July 14, 2010

Sudden Unintended Hysteria

The editorial board here at Ad Contrarian world headquarters is getting a little full of itself lately.

For the second time this week, stuff we have written has turned out to be prophetic.

In March, we posted 4 columns (you can read them here: #1, #2, #3 & #4) about the hysterical, inaccurate, irresponsible press reporting of alleged Toyota "sudden unintended acceleration."

Those if us with functioning brains suspected what was going on -- mass hysteria, Congressional buffoonery, and journalistic incompetence. It was the same baloney that was directed at Audi (particularly by 60 Minutes*) in the mid-80's when reports of "unintended acceleration" were traced back to morons who didn't know the brake pedal from the accelerator.

Anticipating that the truth would eventually vindicate Toyota, we said...
"Of course, the miserable thing about this is that the press will give the vindication of Toyota about 1/1000 the attention they gave to the groundless accusations."
Well, guess what? According to a story yesterday in The Wall Street Journal called Early Tests Pin Toyota Accidents on Drivers...
The U.S. Department of Transportation has analyzed dozens of data recorders from Toyota Motor Corp. vehicles involved in accidents blamed on sudden acceleration and found that at the time of the crashes, throttles were wide open and the brakes were not engaged...
The results suggest that some drivers who said their Toyota and Lexus vehicles surged out of control were mistakenly flooring the accelerator when they intended to jam on the brakes.
USA Today had this to say...
In what could turn into a repeat of the infamous Audi 5000 case more than two decades ago, driver error, not the vehicle, appears to be the cause of a number of Toyota unintended acceleration cases.

Now that there are some facts, let's see if the reckless, inept press gives this 3 weeks of non-stop front-page attention like it did the fictitious allegations.

Yeah, fat freakin' chance.

"On November 23, 1986, 60 Minutes aired a segment ...concerning the Audi 5000... The story covered a supposed problem of "unintended acceleration" when the brake pedal was pushed, with emotional interviews with six people who sued Audi (unsuccessfully) after they crashed their cars, including one woman who had killed her six year old boy. Footage was shown of an Audi 5000 with the accelerator moving down on its own...after an expert witness employed by one of the plaintiffs modified it with a concealed device to cause it to do so...The incident devastated Audi sales in the United States, which did not reach the same level for another fifteen years. The initial incidents which prompted the report were found by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Transport Canada to have been attributable to operator error... CBS issued a partial retraction, without acknowledging the test results of involved government agencies."  -- Wikipedia

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