It wasn’t the first time … Savage Has History of Belittling Children with Autism

Host Dropped from Additional Radio Station
Media Matters
Jul 24, 2008

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Washington, DC - Media Matters for America today highlighted previous comments by nationally syndicated conservative talk radio host Michael Savage that show his controversial comments on autism last week were not his first. In a rebroadcast of The Savage Nation that aired on July 9, Savage acknowledged having previously called autism "a phony disease." The rebroadcast discredits not only Savage's claim that he had been "take[n] out of context" when he characterized autism as "[a] fraud, a racket" on July 16, but also his assertion that he was drawing a distinction between the "truly autistic" and those who have been misdiagnosed.

"This clearly exposes Michael Savage's hollow claim of having been misquoted for what it is -- a feeble attempt to shift blame," said J. Jioni Palmer, spokesman for Media Matters. "His pattern of disrespect and contempt for children with autism and their families is unmistakable. The respectable thing would be for Savage to fess up and apologize."

On the July 16 broadcast of his program, Savage said about autism: "In 99 percent of the cases, it's a brat who hasn't been told to cut the act out." In response to the extensive criticism Savage received, on his July 21 show, he recast those comments, claiming that he was "take[n] out of context," and falsely suggesting that in his July 16 comments he distinguished between "the truly autistic" and those he described on July 21 as "the misdiagnosed, the falsely diagnosed, and the outright fakers in the autism field." The comments he made that were rebroadcast on July 9 -- acknowledging that he called autism a "phony disease" -- further discredit his claim to distinguish between the "truly autistic" and those who have been misdiagnosed.

Earlier this week, it was reported that the insurance company AFLAC announced it will no longer sponsor Savage's program, while the seven-station SuperTalk Mississippi radio network announced it had dropped the program from its lineup. On the heels of those major developments, it was reported yesterday that WINA in Charlottesville, Virginia, also decided to drop Savage's program and today that DirectBuy will no longer sponsor Savage's radio show when its contact expires tomorrow.

Outraged by Savage's comments, today Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA), co-chairman of the bipartisan Congressional Autism Caucus, said on the House floor, "If Mr. Savage wants to find someone looking like a moron he should simply look in the mirror."

Talk Radio Network, which syndicates The Savage Nation, claims that Savage is heard on more than 350 radio stations. The Savage Nation reaches at least 8.25 million listeners each week, according to Talkers Magazine, making it one of the most listened-to talk radio shows in the nation, behind only The Rush Limbaugh Show and The Sean Hannity Show.

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