The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

23 July 2008

Left Uses Savage Autism Flap For Political Gain


Host's Controversy Demands Proper Perspective

While the left side of the Internet continues to use Michael Savage's latest on-air controversy for political gain, it's time for a reality check. Will conservatives allow themselves to be smeared based on a false association with the syndicated talk host?

First, in case you've just returned from Bora Bora or live under a rock, the Marin County- based talker has been under fire since last week after this comment about childhood autism: "In 99 percent of the cases, it's a brat who hasn't been told to cut the act out..."

That was quickly captured by the left-wing anti- talk radio crusaders over at Media Matters, who immediately utilized their mainstream media friends to spread the story across the country.

Within days, angry parents began to protest Savage's comments, placing pressure on affiliate stations and what may or may not be actual program advertisers:

The cancellation follows the decision on Monday by Aflac, the insurance company, to pull its advertising from the show. On his Web site,, the host posted a letter on Monday in which he iterated the central point he said he had been trying to make on his July 16 program: that autism is too often misdiagnosed in the cases of children, or falsely diagnosed, at least partly as a means of wringing resources. “Let the truly autistic be treated,” he wrote. “Let the falsely diagnosed be free.” On July 16, Mr. Savage, above, referred to autism as “a fraud, a racket,” and asserted that what “99 percent” of children with autism most needed was a parent willing to tell them things like, “Don’t act like a moron.”

But we've seen this scam before: Media Matters and other left-wing groups claim "victories" against Savage's "advertisers", when in fact these companies never sponsored his show on a national level.

It's a topic we've covered several times in the past, but the mainstream media (including the New York Times) never ceases to fall for the trick.

Before we go any further, let's get something straight: there's no way to defend Savage's comments. Though he's holding firm on his statements, both on-air and at his website, it may be making the situation worse.

Here, he's issued a full statement:

The Autism Controversy

My comments about autism were meant to boldly awaken parents and children to the medical community's attempt to label too many children or adults as "autistic."

Just as some drug companies have overdiagnosed "ADD" and "ADHD" to peddle dangerous speed-like drugs to children as young as 4 years of age, this cartel of doctors and drug companies is now creating a national panic by overdiagnosing "autism, for which there is no definitive medical diagnosis!

Many children are being victimized by being diagnosed with an "illness" which may not exist, in all cases. Just a few weeks ago doctors recommended dangerous anti-cholesterol drugs for children as young as 2 years of age! Without any scientific studies on the possible dangers of such drugs on children, corrupt doctors made this controversial, unscientific recommendation.

Increasingly, our children are being used as profit centers by a greedy, corrupt medical/pharmaceutical establishment. As the brother of a severely disabled person who suffered and died in a New York "snake-pit" of a "mental hospital," I know first-hand what true disability is.

To permit greedy doctors to include children in medical categories which may not be appropriate is a crime against that child and their family. Let the truly autistic be treated. Let the falsely diagnosed be free.

Michael Savage

Meanwhile, left-wing groups who likely couldn't give a rat's behind about autism are ecstatic about the prospect of picking off a "conservative" host. Their real agenda is only barely disguised. Our favorite example, via MSNBC: a reaction from "Hollywood" on the controversy.

With this background, let's make a few points clear right here and now:

Savage is not a conservative in any known sense of the word. In fact, he's almost always at odds with leaders on the right, including Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly and many others. He chastises all of them regularly on his program, using disparaging names.

Savage's views on medicine are based firmly on the alternative side, including holistic remedies often associated with the left, particularly in California. That belief system triggers these kinds of discussions on his program and led to the current controversy.

Talk radio is an entertainment medium and Savage is AM's version of a shock jock. In some ways, he's Howard Stern without the porn. Nobody tunes in expecting a soft and easy delivery. On any given show, he makes similar remarks which go unreported.

Liberals need to make up their minds once and for all as to whether talk radio is an effective and influential medium or not. On one hand, they want to downplay audience estimates, while on the other, they crank up the OUTRAGE machine over the supposed "damage" caused by a host who is out of line.

Make no mistake: Savage is wrong here, but those who are leading the charge against him have shady agendas and are not to be trusted.

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  • Brian, I agree with you most of the time, but I can't believe you would say Savage isn't a conservative. Maybe you should look at where he stands on the issues before dismissing him based on his disagreements with a bunch of phonies.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 23 July, 2008 17:59  

  • Excellent post, especially your reporting about Media Matters claiming advertisers drop a show they weren't advertising on at all, and your insights about the Savage show's content.

    Autism, sadly, is very political these days. Many people in the autism community are very intolerant of diversity of opinion on whether vaccines cause autism, so you can imagine that when someone says something critical of autism families, they really lose it. Their "tolerance" muscles are very weak from lack of use.

    The appeal for calm at is more my cup of tea, but most of the blogger I have visited on this are frothing at the mouth.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 23 July, 2008 18:36  

  • This is only being discussed because of a well funded email campaign against Savage. What he said was not wrong but probably an exaggeration. The issue isn't so much what he said--which needs no defending. The people you describe as 'conservatives' are more correctly described as 'Republicans.' That is what Savage is not-a Republican. He is most definitely a conservative. I understand he engages in criticism of the others which may be unpleasant for you, but doesn't make Savage anything less than he is--to many of us--a national treasure. I do thank you very much for pointing out that a referenced advertiser allegedly pulling out was a local one, not one directly with his program.

    By Blogger susan mullen, at 23 July, 2008 19:04  

  • If he's not one of us...

    There was a 60's saying, "If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem."

    The drive by media, tilting left, recognize that Savage is not "one of us". They erroneously conclude that Savage is "one of them", conservative.

    The two big genuinely conservative talkers, Rush and Sean, are both overall positive in their messages. Oh, they point out negatives in statements of liberal politicians, but it mostly is in joyful ridicule.

    Savage is overwhelmingly negative about almost everything, including Bush 43, McCain, and most Republicans. The drive-bys ignore that, just focusing on his attacks on progressives, which lowers even further the credibility of the MSM.

    By Blogger Chromium, at 23 July, 2008 19:57  

  • Unrelated, but since Brian would never mention it: New Rasmussen poll has Franken leading Norm Coleman.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 24 July, 2008 06:35  

  • Savage is the perfect example of the conservstive mindset. Pessimist, paranoid and hateful of common folks.

    This is nothing new. Conservatives have very litle faith in American people. In Savage's world children with asthma are all faking it to get welfare, kids with autism are faking it to get welfare. Nobody is really sick... everything is fine. Even thouse empirical data suggests in poor areas kids get astham at alarming rates. In Brooklyn, ny.. in poor areas, 4 ourt of 10 kids have asthma, accordibg to Savage it is only a "cough". Gasping for life is only a "cough" in this sick man's mind. I have asthma, I have experienced my life almost slip before my eyes.

    This is the conservative mindset. Attack the Middle Class, attack the poor.. This is done to tear the common folk apart. Turn those with a little more money against the dirt poor who turn to the government for help with their children. If the minority at at each other's throats, the elite can get awya with robbing and exploting the masses.

    Savage does a ghood job, a good stooge for the uber-rich.

    Sorry Brian, this is conservatism. Fear, loarting and paranoia. Savage has a job, to turn Americans against each other, so the ultra wealthy can rape the public. This is the purpose of conservaitsm and right wing radio.

    The conservative feels the elite can control everything, they know better, the CEO knows better than the commons, they provied jobs after all.... This is conservatism. The majority are a bunch of con artists looking to rob from the rich.

    Savage displays the EXACT conservative mindest. Everyone is out to get you, trust nobody except the rich. Savage is conservatism in a nutshell. and suckers fall for it everyday. Instead of qwuestioning BIG OIL, the conservative is more concerned with attacking "welfare moms". Disgusting, Anti-American and anti-people.

    Limbaugh and Hannity are GOP cheerleaders. To Savage's credit, he sometimes questions leadership. This does not mean he is not a conservative.

    The conservative mindset is a cancer on society. These voices exist to tear the 90% of us who earn a living via a paycheck apart

    By Anonymous CONSHATETHECOMMONS, at 24 July, 2008 11:27  

  • So Savage says something terrible, and Brian somehow turns the whole issue into an attack on the left. amazing.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 24 July, 2008 12:16  

  • Cheer up mop didn’t you get a raise today. Great job.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 24 July, 2008 19:26  

  • I don't know what poll the other anon has dug up, but Real Clear Politics has Coleman up by 15 points.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 25 July, 2008 00:17  

  • The other poll is from Rasmussen Reports.

    Real Clear Politics is an aggregate of all past polls, not an individual poll. The Rasmussen poll is the newest, and puts Franken up 3. Probably an outlier, but still...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 25 July, 2008 08:27  

  • The other poll is from Rasmussen Reports.

    Real Clear Politics is an aggregate of all past polls, not an individual poll. The Rasmussen poll is the newest, and puts Franken up 3. Had you actually looked inside the Real Clear data, you would have found it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 25 July, 2008 08:27  

  • What you fail to see Mr Maloney, is that this is not a right/left wing issue, this is about a person who insulted sick children and their parents. That is just dead wrong, and disgusting. I have an autistic nephew, with a stay at home mother and a father who is a doctor, they have 3 other healthy (thank God) children. It isn't 'bad parenting' or a 'scam' it is a terrible disease that is difficult for the whole family. He can say what he wants, it is a free country, and if he wants to rail against the doctors, big pharm companies, by all means. But anyone with a heart and a sense of decency would leave sick kids and their struggling families out of it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 25 July, 2008 13:20  

  • One day it's all the fault of the greedy poor with their palms out begging for table scraps, the next it's all the fault of greedy doctors and pharmaceutical companies and poor people are the victims. I am truly afraid for the future of America when a guy like this has such huge listenership. I hope he understands that he's just a punchline to most intelligent, independent-minded Americans.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 25 July, 2008 19:07  

  • conshatethecommons, Don't speak for all of us who earn a paycheck. I appreciate that Savage on occasion makes comments about welfare moms.

    I have known several women who told me I was too nice or too wimpy and then went on to have illegitimate children with various bad boys. These women
    all ended up on welfare, food stamps etc.

    I can not begin to express how much I want welfare and food stamps to be cut off for single moms. Welfare is the #1 reason there has been so much moral decay in this country. I would love to hear a radio show who's main theme is anti-welfare state with a focus on the individuals who are rewarded for their awful behavior at tax payer expense.

    I believe this type of talk show would be quite popular. It wouldn't be the "rich" who would be the biggest fans, it would be those of us you incorrectly speak for, the working class. Too bad you liberals would never allow such a radio program on the air. You pride yourself as defenders of freedom of speech, but it's only when the speech fits your agenda.

    By Anonymous Anti-Welfare, at 27 July, 2008 02:16  

  • Once again, the paranoid right has somehow managed to deflect accountability into an attack on "liberals" and tried to make the consequences of the totally hateful and ignorant statements of Savage into their fault. Savage has only himself to blame for his problems. It's not the first time the hate spewing from his mouth has gotten him into trouble. I hope this finally marks the end of him. He has nothing of any value to add to the discussion of the real issues facing this country except a perverted, usually racist, hate-filled ego-driven diatribe meant to appeal to the dumbest, most backwards thinking, brain-dead portion of society.
    And by the way - not everyone who disagrees with the neocons that dominant talk radio are "liberals." They are just as bad as the neocons. Most of us are middle class moderates who are tired of both extremes in the political spectrum.
    I wonder what ever happened to intelligent talk radio - forums where both sides could engage in meaningful conversation and exchange ideas without accusing the other of being anti-American.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 31 July, 2008 00:50  

  • Wow "anti-welfare"--you are a real screwball!! You must be a complete and utter loser if women would rather have illegitimate children and go on welfare than go out with you!!

    But by all means, keep whining--I'm sure that will do you a lot of good........

    By the way Brian, good post--I agree with you.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 31 July, 2008 10:53  

  • Jenny McCarthy's response to Savage's remarks:

    Jenny, alongside the many others who have had their lives impacted by autism, was appalled by the statement. What would she like to happen? “I think a great way for an apology is to be sat down and educated about it,” Jenny said. “I’d love to just quietly [sit down with him and] educate him on the facts. It was clear he doesn’t know anything about autism”


    By Blogger Brandon, at 20 October, 2008 13:23  

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