talk Radio Network knows it, too. May God forgive you.
Words which do not give the light of Christ increase the darkness. - Mother Teresa Michael Savage and the Talk Radio Network are woefully in the dark on the subject of autism.
Words which do not give the light of Christ increase the darkness. - Mother Teresa Michael Savage and the Talk Radio Network are sure in the dark about the subject of autism.
Savage is one of the worst ratings whores out there. I submit that the constant irresponsible comments like these by Savage are not inadvertent but cleverly calculated publicity stunts. If you listen to his program for a short while you find that he is openly obsessed with his relative ranking within the talk radio milieu. The conservative talk show audiences are especially susceptible to get spun into a frenzy by outrageous claims by Mein Fuhrer. He finds it easy to get noticed among his easily excitable and not terribly discerning fan base. He knows just which buttons to push. Do you know how pissed he'd be if no one payed attention? He would have to come up with something even more outrageous like proposing Arab genocide . . . oops to late he already proposed that. Well you get the idea. - He's not to be taken seriously. IGNORE HIM and let he and his group Goose-Step on by.
Don Imus lost his job and had to (rightly) grovel for forgiveness for offhandedly calling a team of young ladies something vile. Why does Michael Savage get a pass for something MORE calculated, more hateful, more typical of his radio broadcasts, that affects more individuals? Watch corporate radio protect the cash cow. He is such a whiner, "I was taken out of context!!!" Taking what other people say out of context and butchering them with it is his stock in trade. Not so fun when the tables are turned, or?
To begin with IMUS's was attempting to be humourous, Savage and the Masters are spreading disinformation about handicapped children. Secondly, Imuses <sic> targets, while undeserving of his tasteless comments, were intellegent college students with access to the media, Savage and the Masters are attacking children who can't speak and there suffering families. Lastly, and most importantly, Imus was EXTREAMLY repentant. Michael Savage and Mark Masters on the other hand learned the wrong lesson from the IMUS affair. They have dug in their holes deeper, told everone to their face that they didn't hear what they heard and have gone on a two week pouting and propoganda spree ever sinse. ANOTHER TALK RADIO NETWORK SHOW BLAMING PARENTS FOR AUTISM