Saturday, July 19, 2008

Savage-ly Misinformed and Harmon-ized

Media Matters for America released some interesting audio from talk show host Michael Savage's program of July 16.

I'm certainly not going to tell Mr. Savage he can't speak his mind. He is entitled to that much. It's just that I've seen and met autistic children, spent time around a few of them, and in the course of working on ambulances and around the Emergency Department of a major urban hospital have seen lots of kids with asthma, watched them struggle with it.

Autism as a disorder is a source of recent controversy. There are controversial attempts to link the onset of Autism to early childhood vaccines containing Thimerosal, a mercury-derived preservative. Other controversial issues include the use of chelation therapy to treat autistic children who had detectable but non-toxic amounts of mercury or lead in their blood.

I first became interested in this topic after reading a post on Slashdot about a blogger who specializes in autism-related issues who received a subpoena from the attorney for two plaintiffs in a suit against a vaccine manufacturer.

The blogger, who successfully quashed what was an over-reaching attempt at harassment (which also resulted in sanctions against the attorney), maintains an autism-related site that is one of the most comprehensive web-based resources for a specialized topic that I have ever seen. If you're interested, go here.

Irrespective of the numerous controversies concerning autism and its' causes (both real and unproven), Mr. Savage acted irresponsibly by classifying childhood-onset disorders such as autism and asthma in the way that he did. This is unfortunately typical of Mr. Savage's modus operandi, which is akin to attempting fine carving with a chain saw.

In case you're at all interested, the Grand Junction area is subjected to Mr. Savage from 6:00 to 8:00 PM during the week on KNZZ.

Media Matters' Colorado division also did a little homework on a Sentinel article by Gary Harmon about the local implications of T. Boone Pickens' plan for development of gas and wind power as alternative sources of electrical power.

Among other things, it seems that Gary secured comment from a representative of Americans for American Energy, which purports to portray itself as a grass roots organization, when in fact it is controlled by a lobbying firm with ties to the energy industry. This is also known as an Astroturf organization, in reference to an attempt to produce artificial 'grass roots'.

I spoke with Leslie about some of these things tonight, and she chided me for always focusing on stories and news that generated negative feelings, or was an attempt to criticize or point out the shortcomings of others. She asked me why I wrapped myself up in such things when there were examples of things that uplift and exalt humanity that don't get enough attention in the mainstream media, the blogosphere, or elsewhere.

I told her that I didn't think that was always the case, but in response to her perception of what I think and write about I would actively seek more examples of positive things in the future.
Starting tonight.

Thanks to the CU and Mesa State Journalism schools for hosting the second annual George Orbanek workshop this afternoon. Ralph D'Andrea said most of what I would say about it, except that I thoroughly enjoyed meeting several people including Ralph, along with Emily Anderson of the Free Press and Todd Powell of the Sentinel. I also enjoyed seeing the Sentinel's Amy Hamilton and Denny Herzog, as well as Kate Porras (nee Godwin), formerly of KKCO and now the GJPD's Public Information Coordinator.

The program was highly informative, not only in its' content but also for the opportunity to network with those who know the trade in our area. Looking forward to learning more down the road.

To quote the late Bill Burns, "Good Night, Good Luck, and Good News tomorrow".

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