Savage, Protestors Spar Over Autism Comments
July 21, 2008 at 2:29 PM (PT)
TALK RADIO NETWORK's MICHAEL SAVAGE has landed in hot water again with liberal watchdog group MEDIA MATTERS FOR AMERICA, with the organization condemning SAVAGE for his remarks about autism on JULY 16th.
SAVAGE is quoted by MEDIA MATTERS as saying that autism is being used by parents to excuse bad behavior as "the illness du jour." "I'll tell you what autism is," he said. "In 99% of the cases, it's a brat who hasn't been told to cut the act out. That's what autism is. What do you mean they scream and they're silent? They don't have a father around to tell them, 'Don't act like a moron. You'll get nowhere in life. Stop acting like a putz. Straighten up. Act like a man. Don't sit there crying and screaming, idiot.'"
AUTISM UNITED and the NATIONAL AUTISM GROUP are organizing a protest outside the studios of SAVAGE's NEW YORK affiliate, BUCKLEY Talk WOR-A/NEW YORK, on MONDAY. In addition, the President of the advocacy group ADA WATCH and NATIONAL COALITION FOR DISABILITY RIGHTS, JIM WARD, called on TRN to fire SAVAGE, saying, "As America prepares to celebrate the 18th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on JULY 26th, people with disabilities, parents, family members, friends and advocates across the nation are outraged over SAVAGE's latest attack on people with disabilities. His despicable assault on children with autism -- calling them 'frauds' and 'brats' -- is rightly being condemned as hateful and bigoted. But it is just the latest of SAVAGE's numerous and painful attempts to demean and disenfranchise people with disabilities."
MONDAY afternoon, SAVAGE issued a statement in response to the protests, saying, "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."