Archive for July 24th, 2008

Defending The Indefensible Defender Of The Defenseless

Oy.  First Michael Savage/Weiner calls autistic kids brats, then he tells Larry King Glenn Beck that he’s “a man who has spent his entire life defending the defenseless, mainly children,” and now Talk Radio Network gives us this:

Promptly after the Network’s management learned of the comments in issue, the Network commenced an investigation into the particulars and the circumstances of those comments. This investigation began with the Network’s CEO, Mark Masters, personally contacting Dr. Savage to address the concerns and obtain an explanation of the comments directly from Dr. Savage.

In that conversation, and other subsequent conversations between Mr. Masters and Dr. Savage, Dr. Savage explained the circumstances and intent of his statements in considerable detail. The Network also carefully monitored subsequent broadcasts of the Show, on Monday, July 21st and Tuesday, July 22nd, which were devoted to the subject of autism and further explanations by Dr. Savage of his views on the subject.

Dr. Savage has clarified that his July 16th statements concerning autism were not directed at those who are in fact challenged by this horrible affliction, but were instead addressing efforts to broaden the concept of autism beyond those who truly are autistic to a broader “autistic spectrum” of behavioral symptoms which are also manifested by persons who do not suffer from autism, and his concern that many children are being misdiagnosed as autistic due to the subjective nature of autism diagnosis (due to the lack of known biomedical indicators, such as blood tests, to definitively confirm or deny the actual existence of autism). Dr. Savage has also explained his belief that there have been efforts by certain 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. On multiple other occasions Dr. Savage has expressed his concerns that other conditions, such as ADD and ADHD, are overdiagnosed and result in improper medication of young children, which Dr. Savage regards as abusive.

In the context of his broader concerns, it is clear that Dr. Savage’s comments were intended to suggest his opinion that, in the vast majority of cases, most children throwing tantrums, or refusing to communicate, are not autistic. Unfortunately, by condensing his multifaceted concerns into 84 seconds of commentary, the necessary context for his remarks was not apparent, and the few words he used to express his concerns were, in this instance, inartfully phrased.

As a result, Dr. Savage’s comments did facially appear to be directed at children who suffer from autism, and clearly could be perceived as such. This has, in turn, caused understandable pain and distress to those who have a child or family member who is challenged by autism. This was not Dr. Savage’s intent, and, on behalf of the Network and all persons associated with the Network, we wish to note that our hearts go out to all families who are forced to face the realities of autism every day of their lives, and to sincerely apologize to these families for any increase in these burdens resulting from inartful commentary appearing in the Network’s programming.

While the phrasing of Dr. Savage’s remarks was inartful, after the aforementioned investigation, as well as personal knowledge of Dr. Savage’s strongly held views towards children and those dealing with special challenges, the Network is satisfied that he did not mean any disrespect to autistic children or their families but was instead reiterating his longstanding concerns on public health issues.

If you read the whole thing, you will see the words “Dr. Savage” 21 times – including twice in the same sentence four times (bolded) – and “84 seconds” six times.  In other words, Michael Savage/Weiner is a Very Learned Medical Man Who Knows A Lot About Autism by virtue of his PhD (not MD) in Epidemiology and Nutritional Science, and his comments where he said that “In 99 percent of the cases [of autism], it’s a brat who hasn’t been told to cut the act out” were taken out of the context of his tremendously compassionate body of work.  Oh, and he’s a Doctor.  Of, uh, some sort.

It’s just so unfair that so many people would jump to the conclusion that Doc Savage actually meant that 99% of autistic kids were really just brats with lousy parents, based on 84 seconds of Doc Savage saying it over and over again.  That poor man.

Hey, did you know that 99% of conservative talk radio hosts are bigoted psychopaths whose management never told them to cut the act out?

July 24th, 2008 at 10:07pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Media,Republicans,Wankers

Those Poor, Poor Conservatives…

How will they ever get their message out?

The right is engaged in the business of opining while the left features sites that offer a more reportorial model.

At first glance, these divergent approaches might not seem consequential. But as the 2008 campaign progresses, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the absence of any websites on the right devoted to reporting — as opposed to just commenting on the news — is proving politically costly to Republicans.

While conservatives are devoting much of their Internet energy to analysis, their counterparts on the left are taking advantage of the rise of new media to create new institutions devoted to unearthing stories, putting new information into circulation and generally crowding the space traditionally taken by traditional media. And it almost always comes at the expense of GOP politicians.


But the left isn’t simply promoting its own version of the news — it’s also breaking it.

Deploying writers with backgrounds grounded in journalism rather than politics, The Huffington Post and Talking Points Memo, in particular, have already become a persistent problem for McCain’s campaign, regularly posting negative opposition research and embarrassing videos in addition to advancing damaging story lines against the GOP nominee.

There is simply no equivalent on the right to these two liberal-leaning websites.


In some cases, the stories incrementally move the anti-McCain message forward (by flagging an off-message Iraq statement by a McCain surrogate, for example). In others, the reporting scores broadside hits that inflict notable damage (such as posting controversial audio of the Rev. John Hagee that would prompt McCain to finally renounce the pastor).

Add in the increasingly aggressive online efforts of liberal think tanks such as the Center for American Progress, and it leaves the right at a severe disadvantage in the high-stakes business of distributing information about favored candidates and the opposition.


“It’s fair to say that the mainstream media…was increasingly either neutral or effectively browbeaten by the right,” says Josh Marshall, the founder and editor of Talking Points Memo.

The powerful presence of Limbaugh on the radio airwaves and the ascendance of Fox News on cable television energized liberals, Marshall says.

“People on the center-left, especially in the lead-up to the Iraq war and after the 2000 recount, realized that there was nothing on that side of equation,” he adds.

The result was the emergence of TPM and HuffPo, along with the opinion- and organizing-centered Daily Kos.

“Republicans haven’t developed a lot of that infrastructure because they haven’t been forced to,” says Michael Turk, a former ecampaign director at the RNC.

That’s the key right there.  Online conservatives don’t need to do right-oriented reporting because they have Fox News and the rest of the corporate media to do it for them.  Online progressives have to do their own reporting because that’s the only way those stories will ever get told.

July 24th, 2008 at 09:02pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Blogosphere,Democrats,Media,Politics,Republicans

Castro Still The Boogeyman

He’s not even in charge anymore…

The McCain campaign has a new web ad out placing Barack Obama, for the second time, side-by-side with a foreign dictator. This time, it’s Fidel Castro.

A Democrat in south Florida alerted the Huffington Post to the image, which shows Obama and Castro, profiled side-by-side, above a quote from the Cuban leader praising the Illinois Democrat as “the most advanced candidate.”

….Early in June, McCain’s campaign launched a web ad placing Obama beside Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad underneath the caption: “Is it OK to unconditionally meet with anti-American foreign leaders?”

Unlike that spot, the Castro advertisement actually uses the foreign leader’s words against Obama. But the quote is misleading in regards to the actual political dynamics in play. For starters, since Obama became the de facto nominee, Castro has been critical of his candidacy, arguing that he has not called for serious alterations to U.S.-Cuban relations and would willingly allow the island nation to suffer from hunger. Obama, meanwhile, has criticized Castro as a repeated abuser of human rights and a tyrant whose time has passed.


For now, it seems the McCain camp is using its Castro ad on sites catering to South Florida – obviously a politically important geographic region. An email to McCain staffers went unanswered, but if readers have any more information, please send us tips.

I guess Castro still gets ’em worked up in Florida.  It’s such a stilted and strangely phrased compliment, though – what does “the most advanced candidate” even mean?

July 24th, 2008 at 11:18am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Elections,McCain,Obama,Politics

…And Don’t You Forget It.

I’m sensitive like Iggy.

Why doesn’t anyone believe me?

Men are stereotyped as immature, insensitive and noncommittal, but deep down inside most guys are blubbering romantics dreaming of finding a soul mate, an online survey reveals.

The “Great Male Survey” shatters the myth some women have of the knuckle-dragging opposite sex, said James Bassil, the Web site’s editor-in-chief.

“These survey results will be pleasantly surprising to many women, most of whom have a completely different perspective of what the average man thinks and feels,” Bassil said.

More than 70,000 men took the 150-question survey probing the psyche of the modern male. Among the he-man debunking results are:

– More than 75% believe they have a soul mate.

– At least 64% make an effort to be romantic regularly.

– Up to 77% look for girlfriends with “wife potential.”

– A whopping 94% say “real men” cry, and 75% admit to shedding tears over a woman.

– And 92% say they wouldn’t mind being in a relationship with a woman who earned more money.

So there!  Now can we get a little more respect, please?  That insensitive caveman stuff really hurts my feelings.

July 24th, 2008 at 07:09am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Polls

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