Sunday, July 27, 2008

Ads pulled from "The Savage Nation;" comments continue to be refuted

The New York Daily News reports on the continuing fallout from Michael Savage's outrageous comments that children with autism are "brats," who just need tough parenting:

Six more major companies have yanked ads from Michael Savage's talk-radio show after he branded autistic children "brats."

Home Depot, Sears and Budweiser all withdrew their support from the fiery hatemonger's program, along with Direct Buy, Cisco and Radio Shack, according to Autism United.

Insurance giant Aflac was the first company to pull its commercials off the nationally syndicated show, which has more than 8 million listeners.

"We are going after each and every advertiser that hasn't dropped him yet," said Evelyn Ain, president of Autism United, who joined angry parents in a protest on Wall Street Friday.

And U.S. New & World Report says that his comments are in conflict with what scientists know about the condition of autism: "Most researchers believe there is no one simple cause but that a complex interplay of genetic and environmental factors come together to cause the disease in most cases. Studies of identical twins have shown a clear genetic component, but there's also plenty of strong evidence that prenatal exposure to certain chemicals or infectious agents—such as thalidomide or the rubella virus—causes some cases of autism, too."

And parents of children with autism say Michael Savage's horrible comments have turned into a way to get a more accurate message about autism out to the public. Parents will gather to protest at at radio station KNEW-AM (910), the station in San Francisco where Savage tapes his show.

In the San Jose Mercury News, Joanna Jaeger, board president at San Jose-based Parents Helping Parents, which is a non-profit support group helps families of kids with special needs, says: "Rather than just bring attention to Savage and his idiocy, we want to use this as an opportunity to inform people and raise their consciousness about autism."

The Mercury News explains:

But while theories on autism's causes abound, experts dismiss Savage's suggestion that stronger parenting could straighten out many autistic kids. And they blast him for describing autism as some "diagnosis du jour," a passing pop-medical trend without scientific weight.

"In order to be classified as autistic, you have to meet strict criteria," said Evelyn Ain, president of Autism United, which is organizing Sunday's "Nationwide Autism Protest" in San Francisco. "There are rigorous tests you have to undergo; the diagnosis of autism is not done lightly."