Tuesday, July 29, 2008


There are certain people I've gotten tired of hearing from in this ongoing autism debate. They're the people who are more interested in being heard and believed than they are in getting it right. Paul Offit is one of the people I'm tired of, despite all the great material he's given me through the years. Roy Grinker is another one of them.

Grinker is an anthropologist, who wrote Unstrange Minds, which was an instant hit with those who would deny the existence of the epidemic before their eyes. As Dan Olmsted recently wrote over at Age of Autism, though, Grinker made a surprising number of errors in his book. To be sure, not al of the errors can be considered critical to his basic thesis (that there is no epidemic). But the obviousness of the errors provides ample cause to question his attention to detail and his skills (or lack thereof) as a researcher.

One has to wonder if he's been this sloppy with any scholarly writings in the real field of his expertise.

Read Dan's report here.

Monday, July 28, 2008


On occasion, we need to look beyond and envision a different world. Are you still deciding which candidate in the upcoming election gets your vote?

Submitted for your approval . . .

(With thanks to Van, the campaign manager.)

Saturday, July 26, 2008


Ginger has posted the recent CBS story about the economic ties between the vaccine industry and three of their biggest fans: the AAP, Every Child by Two, and our old pal, Dr. Paul Offit. It's not earth-shaking news to those of us who follow this issue with special interest, but it's good to see a major news outlet spreading the word to the general public. Kudos to CBS and Sharyl Attkisson.

Check it our here.


It is Michael Savage's right to say what he wants. It is equally our right to make sure Mr. Savage's benefactors know how we feel about his exercise of free speech. It seems that a whole lot of advertisers are listening to us.

Special thanks are due to John Gilmore and Autism United for leading the charge.

Monday, July 21, 2008


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

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


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.


Charles Hodges
Director Media Relations


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


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

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Until recently I was blissfully unaware that there was an infestation of the airwaves known as Michael Savage. Apparently his radio show is widely syndicated, and he recently addressed the autism epidemic:
SAVAGE: Now, you want me to tell you my opinion on autism, since I’m not talking about autism? A fraud, a racket. For a long while, we were hearing that every minority child had asthma. Why did they sudden ⎯ why was there an asthma epidemic amongst minority children? Because I’ll tell you why: The children got extra welfare if they were disabled, and they got extra help in school. It was a money racket. Everyone went in and was told [fake cough], “When the nurse looks at you, you go [fake cough], ‘I don’t know, the dust got me.’ ” See, everyone had asthma from the minority community. That was number one.
Now, the illness du jour is autism. You know what autism is? I’ll tell you what autism is. In 99 percent of the cases, it's a brat who hasn't been told to cut the act out. That’s what autism is.
What do you mean they scream and they’re silent? They don't have a father around to tell them, “Don’t act like a moron. You'll get nowhere in life. Stop acting like a putz. Straighten up. Act like a man. Don’t sit there crying and screaming, idiot.”
Autism ⎯ everybody has an illness. If I behaved like a fool, my father called me a fool. And he said to me, “Don’t behave like a fool.” The worst thing he said ⎯ “Don't behave like a fool. Don’t be anybody’s dummy. Don’t sound like an idiot. Don’t act like a girl. Don’t cry.” That’s what I was raised with. That's what you should raise your children with. Stop with the sensitivity training. You’re turning your son into a girl, and you’re turning your nation into a nation of losers and beaten men. That’s why we have the politicians we have.

Mr. Savage apparently didn’t take his father’s advice. He’s behaving like a fool. Mr. Savage is an idiot. No, that gives idiots everywhere a bad name. There really is not a good adjective to describe him. Does he really think that families all over the world are going through this for all the perks that come with having an autistic child? Does he really think that the stimming, the sensory problems, the communication problems, the gut issues, and the rest of the laundry list of symptoms you can add in here are voluntary?

Mr. Savage, stop acting like a putz!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to find out if one of my local radio stations carries this A-Hole’s show. If so, I’ve got to make sure the buttons in my car radio don’t include that station.


NAA has asked for an apology and retraction from Savage, as well as time on his show to educate this buffoon.  It's a nice thought, but I won't hold my breath.

The response to this post has been overwhelming, albeit not surprising. Thanks to all. For my open letter to Savage's advertisers, see the next post.

Thursday, July 03, 2008


The Rankins are on vacation, but I've been trying to keep up with my favorite blogs while we're gone. My pal, Ginger, posted what amounts to an open letter to Julie Gerberding, and she's snarky and annoyed. I'm right there with 'ya G.