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Stagliano on Savage: WTF?

Dude_wtfBy Kim Stagliano

I wrote a piece for Huffington Post today (HERE) about the Michael Savage story - as told by ABC News, which did a fine job of laying out the controversy. TACA's Rebecca Estepp is quoted in the story, as am I. I even got the last word, where I scolded Autism Speaks for their namby pamby response to Savage's diatribe against people with autism.

The comment trail on the ABC article was nauseating and that was my focus for the HuffPo piece. Thank you to ABC's Dan Childs and Lara Salahi for the story.  Here's a taste:

Autism ain't for wimps. Whether you're a pre-verbal toddler or a high functioning forty year old, autism has challenges most folks can not fathom. How about a little compassion? The autism parents I know work tirelessly to teach their children how to navigate the world appropriately. We don't have just to instill right from wrong in our kids, we have to break down the steps of almost everything they do, from morning until night. We teach in our sleep, for crying out loud.

My Lord, are there really so many people angry at our unruly, poorly raised, undisciplined children? The comment trail on the ABC article was disheartening.

Please leave a comment over at HuffPo (HERE) won't you? Thanks.

Kim Stagliano is Managing Editor of Age of Autism.


Craig Willoughby

I don't know, what 2 idiots sound like (interesting name). The one that really pissed me off was the following:


"The sponsors couldn't care less about your "outraged" e mails. He has high ratings with the demographics that they want to advertise to. A few parents with putrid gene pools are not going to affect them at all."

Putrid gene pools? I wonder which one this idiot came from. It needs to be chlorinated, methinks.

what 2 idiots sound like

Idiot 1:

I would like to thank everyone for bringing up this mike savage. I am now a loyal listener!

Idiot 2:

Yeah, he is still on the air going strong. It look like the merry band of retards won't get their wish.


Stagmom for David E

Hi, David. You bring up a good point. Many of have discussed the irony that a radio guy who shares our concern about the overuse of Rx drugs in kids would go after kids so viciously. Savage should be amenable to many of our messages - and perhaps he is? However, the area he went after, the kids themselves, was a wrong turn. If you've read anything here, you'll know we're concerned about the studies for Prozac for kids, statin drugs for kids and the general pill nation we've become.

Thanks for commenting.

Kim S.


With comments like these
"This man Savage is a coward and a baboon."
Coupled with the Bush slamming I am 100% certain none of you listen to Savage or his show the days after his original comments.

Listen to what he actually said, not what was reported (filtered).

One on the main points, drugs are killing our kids, in this case they are legal.

Kelli Ann Davis

Well, at least I only had you “ busting your gut” whereas these two stories – Exhibit One and Two in the Why-Kim-Makes-Me-Laugh Department – had me totally rolling that I was about to do a lot more than *bust my gut*!!


"I Bought The World's Ugliest Bathing Suit and will wear it in public"


"ABC News Go Tackles Savage Story"

Seriously, the people walking by my downstairs apartment (where my window was open) probably thought I was completely losing it because I was laughing so hard. (I suggest you use the restroom *BEFORE* you read these stories ;-)

Bottom Line: Kim – You Rock!

Angela Warner

Awww shucks Kelli - YOU made me bust my gut this time!

I dunno know if there's a secret or not - well alright I do, but I'll have to email you off line to share THAT one LOL...

No... It's a fond memory of mine. I lived in cow-poke Denver for a long time. Very hip to wear cowboy boots with just about anything. I love my boots - still have 'em and fortunately after four kids - THEY STILL FIT! I just always think it's funny that I met my husband in one of the most money laden beach communities on the east coast - at a bar - right next to the beach wearing my cowboy boots :D

Did you know "Home Depot Man" has a house there? I have a pic of it. Tore down a $3 million dollar museum to build a $16 million dollar one! Southeast side (facing the Atlantic) of Sea Pines Plantation. BTW - I am SOOOOO happy to hear he pulled the Home Depot ads! Yippee!!!

Yep... I guess those cowboy boots stole my husbands heart.

Kelli Ann Davis

(Pssst Ang, is there *some secret* about cowboy boots that I'm missing out on and need to know about?)

Angela Warner

Kelli - Thank you for putting my thoughts and feelings into words about Kim! Let me tell ya folks, I have talked with Kim many times and she is the last person on the face of the earth who would intentionally set out to hurt or offend ANYONE! And honestly it angers me that you couldn't or wouldn't see the humor in her HuffPo piece. Makes me wonder how much of Kim's stuff you've ever read and if you've even ever been on her blog. Kim is one of the kindest, most caring, considerate, helpful, and obviously loving people I have ever met. There has never been one time when I've needed her help with something that she hasn't taken the time to talk to me or called back when she promised to! And we've never even met face to face.

I feel bad that you can't get over what ever hangups you may have about yourself.

I voted for Dubya myself - in 2004 - as a matter of fact (I was scared shitless of someone else taking over in the middle of a war - hubby had just joined the service), the night I met my husband I was wearing my cowboy boots and cut off jean shorts at a bar on Hilton Head Island in SC. Who the hell does that there? (Yes I was wearing a shirt too! LOL) While I don't chew tobacco - I have been known to smoke (again a minority today - possibly redneckish) and I DRINK BEER! Oh yeh and I watch Nascar. And I LIKE it! Jeesh!

I don't know... I think everyone just needs to lighten up a bit. The issue at heart here is that some bastard made some cruel, ignorant, and just plain stupid remarks about our kids. Savage is who the anger should be directed towards. Do something about HIM instead of finding *an easy and misplaced* target for your anger. Reminds me of the song by 311 "Misdirected Hostility". And if you need a place to do that - hop over to the blog link posted by "offended" and spew your anger there. Those people certainly deserve it.

We LOVE you KIM! And we LOVE your HUMOR! Oh yeh - BTW - your piece made me LMAO and made me think of the night I met Dave in my cowboy boots :D

Kelli Ann Davis

For the record, I love reading Kim's stuff for one simple reason -- SHE MAKES ME LAUGH -- and this piece was no exception!

I love her humor and her unique ability to find the *funny moments* in the simple, everyday, ordinary, hum drum, experiences that we call life. She has a *gift* and we should be doing everything in our power to *build her up* in what she's doing.

What I just can't for the life of me understand is *WHY* would a fellow parent feel slighted over something that was *OBVIOUSLY* meant to be humorous??

Sometimes I think we are so used to having our defenses up that we *forget* who the real *bad guys* are and instead turn our anger, hurt and rage towards each other which does absolutely NOTHING for us or our children.

Bottom Line: People, you need to lighten up. Seriously.

Stagmom for Joe and Becky

Having received a few emails like your comments, I added a post script to the piece. How about a Saab driving, pinot grigio drinking, symphony loving, Nader voting, No Nukes protesting jerk. :)


Kim and everyone,

I tired to post a comment at Huff Post for you. It didn’t seem to go through. I started a thread on my local paper’s discussion group.
I just posted your post and a link to your huff piece. Read the most recent comment below. Oh my God these people hate our kids and have absolutely no compassion. I’m sharing this with you if you care to comment.

Thanks for all your work Kim through Huff post, AOA, Bio-med heads, etc….

I must say I am scared to death of the future.


Keep having stupid kids said:

Three kids with autism

Her womb is an idiot factory.


Sigh, people drive pickups in Vermont. They chow down on Skoal in Massachusetts. They voted for George Bush all over the country. HuffPo is a political blog, Joe -I stand by my assumption that there are mostly Bush supporters/voters listening to Conservative talk radio versus Obama/Kerry/Clinton supporters. Thus the reference to "Dubya." (PS) I voted for him in 2000.....

Joe Shlabotnik

The travesty called autism has affected us all, regardless of political persuasion. Your not-so-veiled slam of persons that support "Dubya" or drive pickups, while I'm sure play well at HuffPo, serve to illuminate your own prejudices, and take away from any legitimate point you had. That's unfortunate and ironic in a piece about those prejudiced toward kids with autism. WTF indeed.


Fact is, I think the debate has shifted from kids in general to kids with autism. If your first child is autistic, you might think your kid is being discriminated against - in reality, any NT kid not being perfectly quiet in public is received with the same level of disgust. If you look over the last decade to 15 years of reporting and commenting where kids are concerned (before Autism became a household name) the media was full of disgusting comments regarding children. There were parents being thrown out of restaurants, having harrowing experiences on planes with other passengers, being told to drug their toddlers with Benadryl while flying. Society expects children to behave as miniature adults. Society does not believe in a developmentally appropriate tantrum or autism. Society does not welcome children. Society loves to keep kids sequestered. And even when kids are behaving perfectly, they can feel the air of tension everytime they board a plane, walk into a restaurant, attend a performance, this subtle shift in energy of 'oh god, why are they here?' This isn't new to autistic kids, its been going on for a long time. Not that the outrage should be less, just wanted to point out that it isn't really just autism being attacked here. Its any child not fading into the background when in public.


Thanks so much for bringing our attention to the ABC commentary backlash, Kim.

This man Savage is a coward and a baboon.

No, that's not a type-o. I really do mean to call him a baboon.

Baboons are among the most violently aggressive animals on the planet. And the most aggressive among them – the high-ranking baboons – also happen to be cowards.

Baboons live in big social groups of up to 100 animals which are arranged in pecking orders – dominance hierarchies. These formalized systems of inequity mean that higher-ranking baboons lord it over the females, infants, youths and low-ranking adult males. According to Dr. Robert M Sapolsky, professor of biology and neurology at Stanford University and research associate with the Institute of Primate Research, National Museum of Kenya, “displacement aggression” accounts for a huge percentage of baboon violence. In his book, Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers, Sapolsky writes:

“A middle-ranking male gets trounced in a fight, turns and chases a subadult male, who lunges at an adult female, who bites a juvenile, who slaps an infant. For a subordinate animal, life is filled with a disproportionate share not only of physical stressors but of psychological stressors as well – lack of control, predictability, of outlets for frustration.”

Basically, aggression in baboons involves the worst of cowardly acts – picking on those lower down on the totem pole.

Kicking a man when he’s down, picking on the sick and helpless – this is the stuff of which cowards are made. Cowards depend on their place in the hierarchy to shield them – they threaten when and where they are safe.

Michael Savage didn’t pick on someone his own size. He picked on the sick and injured, mothers and children, families burdened and broken by the stress and financial expense of doing right by their damaged children.

The British novelist George Eliot once wrote about the kind of battle the coward chooses to fight: “Any coward can fight a battle when he's sure of winning, but give me the man who has pluck to fight when he's sure of losing. That's my way, sir; and there are many victories worse than a defeat.”

Let me say it again. Michael Savage is a coward and a baboon.

Anyone with enough sense in them knows who the real heroes in this story are: The families and children with autism who fight the good fight every single day of their lives.



Becky, my neighbors in NE Ohio, well above the Mason Dixon line, chewed tobacco all the time. And listened to country music. And some wore cowboy boots. I could have used NASCAR watching, I considered Hummer driving, tennis lesson taking, I can't take Johnny to his karate class because I have a manicure, and other quips. The assumption is that I was talking about Southerners. No. I was talking about Savage's listeners. Could be lots of Americans. It's humor - not a slam, I promise. Thanks for reading and commenting. I appreciate your opinion.



His comments are despicable. But, he got one thing right:
"How could there be an epidemic that's come out of nowhere?"
"One in 150 children suddenly have an illness that hardly existed twenty years ago?"

Who knows, with his distrust of doctors and pharma, maybe by the time he hears TACA's and NAA's side of the story he'll join us. (Then again, maybe not...)

Media Scholar

There's something very screwy with all this. With all the maudlin, scripted remarks flying around it leads one to suspect this is nothing more than another sideshow to divert attention from something else.

Why are they attempting to smear disabled children sight un-seen? There is the Burton bill recently introduced in the U.S. House. H.R. 6391....


Please.....just as savage stereotypes the children, don't stereotype the banjo-toting, copenhagen-ring southerners.

That's just not fair.

I know plenty of banjo-toters who are concerned for the kids. You may say it in jest, but is that better than those that say it with malice?

I don't think it's okay to make fun of others just to make your point.

Make your point on its own merits.....without taking anybody else down.....


Oh, and one more thing--maybe Savage thinks that the recent and dramatic rise in peanut allergies is due to a lack of discipline. I'll bet he would tell parents to just shove the peanuts down their kids' throats and tell them to behave!


Kim, great post once again. I find it ironic that Savage says he intended to criticize Big Pharma, when the autism epidemic is at least partially attributable to Big Pharma to begin with (vaccines, etc.). I also think he has his head up his *** with respect to ADHD. Certainly the diagnosis of any illness with a mental or psychological component is at some level a judgment call, but it's pretty clear that our increasingly toxic world (and not changing diagnostic criteria or poor discipline) is to blame for the rise of what some are calling "the new childhood epidemics." Check out the UK Telegraph's article on sodium benzoate et al and their role in ADHD: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1584172/%27Artificial-colourings-as-harmful-as-leaded-petrol-for-children%27.html

michele i.

Hi Kim!
Great story on Huff Po. For some reason, I still can't get that site to allow me to leave comments! It has been driving me crazy.
Just wanted to let you know I loved your piece.


Hi, Kim. I thought long and hard when I wrote that. I have a family full of Bush supporters. And (don't tell anyone) I registered as a Republican to vote for McCain in 2000. Yes I did. Alas, no banjo players in the family, though I do love a good quick banjo tune. My brother's partner has a Ukelele, does that count?

I was making a point for the HuffPo audience. And here in the NE, we do poke fun at banjo playing skoal toting truck driving folks. Just as folks down South poke fun at us liberal Yankees. Mostly done in jest. I assure you. Me? I'm strictly a Copenhagen girl..... ;)



Hi Kim,

I read the article on Huffpo and, as the mother of 2 children with autism, I totally agree with what you said.

Your comments on the comments were another story. I'm a conservative, I like George Bush, I live in West Virginia, and my husband plays the banjo! Isn't it funny how we all stereotype, but don't realize it?

I'm not mad, this just struck me as ironic. I think autism parents may disagree on some issues, but we can all agree Savage is a jerk and needs to be taken down a peg or two!



Great job! As usual.

Cathy Jameson


When you figure out how to toughen that skin of yours, send me the recipe. Ronan has learned to place his nails ever so slightly on our arms, twist his fingers just so and then embed the sides of his nails, which always seem to be razor-sharp despite constant trimmings, and scratch the ever livin' crap out of our arms. Why does he do this? He's usually gotten a-talkin'-to about a misbehavior right before this new retaliation. He's trying to get a point across to us since his words have all but escaped his damaged body. This new means of communication is so not fun but seems to be some kind of 'progress' for him since Ronan desperately is trying to talk and tell us things.

I'd love for the unbelievers to walk in our shoes, feel our kids' pain (and ours too), live through the horrors of everyday autism and then, maybe then, be allowed to voice their opinions about the behaviors these autistic children display.

Cathy Jameson

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