Oh the Irony of it All... The Pulitzer Prize Story that the LA Times DIDN'T Get

Discussion in 'Prius, Hybrid, EV and Alt-Fuel News' started by DeadPhish, Mar 7, 2014.

  1. DeadPhish

    DeadPhish Senior Member

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    A trip back in time... to 2010. The witch hunt is just beginning. The LA Times ( and to a lesser extent ABC News ) is bound and determined to find out the truth about Toyota and how it's been hiding a major defect for years. SUA is just entering the mainstream vernacular. After the tragedy in San Diego county more and more reports are coming in about people not being able to control their Toyotas.

    'AH HA' says the LA Times, 'we got'em. We'll get to the bottom of this, nail Toyota and get ourselves a Pulitzer Prize for our efforts.'

    So they spread out - even on these pages ( I was contacted herein to see if I wanted to tell them how unhappy I was with my Prius...'Uh...F--- Off' ) - to gather horror stories to support their case and force Toyota to come clean. Then the writer went into full attack mode making accusations against Toyota in print. Accusations which were based on no fact only on 2nd hand reports and impressions.

    To its credit if you will remember Toyota did not back down, it actually responded on its website and squashed each and every accusation. And in the end.... TM was vindicated by the facts or lack thereof.

    But the irony of it all was - at the very time that the LA Times was going after Toyota there was in fact a very real corporate coverup of a very real automotive manufacturing defect that was actually injuring and killing people and which had been ongoing for at least 5 years.


    NY Times March 4, 2014
    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/05/business/gms-barra-promises-to-investigate-how-recall-was-handled.html?_r=0

    And the LA Times missed the story completely. Damn. Well done LA Times.
     
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  2. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

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    That is not Karma.
    I was hoping to read an expose of the Toyota witch hunt that did win a Pulitzer.
     
  3. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

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    Schadenfreude:
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    Bob Wilson
     
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  4. DeadPhish

    DeadPhish Senior Member

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    You're correct of course.. post corrected.
     
  5. mrbigh

    mrbigh Prius Absolutum Dominium

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    Beautiful depiction of stubbornness
     
  6. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i guess none of the gm crashes were spectacular enough, or didn't involve a chip?
     
  7. Troy Heagy

    Troy Heagy Member

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    LA Times was not trying very hard. But the NY Times picked up the story:

    Toyota was involved a scandal that spanned ten years (circa 1998 to 2008). No customers died but they did get stuck with a $7000 engine replacement bill when Toyota voided warranty (even with proof oil was changed regularly). No brand-new car should have a dead engine after only 15-30,000 miles but it kept happening again-and-again affecting 1 million customers.

    It took the action of several states and the federal government for Toyota to obey the law & reinstate those illegally-voided warranties.

    "Toyota knew they had a defect and didn't want to admit," choosing to blame the customer instead, said the Better Business Bureau. (Extremely very Poor customer service.)

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/04/automobiles/04SLUDGE.html

     
  8. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    bitterness can ruin your life.;)
     
  9. Roland1555

    Roland1555 Senior Member

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    Not sure if the book is closed on this thing yet as far as the GM ignition issue goes. Really, there have been deaths and the company has known about the problem for years.... surely even in an unfair world there has to be a greater level of accountability and fairness in both reporting and legal consequences.

    Roland
     
  10. telmo744

    telmo744 HSD fanatic

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    What if...

    GM gets sued and has to pay...

    A new bailout, more $$ from US citizens?
     
  11. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    too big to fail...
     
  12. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    I think that is true if you are talking specifically about that report and those specific set of accusations. But that is NOT my memory of how Toyota initially responded through most of this time period.

    I was frustrated by how passive and I don't want to offend anyone..."Japanese" Toyota seemed to be in their reaction during this entire period. There were daily apologies,-- Yes for offenses and accusations that IMO were not proved. Toyota's reaction was almost like they had been "dishonored" by the accusations themselves, and that somehow they had to show shame.

    Infact during that time period I seem to remember The Prius winning a big award..."like" North American Car of the Year"...or something like that...and Toyota refusing to accept it, because of the publicity and problems.

    Through that whole time period, I felt Toyota acted like a company based on it's Japanese ownership and culture. And sometimes, I wanted them to act more like an American Company...and fire back with more aggression.
     
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  13. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

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    I think that is exactly right.

    I remember when a Toyota exec (I think the CEO) apologized to the US Congress. The American media interpreted the apology as admission that a braking defect existed when in fact the exec meant nothing of the sort. He was just apologizing for the fact that the accusation existed at all.

    I would also point out that xenophobia in America is only a skin scratch away. Japanese car companies are very practical in being extremely diplomatic in this country. Had Toyota called out the involved UA drivers as fraudsters, knee-jerk patriotism would have kicked into high gear, driven in no small part by politicians and Detroit with invested interests.
     
  14. kbeck

    kbeck Active Member

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    All right. I got it: GM was having fun killing people with bad ignition switches. Right. The LA Times missed that one.

    Next: Priuses never did run-away acceleration or had problems with brakes. If the LA Times went after that, then they were nuts, and/or taken by that con man who rode the brakes while trying to accelerate at the same time.. And failed.

    However: There really was a cover-up by Toyota on Camrys and the like: Runaway cars, cars that wouldn't stop, and dead people all over.
    Toyota vociferously claimed that it was driver error, idiots with floor mats, and pushed back.
    NASA got involved and inspected the engine controllers. They didn't find any smoking guns, and said so.
    The NHTSA stood up. Then they sat down, mumbling madly about old farts who couldn't tell the difference between an accelerator and a brake pedal. (They're right about that.. some of the time.)
    The whole thing quieted down.
    And then, last year, we find out from that lawsuit in middle America that:
    1. There were runaway Toyotas. For real. Bad engine controller design and horrible engine controller software.
    2. Toyota had lied to NASA about certain critical characteristics of the engine controller - then blacked out their lies in the final report. It wasn't inadvertent - the lawyers knew.
    3. That whistleblower from Israel who had been translating Toyota documents showed proof that Toyota had seen unintended acceleration - on a Prince of Japan's car! Ahem - that didn't hit the news.
    If the LA Times said, at that time, that Toyota was involved in a cover-up, they were right. It wasn't with Priuses, but with a whole bunch of their other cars, likely including that cop who got killed in LA.

    So what are you going on about, anyway?

    KBeck
     
  15. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    the cop was from an aftermarket winter mats on top of summer mats, iirc.
     
  16. DeadPhish

    DeadPhish Senior Member

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    I was referring to a specific situation when the LAT allowed the rogue reporter to make specific accusations against TMS in print. TMS responded to each accusation on its website showing that the reporter had no factual basis for his article. The LAT never again went into 'attack mode' against TMS and TM after that.
     
  17. DeadPhish

    DeadPhish Senior Member

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    Oh really? This seems to be a statement from your own personal viewpoint with no factual basis. References from non-biased sources please - or it never happened.

    Agreed

    Again no references, your opinions (1)(2) and a 2nd hand report without substantiation (3). IOW you got nuthin.

    You can't be serious. The NHTSA fully investigated the SD County tragedy and determined that the aftermarket all-weather mats were the cause. It's public knowledge with the results published on the NHTSA website. Toyota had nothing to do with the deaths, it was the Lexus dealer that was primarily at fault. In fact 3 yrs prior to the crash Toyota had instituted a 'recall' where it specifically told drivers and dealers NOT to use All-Weather mats on top of the normal floor mats. The SD county Lexus dealer ignored that instruction.

    But that's all ancient news. The GM ignition mess is the subject of this thread. Don't try to deflect the focus. GM knew what it was doing all along. CEO, Mary Barra admits as much. They knew that the ignitions were defective and they knew that people were dying from defective vehicles ... but they simply didn't know how to fix the problem. So they hoped it would go away... for 10 years they hoped.

    Check out this new article in the NY Times today. The NHTSA is in seriously deep trouble according to their own data. The data also makes this a lot more serious for GM than even before...

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/09/business/auto-regulators-dismissed-defect-tied-to-13-deaths.html?hp&_r=0




    And..
    And..





    How can you possibly compare a technical dispute ( sludge vs proper engine maintenance ) which is only about money to a situation where a company deliberately covered up, delayed or couldn't fix a defect which was killing people....for 10 years!!!

    Again like the other fanboi above, your post is a poor attempt to deflect focus away from GM.

    But the reality is that GM's problem is several orders of magnitude more serious than 'sludge'. Puleeeze, "..knife to a gunfight.." seems apropos.

    Besides I owned 4 TM vehicles from 1989 through 2004 putting well over 500.000 miles on them and never experienced any of the alleged sludge problems. AFAIK 'sludge' was like 'SUA', i.e. if not fabricated it was very very owner/driver-dependent. Since it never concerned me or my family IMO it never occurred. Easy.
     
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  18. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

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    ^^ DeadPhish, spot on rebuttal

    I disagree about the NYT article though. Low frequency defects are difficult to find amidst all the noise. That won't stop a witch hunt of course.
     
  19. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    unfortunately, according to the wsj, gm's liability maybe somewhat limited by the bankruptsy agreement.
     
  20. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

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    Yep. No doubt the reason why GM is so quick to admit why the 'other' GM was such a turd.

    I can only hope that the court of public opinion gets rid of that miserable company once and for all.
     
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