Scarborough under fire for linking Aurora killings to autism

By on Jul, 26 2012 with Comments 6

MSNBCOn his 7/23 MSNBC show “Morning Joe,” Joe Scarborough said upon hearing about the theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, he immediately knew the shooter must be “on the autism scale.” In response, more than 8,000 people have signed a petition on asking Scarborough to retract his statement and apologize.

The petition ( was launched by Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg of Brattleboro, Vermont, after she heard Scarborough’s statement. Rachel had this to say about starting her petition:

“I’m 54. I’m a wife, mom, writer, graduate student, and disability rights activist. I’m on the autism spectrum. I started the petition because I am concerned about the perpetuation of the stereotype that people on the autism spectrum are incapable of empathy, human connection, or ethical behavior. Joe Scarborough owes an apology to our community and his viewers because his statement just isn’t accurate.”

Scarborough has since responded to critics without apologizing by saying that people “missed my larger point.” Rachel says she doesn’t consider this an apology.

You can watch signatures grow in real time on Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg’s petition here:

RBR-TVBR observation: It’s pretty obvious here these days that anyone in the media who utters anything derogatory about anyone is going to come under fire. The common mistake seems to be a poor apology or none at all—at the time when it is needed (immediately or soon thereafter). Yes, Freedom of Speech is important and hosts (which make mistakes) should not be muzzled at all times. But just apologize and the problem will be nipped in the bud!

About The Author: Carl has been with RBR-TVBR since 1997 and is currently Managing Director/Senior Editor. Residing in Northern Virginia, he covers the business of broadcasting, advertising, programming, new media and engineering. He’s also done a great deal of interviews for the company and handles our ever-growing stable of bylined columnists.

  1. Autistic Says:

    There is a difference between attacking a person who is a mass murderer and being criticized and comparing a mass murderer to a group of people on no evidence at all.

  2. Steve Silberman Says:

    So, saying that someone has autism is “derogatory?” That statement in itself is derogatory, Carl. You could have worded it better.

  3. Thomas Jones Says:

    Also, in that written ‘statement’ that Joe Scarborough e-mailed to ‘,’ besides Joe Scarborough accusing everyone of having “missed my [his] larger point,” (so, it’s ‘our’ fault?)
    Joe Scarborough, also wrote, that he did not say, what he said,
    “eloquently enough.”

    There is no eloquently enough in this case.

    Joe Scarborough, was talking, on a cable-tv news show, about a pre-calculating, cold-blooded, mass murderer in Colorado.

    Controversial remarks, as inappropriate and harmful,
    as Joe Scarborough’s were, should not have been said,
    to begin with.
    It’s that simple.

    The link to Joe’s e-mail ‘statement’ sent to

  4. So sick of Joe S. All he tlks about is when he was in Congress which is no longer relevant. He interutpts everyone and is just pushing his own view ( GOP). Get rid of him and leave everyone else. When Ryan was chosen Joe was obnoxiousa!!!