Autism Speaks: Wright Calls for Greater Autism Funding on MSNBC’s Hardball | July 6, 2005 #AutisticHistory

[Note: Shared for #AutisticHistory archive purposes. This is NOT An Autistic Ally.]

Hardball with Chris Matthews’ for July 6

Autism Speaks co-founder Bob Wright on MSNBC TV’s “Hardball”Autism Speaks co-founder Bob Wright used a July 6 interview on the MSNBC TV program “Hardball” to call for more funding of medical research into the brain disorder. He also detailed the challenges facing families affected by autism, ranging from lack of systematic treatment options to the financial drain because of gaps in insurance.

Read the transcript to the Wednesday show

Updated: 11:09 a.m. ET July 7, 2005

Guest: Patrick Leahy, Sam Brownback, Michael Isikoff, Robert Bennett 

ANDREA MITCHELL, GUEST HOST: “New York Times” correspondent Judith Miller defies the court order and refuses to reveal her source in the CIA White House leak case and is sent directly to jail, while “TIME” magazine reporter Matt Cooper reverses himself and agrees to testify before the grand jury.  And President Bush picks former Senator Fred Thompson to direct his Supreme Court nominee through the confirmation process.  Can the actor put some law and order into this political drama?  

I’m Andrea Mitchell.  Let’s play HARDBALL. 

MITCHELL:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  One of the most closely watched elections took place today in Singapore, as the International Olympic Committee awarded the 2012 Summer Games to London.  The Games will be broadcast on the networks of NBC.

And with us now is NBC Universal chairman and CEO Bob Wright, who is in Paris, which finished second in today’s vote.  

Bob, welcome.  

How much of…

BOB WRIGHT, CHAIRMAN & CEO, NBC UNIVERSAL:  Hi, Andrea.  How are you?  

MITCHELL:  Well, fine, thank you.  

But how much of a surprise was it that London beat out Paris?  

WRIGHT:  I was very surprised.  For one, I was very surprised.  

I was here probably in the anticipation that Paris would be awarded the Games and with our partners from Vivendi Universal.  So, it was quite a surprise.  The vote was 54-50, I’m told.  

MITCHELL:  Exactly.  

I wonder whether—I guess we won’t know for a while, until things start leaking out—whether the two Finnish judges on the Olympic Committee might have voted against France as a result of Jacques Chirac dissing Finnish food and saying that—that England’s great contribution to European culture was mad cow disease.  I mean, Chirac is hardly the diplomat.  

WRIGHT:  Well, they have two votes.  And if they were going to vote for France and they voted for London, it would have been tied if they had stayed with their—you know, if that was the case.  

So, who—you know, I guess somebody is going to have to ask them.  They’re not going to publish the results of how individuals voted, but I don’t know, under IOC rules, I suppose you can say how you voted.  We’ll find out.  


MITCHELL:  I know that you did expect it to be a European city.  New York was really never considered a strong contender.  Does it make any difference from a business perspective for it to be London over Paris for NBC?  

WRIGHT:  Well, just a comment on the first part of that.  

I mean, we—we thought it was more likely to be a European city because of the—it’s not really because it’s Europe, as much as that France was the one.  This was their third application.

They did everything. They won all of the points in terms of going up to this actual voting.  They got the highest grades.  They’ve held, they’ve hosted the World Cup, which is the hardest—it’s the hardest sporting event in the world, other than the Olympics, to host.  It goes on for weeks and it’s got millions and millions of people.

They did that.  They had the athletics championships.  So, they’ve done—they’ve punched all the tickets.  So, they were the likely winner of—independent of other things.  And London, this was their first application.  So that makes it quite a surprise.  New York, it was its first application.  

And so, in that respect, and because we have in the North American continent in 2010 Vancouver with the Winter Olympics, it made it harder for New York to be, you know, awarded the subsequent Olympics, going from ’10 to ’12.  New York, by the way, should be, I would hope, in very good shape, you know, and I hope it continues its bid for ’16 and ’20.  And, you know, the French, this is actually their third time seeking it.  

So, they did not get any European favoritism.  That’s for sure.  

MITCHELL:  Now, the French, as you pointed out, were the favorites.  They were the favorites in all the betting, the official betting.  They had all the odds in their favor.  They had a stadium already built.  London is now going to have to rebuild the East End of London.  That was one of the selling points, that this would be an enormous renewal program for London, right?  

WRIGHT:  Well, except that the—you know, except the government is not the bidder here.  

The government of the U.K. is not financially backstopping the London Olympics.  So, it will be more—somewhat like the United States, where Mayor Bloomberg was pulling all of this together using his own persuasion and his own political devices, but more or less the money was coming from private organizations.  

And I think London will have a lot of that, plus, as you say, some very significant infrastructure adds between now and 2012.  

MITCHELL:  Now, given the five-hour time difference between London and the United States, will a lot of the Olympic venues be live broadcasts?  Will a lot be taped?  How do you make those decisions?  

WRIGHT:  Well, I think that every hour you’re closer to U.S. time zones is better for our viewers in America.  It means that the events are closer in real time.  So, that’s helpful.  

The fact that it’s in—it’s—we’re in an English-language country in the U.K. and London certainly makes it easier behind the scenes and doing a lot of the things that are necessary to put Olympics together.  So, yes, I think the viewers will be favored to the extent of an hour closer to the real events.  

But I think, otherwise, that they would be similar.  Five hours is not something—Dick Ebersol and NBC Sports has been at the test for up to 24 hours and a difference.  So, five hours looks pretty good against being a lot further away, such as we were in Sydney or perhaps being in Asia with Beijing will be more difficult.  

MITCHELL:  Well, there’s nobody—no one better than doing this than Dick Ebersol.  This is going to be a big political bus, also, I can expect for Tony Blair.

Before I let you go, Bob, you and Suzanne Wright have done so many extraordinary things on behalf of autism.  If you were going to help educate the American public one more time as to what they need to know, what is the one thing that most people don’t know about this scourge of autism?  

WRIGHT:  Well, you’re nice to say that.  That’s my pin here, my other job.  

What they don’t know is that one out of 166 children born in the U.S. this year, next year and the year after, hopefully, at some point less, but will be autistic.  And there’s 4-1 boys vs. girls.  So, it’s actually one in every 104 boys will be autistic and one in every 400 girls.  That’s how you get the 166 number.  

And that’s a lot.  That’s an awful lot.  And that’s a lot to be concerned about.  And we still don’t have an—we don’t have an organized diagnosis.  We don’t have a systematic treatment.  We don’t have insurance reimbursability in most of the country.  We don’t have health organizations that are stepping up to treat and to diagnose.

And we don’t have the federal government in a very major supportive way.  We do have a bill in Congress now in the Senate and the House.  And it was introduced in the Senate by Senator Santorum and Senator Dodd in a really strong show of leadership.  And that got us off the ground, and Congressman Bono in the House among others.  And this is an important funding issue, to try to get money into some of the major medical centers in the United States to do research, to organize treatment, to get a handle on the science of—it’s—there is a genetic base.

At least, that’s what we believe and understand.  So much has to be done, Andrea.  And for the parents of the—of the—you know, the hundreds of thousands—there’s probably somewhere between 1.2 to 1.5 million autistic people in the country.  And they need a lot of services, a lot of social services.  And, in many cases, there’s just no money to do that.  

And parents are exhausted and, in many cases, broke as well trying to treat and make life better for their children.  So, we’re here to help on that.  We’re trying to pull it together.  We’re trying to become a factor.  We’re trying to become a factor in Washington in hospitals and in science.  That’s the objective.  

MITCHELL:  Well, thank you very much, Bob Wright, for all of your advocacy.  Thank you and Suzanne Wright.  And thank you for joining us here today.  

WRIGHT:  Thank you.  Thank you, Andrea.  

MITCHELL:  Chris will be back tomorrow night at 7:00 Eastern for 


And right now, it’s time for “COUNTDOWN WITH KEITH OLBERMANN.” 



Autistic people have fought the inclusion of ABA in therapy for us since before Autism Speaks, and other non-Autistic-led autism organizations, started lobbying legislation to get it covered by insurances and Medicaid. 

ABA is a myth originally sold to parents that it would keep their Autistic child out of an institution. Today, parents are told that with early intervention therapy their child will either be less Autistic or no longer Autistic by elementary school, and can be mainstreamed in typical education classes. ABA is very expensive to pay out of pocket. Essentially, Autism Speaks has justified the big price tag up front will offset the overall burden on resources for an Autistic’s lifetime. The recommendation for this therapy is 40 hours a week for children and toddlers.

The original study that showed the success rate of ABA to be at 50% has never been replicated. In fact, the study of ABA by United States Department of Defense was denounced as a failure. Not just once, but multiple times. Simply stated: ABA doesn’t workIn study after repeated study: ABA (conversion therapy) doesn’t work. 

What more recent studies do show: Autistics who experienced ABA therapy are at high risk to develop PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions. Historically, the autism organizations promoting ABA as a cure or solution have silenced Autistic advocates’ opposition. ABA is also known as gay conversion therapy.

The ‘cure’ for Autistics not born yet is the prevention of birth. 

The ‘cure’ is a choice to terminate a pregnancy based on ‘autism risk.’ The cure is abortion. This is the same ‘cure’ society has for Down Syndrome. 

This is eugenics 2021. Instead of killing Autistics and disabled children in gas chambers or ‘mercy killings’ like in Aktion T4, it’ll happen at the doctor’s office, quietly, one Autistic baby at a time. Different approaches yes, but still eugenics and the extinction of an entire minority group of people.

Fact: You can’t cure Autistics from being Autistic.

Fact: You can’t recover an Autistic from being Autistic.

Fact: You can groom an Autistic to mask and hide their traits. Somewhat. … however, this comes at the expense of the Autistic child, promotes Autistic Burnout (this should not be confused with typical burnout, Autistic Burnout can kill Autistics), and places the Autistic child at high risk for PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions.

[Note: Autism is NOT a disease, but a neurodevelopmental difference and disability.]

Fact: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism.

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