A few days ago, Talk Radio Netwotk, the company that syndicates Michael Savage, released a statment regarding Savages recet statements on autism.
This is that statement (with comment):
STATEMENT BY TALK RADIO NETWORKON MICHAEL SAVAGE'S AUTISM COMMENTS
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.
Already a company that owns 7 talk stations in Mississippi, and Salem's WHK in Cincinatti have already cut the Weiner. As well as Sears, Aflac, Home Depot, Radio Shack and DirectBuy....among others
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.
"One more of that, DOCTOR Savage, and you will be fired!!!"
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.
"....and we'll be listineg to every vowel!"
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).
Cue "Tea For Two" and that tap-dancing sound effect, will ya, Bill.....
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
Ah, but that 84 seconds of audio WAS in context, sir. the man did say NINETY-NINE PERCENT! Don Imus, after his debacle, was contrite and sincerly sorry about what happned, and eventually took his medicine like a man. In the meantime, the Savage WHINER lived up to his name.
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.
That's fine, TRN, but where is DOCTOR Savage's apology, we're still waiting.....
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
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
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."
Then why didn't Savage say this the day after to his listeners??
In this context, for multiple reasons,
Tranaslation: we don't have a replacement.......yet.
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.
We understand that. TRN has nothing to apologize for, Savage does. Where is Savage's apology??????
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.
Trust me, I can think of a few TRUTHS you would fire someone for. People have been deleted off the web and air for said truths....
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
ahhhhhhh.....sorry TRN, that already happned (see Salem Broadcasting and Clear Channel)
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.
At this point I need to point out that very few people listen to talk radio to listen. Most are monitoring to catch some host....liberal or conservative....in some compromising position. David Brock used to do the same thing to liberals as he is doing now to conservatives. We are in a constant state of playing "gotcha" with radio people. I do it, all bloggers do it. And it seems as long as the other side does it, we have to do it to keep things balanced.
The problem is that, until last week, nobody gave a flying F about it (the ratings bear out that most people do not listen to talk radio anyway, let alone watch the news or read a newspaper. What Savage did was the inexcusable...bringing in the civilian into it. Most of those people probably have not heard talk radio in years and did not know who or what Savage was. And now they want his hide, not realized....the same as Black Amewrica did not with Imus....that the vast majority did not and do not listen or care.
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.
Then it if WAS out of context TRN, realease the ENTIRE conversation so people can see what the context was. If there was context.
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
Interesting statements coming from a company that not only employs Savage, but Laura Ingraham, Rusty HUMPhries, Mancow, Tammy Bruce and others who, in essence, do the same thing day after day on your network.
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 PSA@TALKRADIONETWORK.com, 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
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 http://www.savageonautism.com/ to view
a representative sampling of Dr. Savage's views, as well as the applicable
issues, in true context.
And there is a lot of audio on that site. And if you can point on this one thing on all that audio, I will back off.
That would be Michael Savage saying the words, "I'm sorry." And meaning them.