TRN Responds To Savage Critics
July 24, 2008 at 11:56 AM (PT)
TALK RADIO NETWORK has responded to the furor over MICHAEL SAVAGE's comments on autism with a statement that indicates SAVAGE will not be suspended or terminated for what the network calls his "inartfully phrased" remarks that did not indicate the context in which they were intended.
The network says that the comments were not intended to be directed at autistic children and "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."
The statement says that "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."
CEO MARK MASTERS said, "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 20s.
"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."
The network statement noted 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."
In addition, the network also points out that the controversy was generated by MEDIA MATTERS FOR AMERICA, the liberal media advocacy group that has previously targeted SAVAGE. "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," reads the statement, "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."
TRN is offering organizations involved with autism PSA opportunities, asking such groups to submit material to email@example.com or P.O. Box 3755, CENTRAL POINT, OR 97502.