Masters stands behind Savage


There have been numerous calls in recent days for Michael Savage to be fired or suspended for his commentary concerning autism during the 7/16 broadcast of the show. Promptly after TRN CEO Mark Masters learned of the comments, he contacted Savage, who explained the circumstances and intent of his statements, said they were not directed at those who are in fact challenged by autism, but to note that there have been efforts by professionals and professional organizations to expand diagnoses of autism more broadly, for various reasons, and his concern that this victimizes and stigmatizes children who are misdiagnosed as autistic. 

Said Masters in a statement issued yesterday: “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 20’s.

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.”

In this context, for multiple reasons, TRN does not believe that it is appropriate to take adversarial action to suspend or terminate Savage for not phrasing his comments in this instance more carefully.
The Network also believes, as a policy matter, that it is not appropriate to censor the opinions of its hosts on legitimate issues.  However, TRN will begin broadcasting PSAs with respect to legitimate autism issues, subject to spot availability, without charge, and will be encouraging other networks to do the same. 

TRN also made available audio clips from the show, posted on :

1. Savage says the real cases of autism need our sympathy and support. Listen


2. Savage says his brother was severely disabled and that misdiagnosis hurts the child. Listen


3. Savage says that the genuinely autistic need as much love and attention as we can give them. Listen


4. Savage talks about his disabled brother who died in a hospital. Listen


5. Savage speaks with Wendy Fournier, President of the National Autism Association. Listen


6. Savage interviews psychiatrist Dr. Peter Breggin. Dr. Breggin says that though there are real cases of autism, those involved in the broadening of its diagnosis are in the pay of pharmaceutical companies. Breggin says Savage is correct that autism is over diagnosed. Listen


7. Savage speaks with Dr. Stephen Camarata of Vanderbilt University who has worked extensively with autistic children. He says that the definition of autism has been expanded too far. Listen


8. Caller Kyle is a school psychologist who works with autistic kids and agrees with Savage on the over diagnosis of autism and how it only hurts the kids who truly have the condition. Listen


9. Caller Susan says her child was labeled autistic by school officials and that she was pressured to sign off on the diagnosis. Listen


10. Caller Tikvah is a therapist in New York City who works with children who says that kids are frequently labeled with autism even though they have other conditions because the agencies are provided with more funds for that diagnosis. Listen


11. Savage says his comments about autism were directed at those who are falsely diagnosed and that he knows what it’s like to have a child suffer in front of his eyes. Listen


12. Savage reads from his book Healing Children Naturally where he cautions against the drugging of children. Listen


13. Savage mentions that UK doctors do not screen for autism because screening tools have not been fully validated. Listen


14. Savage says real autism is devastating, but that it’s difficult to diagnose, such that the do not screen for it in the UK. Savage says that over diagnosis occurs because of the "autistic spectrum" and this is insulting to the truly ill. Listen


15. Caller Victoria has an autistic child and says it is too easy to get a child diagnosed as autistic. Savage says resources for autism must be reserved for children like hers. Listen


16. Savage says he has devoted his life to helping children and gives the context for his remarks. Listen


17. Savage criticizes doctors for recommending cholesterol drugs on children as young as two. Listen


18. Savage says that though people are making money from false diagnosis, real cases of autism deserve our sympathy and out support. Listen


19. Savage says many experts say that many children are falsely diagnosed. Listen


20. Savage says that real autism is tragic, and that a false diagnosis is a crime against the child. Listen