Sometimes the best way to deal with a bully is to ignore them. This is not one of those times. Clearly the need for autism awareness is as important as ever.
While I have a tendency toward hyperbole, I doubt I’m overstating things when I express my opinion that the properly-named, rant-show host Michael Savage is an idiot of epic proportions. (If you need to catch up on how Michael Savage has added autism to his long list of prejudices, you can go to here, here, and here.)
It seems to be his goal to constantly up the ante in nutjob-dom, I guess when people’s attention to his on-air tantrums wanes – that or whenever Ann Coulter gets too popular and his book sales go down. Perhaps he’s trying to establish a new international standard for a unit of measurement for base prickery. I don’t know, nor do I care.
I see no need to elaborate on why this guy is a complete dillweed. If that’s not abundantly clear to someone at this point, that person is too far gone for me to say anything to help that.
What I do want to do here is invite you to contact his sponsors and share your opinions about this. If you are a customer of any of them, be sure to note this in your e-mail or letter. Better yet, send them a picture of your child if you’re comfortable with that. Let them see the faces of autism and how wonderful they are.
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) has a list up of his sponsors. Also, if you scroll down a ways in this blog post, you’ll see another list someone compiled based on what aired during a particular episode.
These lists differ a lot, so keep an eye on that. Because campaigns like this tend to be fluid, try to verify the sponsorship status of the company you are contacting before you hit Send. ASAN may be one of your best bets for keeping up with this.
I’ve worked enough in marketing issues to know that sometimes companies’ ads air during a show because they bought a bulk lot of ad space with a media outlet, which could cover a lot of networks and a range of possible time slots, and they aren’t always aware that it aired during a particular show. Not to mention, marketing departments within larger companies may be the ones making the buys for particular slots and markets and the higher-ups don’t always know it.
Consider this a teachable moment for them. Saying that 1) you’ve become aware that they’re advertising on Savage’s show, 2) as a customer, you are very concerned, and 3) you want to give them the opportunity to renounce this and pull their advertising, gives them the benefit of the doubt, assuming they still merit it. These tend to work better than going straight to flaming, at least in my experience. If they don’t pull out and you pull your business from them, give them concrete evidence of it (like proof of how much you used to spend there).
Also, some sponsors have pulled out already, so be sure to thank them. It’s good to switch to thank you notes as soon as they do the right thing.
Media Matters also has a way to contact stations that carry his show. The network carrying his show – Talk Radio Network – has been given ample opportunity to do the right thing, and they have not. They think by offering token slots for PSAs they can sweep this whole thing under the rug. He did nothing to ‘clarify’ his comments except equivocate, go through the motions, and then go back to being the same jerk about it. Tell them what you think about that (firstname.lastname@example.org).
To Michael Savage, I have a few comments:
1. I do congratulate you on one thing. You’ve managed to unify every facet of all the communities affected by and doing work related to autism, which is nigh on impossible these days.
2. Just because your father called you a fool and a variety of other names, don’t project your issues on to the rest of us. If you have parent issues, get help or just keep them to yourself. Certainly don’t blame us for it. You talk so much about personal responsibility; go practice what you screech.
3. Go sit in timeout, like for forever.
4. If you want to call my autistic son a ‘brat’, I dare you to come to my house and say it to my face. I’ll leave the light on for you.