Saturday, August 28, 2010

Journalism: More Scare, Less Fact

The media a little while ago was full of the terrible story of how dangerous Toyota cars were. They mysteriously suffered from Unintended Acceleration Syndrome, becoming unstoppable juggernauts on the highways and freeways of the Western World, sending their terrified drivers on a nightmare ride of terror. Sound grabs of telephone calls made by terrified drivers pleading for help were played over and over. Toyota's market credibility suffered badly. Its CEO made an unprecedented apology.

It now seems that the main fault with Toyotas was the nut behind the wheel. Drivers stamp on the accelerator, panic, and fail to press the brake.

So far, this has not been reported in any of the local media to EoR's knowledge. But a scare story is so much more exciting than reporting that people are stupid.

Just so the climate denial movement's tactics: make an outrageous claim which is sure to be promoted by the nutjobs that promote denial, until it is picked up by the mainstream media who love a beatup. Even when the story is later proved false, the work of the denial movement has been done. The mainstream media rarely, and never prominently, trumpet their errors, and the denial movement can move on to the next desperate act of straw clutching, such as the fact that it is raining.

1 comment:

  1. Small problem, the difficulty some people have had with Toyota's brakes has been reported by people who did not panic, but reacted calmly. Reported, I may add, by people who did try using the brakes and were not mistakenly pressing the gas. In short, people at Toyota were not able to figure out what was going on so they made crap up. The matter has not been settled to anybody's satisfaction.


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