ABC’s Defective Toyota Coverage


Detroit — As we reported here two weeks ago, tort cronies at ABC and Congress have been using a trial lawyer-paid academic to claim that Toyota electronics are causing episodes of “instant acceleration.” The MSM finally caught up to the news Monday – but not because they were curious. Toyota had to report it for them at a news conference.


Of course, Toyota’s own paid engineers should not be taken as gospel truth either — except that their findings confirm those of independent studies (here and here).


The Toyota engineers found that the tort stooge, Prof. David Gilbert of Southern Illinois University–Carbondale, had “re-enacted” Toyota’s defect by stripping insulation from wires connecting the accelerator pedal to the throttle — then connecting them to nearby wires normally too far apart to touch. It’s a procedure that can be duplicated on many vehicles.


“Dr. Gilbert’s demonstration is not evidence of a design flaw or a safety risk,” engineer Chris Gerdes of Stanford put it diplomatically. “Dr. Gilbert provides no evidence that his scenario occurs in the real world.” That’s sugarcoating it. What ABC did was fraudulent.


ABC reporter Brain Ross demonstrated “instant acceleration” in a Toyota Avalon, reports, “by splicing in staged footage to make it look scarier.” Oh? Please go on.


“One of the things that makes it look scary,” continues Gawker, “is that when the acceleration occurs, Ross’ piece cuts to a close-up shot of the Toyota’s tachometer spiking up to 6,000 RPMs in the course of a second. But . . . the tachometer footage is faked.”




“ABC News spokesman Jeffrey Schneider confirmed to Gawker that the tachometer shot was indeed taken from the parked car and spliced into Ross’ death ride.” In other words, Ross took footage of a parked Toyota revving to 6,000 RPM – then falsely portrayed the shot as having occurred while he was driving the car. ABC insists this was necessary because the actual footage was too “shaky.”


As for Gilbert, the Wall Street Journal — in a typical dispatch – doesn’t get around to informing its readers that he is a paid shill for the tort lobby until graph 16. Gee, maybe that should be in the lede?


After CBS’s faked “runaway acceleration” in Audis in the ‘80s and NBC’s rigged “exploding gas tank” GM pickups in 1992, you would think the MSM would learn. But today’s left-wing journalists see themselves as watchdogs of industry, not government. As a result, they will even stoop to Ross’s tricks to turn the public against a company. They are expensive tricks. An AP analysis estimates Toyota’s legal costs could accelerate to $3 billion or more.


There is much hair-pulling these days about the loss of investigative resources as Big Media downsizes. But as the Toyota case (and Climategate) proves, the real investigative journalism is often being done by non-MSM sources.


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