Monday, July 21, 2008

AN OPEN LETTER TO ADVERTISERS ON “SAVAGE NATION”

To:
Radio Shack
Budweiser (Anheuser-Busch, Inc.)
Home Depot
AFLAC

It is my understanding that your company advertises, on either a national or local basis, on the radio show hosted by Michael Savage. As you have probably heard by now, Mr. Savage recently commented on the growing epidemic of autism in terms that go beyond ignorance and offensiveness. The transcript of his diatribe reveals that he maintains that “[i]n 99% of the cases, it’s a brat who hasn’t been told to cut the act out.” According to Mr. Savage, we can solve this worldwide health crisis by simply telling our children to quit acting like “morons,” “putzes,” or idiots.

As the father of a child who has been diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum, I can assure you that the problems my family and hundreds of thousand other families face are very real. Rhetoric like Mr. Savage’s makes our lives that much more difficult by spreading irresponsible notions about the challenges we face every day.

Mr. Savage’s recent explanation that he was merely trying “to boldly awaken parents and children to the medical community’s attempt to label too many children or adults as ‘autistic’ ” does nothing to remove the sting from his words. His explanation is nothing short of inane. Moreover, his stated intention to open his show up to those who disagree with him is a hollow gesture. As was reported in the New York Times, Mr. Savage prefers to stand by his remarks and has no intention of apologizing.

Indeed, an apology from Michael Savage would be empty, as it would undoubtedly result from pressure brought to bear by his sponsors or affiliate stations. I am not suggesting that you bring that kind of pressure. Instead, I am suggesting that you do the right thing and follow the example of Home Depot and AFLAC, both of whom have indicated they will pull all advertising from Michael Savage’s show.

I understand that some have indicated that they do not advertise on the show, but I also understand that Radio Shack, Budweiser, Home Depot, and AFLAC all carried ads on his show today, at least in some markets. Without doubt, pulling advertising may take more than one day. But be aware that you will be judged by more than promises. It is not enough to stop advertising on a national basis, and close your eyes to what goes on at individual affiliate stations. Ignoring the problem is exactly what leads to things like Savage’s contemptuous actions. To act in good faith in this matter, you should communicate to all of your advertising agencies that you will not tolerate advertising on that show.

Every consumer has a choice on where to buy hammers and nails, where to get electronic devices, or what beer to drink. Most of us like to feel good about the products and services we spend our money on, and feeling good about the providers of those products and services is a large part of that.

Too many consumers now know the reality of autism that Michael Savage would deny. (As some of us say, we are everywhere, and we’re not going away any time soon.) Many of us have been your customers; many of us have felt good about being your customers. We ask that you keep us in mind as you make your corporate decision on whether you really wan to have your name associated with that of Michael Savage.

Wade Rankin
http://injectingsense.blogspot.com

UPDATE: POSITIVE RESPONSE FROM RADIO SHACK

I received the following response from Radio Shack. Although it was also left in part as a comment, I thought it important to put it here as an update in its entirety. It is a thoughtful response, showing that Radio Shack wishes to be a good corporate citizen.

Thank you for your email to RadioShack’s Media Relations Department. We appreciate and share your concerns.

We would like to emphatically state RadioShack was not and is not a sponsor of the Michael Savage radio show. In fact, our agreement with the radio network airing his show specifically excludes his program (along with several others) as one on which our commercials may appear. The fact that one or more of our ads did run on the July 16 broadcast of this show was in direct violation of our advertising contract with the network. The network has admitted their mistake to us and apologized for the confusion they have created. Likewise, we are investigating whether any other radio stations who air the syndicated version of the program may have violated our advertising contracts and instructions. If so, we will demand a proper remedy.

Unfortunately, the network’s mistake was heard by many individuals such as you who have since spread the word that RadioShack sponsors this program. Likewise, Web sites that were quick to post our name as a sponsor without investigating the actual facts have been very slow to correct the record online. Until that happens, we would greatly appreciate your help in spreading the facts through your own personal network.

Once again, thank you for writing and allowing us the opportunity to set the record straight.

Sincerely,

Charles Hodges
Director Media Relations



UPDATE 2: HOME DEPOT

And here's a generic response from The Home Depot (not that Radio Shack's reply wasn't a form as well). The support by Bernie Marcus the release mentions is a lot of money given to Autism Speaks, a group that I'm not all that fond of. I have to observe that Mr. Marcus and Home Depot had a far more positive and forceful response to the Savage attack than did AS.
Thank you for contacting us in this matter. The Home Depot does not
currently advertise on The Michael Savage Show, nor do we have any kind of sponsorship in place with the program. We strive to ensure that the programs we support through advertising reflect our core values. Feedback from customers like you plays a large role in helping us to maintain these standards and I really appreciate you bringing this matter to our attention. Again, we do not advertise with this program and any suggestion of such support is false.

In fact, one of our company's founders, Bernie Marcus, is very active in the effort to build awareness and raise funding for autism research. We join him in this effort and have supported several of his campaigns. Learn more about his programs for autism at www.marcus.org.

The Home Depot



UPDATE 3: SHORT AND SWEET FROM THE BEER GUYS

Dear Wade,

Thank you for your recent e-mail to Anheuser-Busch.

Please understand that Anheuser-Busch is not a sponsor or supporter of the Michael Savage Show.

Again, Wade, thank you for taking the time to contact Anheuser-Busch and allowing us to explain our position.

Your Friends at Anheuser-Busch

6 Comments:

Blogger Jeff Deutsch said...

Hello Mr. Rankin,

Keep up the good work!

As you may already have heard, Home Depot has denied actually advertising on Savage's show.

As I've already posted, I suspect Mr. Savage may actually be a repressed Aspie* himself. =|8-}/2.

Cheers,

Jeff Deutsch

(*) An Aspie has Asperger Syndrome, considered a less severe form of autism.

7/22/08, 10:04 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

We would like to emphatically state RadioShack was not and is not a sponsor of the Michael Savage radio show.

In fact, our agreement with the radio stations airing his show specifically excludes his program (along with several others) as one on which our commercials may appear. Any ads that may have run on the July 16 broadcast of this show were in direct violation of our advertising contract with these radio stations. 

The stations have admitted their mistake to us and apologized for the confusion they have created. We will continue to investigate all local stations that air Michael Savage to ensure any unauthorized ads airing on Michael Savage are accounted for and that this does not happen again in the future

Charles Hodges
Director Media Relations
RadioShack Corporation

7/22/08, 2:40 PM  
Anonymous babs m said...

Bravo! Well said, sir! Good form!!

Let's hope it does some good.

7/22/08, 5:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very good letter. I hope you don't mind if I copy and paste to make my own version.

7/22/08, 7:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about Sears? I just canceled an order of a treadmill from them. If it's not true they don't advertise on his show then I'd rather not punish an innocent company.

7/22/08, 9:57 PM  
Anonymous lyn said...

I'd like the facts as to who Mr. Savage's advertisers are, as I believe the only way to stop tripe like his views on autism is to pull the financial plug the advertisers represent. Given that, we all need to appeal to them to do just that: cut off the funding source! If they fail to respond, the only other way is to stop buying those products or from those stores. Obviously, Mr. Savage failed his father's expectations. We should not do the same to the children who depend upon all of us to become functional adults in society. Calling them names isn't the solution.

7/23/08, 4:09 PM  

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