By on June 21, 2011

While Toyota is still waiting for an apology for the fakery on network TV, a visibly unrepentant ABC News proudly declares:

“ABC News Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross and the ABC News Investigative Team have been awarded the 2011 National Edward R. Murrow Award for “Video Continuing Coverage” for their exclusive investigation that revealed how Toyota had for years ignored complaints from hundreds of its owners about cars suddenly accelerating out of control.”

Investor’s Business Daily says the Radio Television Digital News Association, which handed out the award, “must be made up of the only people on Earth who didn’t know that the story fell apart.” It gets even better. Brazen ABC submitted Ross’s work for the contest.

Says Investor’s Business Daily:

“One would think that any reputable media association would refuse to hand out an award for coverage of a story that was in fact devoid of any substance. But one would be wrong.”

“Ross by himself did not drive down Toyota’s market value and sales. But he’s the correspondent who staged the famous “death ride” in a Toyota set up to accelerate without driver input. And it was Ross’ report that featured a doctored shot of a tachometer suddenly racing to 6,000 rpm.”

Toyota had been long exonerated from any computer malfunction by NASA and NHTSA. The malfunctions in the mainstream media continue unabated.

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46 Comments on “Shameless ABC News Requests And Receives Award For Brian Ross’s Fakery...”


  • avatar
    Philosophil

    Yikes! For some reason this reminds me of the joke about the new drug that doesn’t cure what it’s supposed to cure, but has interesting side effects.

  • avatar
    threeer

    Gee…why let things like facts get in the way of sensationalist reporting?

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    I think the Radio Television Digital News Association chose the most effective piece of propaganda of the year to recognize, because that is the business they’re in. This award was no clumsy mistake. Ross hurt a company with a non-union workforce in favor of ones that are organized and that the Obama regime hoped to capitalize on the success of. Result.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Without sounding political, the media tends to be left wing so this comes as no surprise that ABC would carry the water for the UAW and other unions.

      Several posters on previous and other threads have observed that there is a concerted effort by the lefties in America, under the tutelage of the Obama administration, to discredit Toyota and other foreign manufacturers in right-to-work states. What they fail to understand is the number of people who would be unemployed if not for these foreign manufacturers. Now they’re doing the same thing with Boeing. Well, at least until Boeing moves production and jobs to another country.

      It is precisely one of the reasons I advocate that Toyota and all other foreign manufacturers pull up stakes and move to Northern Mexico, adjacent to the US border. NAFTA will provide for seamless imports and the unions will have one less thing to complain about. On top of that, it would keep more Mexicans home, supplied with jobs in Mexico, instead of coming over here to drain our resources and send their Dollares home to Mexico.

      The US auto manufacturers are already doing just that — moving production to Mexico instead of having to deal with unions and lefties here. The investment they make in future US plants pales by comparison to what they are investing elsewhere.

    • 0 avatar
      probert

      revenge of the zomboids. Tin Helmets On!!!! forward march.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      This story shows how the profession of Journalism is dead. Worse than useless middlemen who obscure information as they flail around in a persistent state of ignorance. Looked up Brian Ross using Google and it appears that he is known for getting the story first, but frequently getting the story wrong. A reasonably intelligent person with access to the internet could figure out that the ABC News video was a outlier that required more investigation. In my opinion, Brian Ross got the story wrong not primarily because of a political agenda, but because he doesn’t have a clue regarding how a scientist or engineer performs an experiment. It was more important for him to get the scoop than to get independent replication of David Gilbert’s results. Brian Ross also failed to ask why other cars besides the Toyota Camry using similar accelerator pedals didn’t also have similar reports of unintended acceleration.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      @CJinSD:

      “Ross hurt a company with a non-union workforce in favor of ones that are organized and that the Obama regime hoped to capitalize on the success of.”

      I think if I wore a tinfoil hat and drank a six pack of Red Bull, I’d come to exactly that same conclusion…it was all a pro-union plot. Yeah, that’s it!

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Would a tinfoil hat and a six pack of Red Bull really double your intelligence? Don’t bet on it.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        OK, then do you have some kind of evidence to back up your allegation that Ross did this to specifically destroy a non-union company? You can back up your allegation, or continue to spout nonsense and toss names at people who call you on it. Your call.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        You can continue to ignore patterns that make you uncomfortable, but eventually the the actions of those you support will catch up to you. Obama is trying to derail the one state with a healthy recovery right now, which is Texas in case it slipped your myopia. Do you even know who the most likely candidates are for starting the wildfires that are devastating Arizona right now? I’ll give you a hint. Obama is the one making sure they’re there to do the harm.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        comment in wrong thread – removed

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        CJ – doesn`t Texas now have a budget deficit similar to California (adjusting for the different sizes of their economies)? Also isn`t this the Texas that in the previous biannual budgeting cycle balanced their budget with $6 billion of evil federal “stimulus” funds. But hey lets not have facts get in the way of bias.

        You say there is a concerted campaign against non-union labor (non-US unions) so why no issue with Subaru (made in IN), Honda, Hyundai/Kia, VW, BMW who all have US factories and are foreign owned. Only Toyota has been “chosen” and you think it had nothing to do with 10 million recalls? Of course the media is sensationalist – they did it with Ford and the tire issue a decade back, they did it with Wiener and his twitter issue (but not Senator Family values Vitter who has a prostitute in DC) – I am not seeing political bias as opposed to laziness and sensational “journalism”.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        @CJinSD:

        “You can continue to ignore patterns that make you uncomfortable, but eventually the the actions of those you support will catch up to you.”

        Translation: Nope, I don’t have a shred of evidence to back up my claim that ABC aired this to destroy a non-union company.

        Thanks for playing, though. I’ll just leave the “Obama is screwing with Texas and starting wildfires” comments as the result of too much Red Bull and tinfoil headgear.

  • avatar
    CarPerson

    Help me out here:

    The “fraud” seems to center around the split-second video tach shot, not the short between the circuits.

    The film crew filmed the tach maxing out with a control & witness signal short without triggering an error code while at rest and again when moving with identical results. The photographer badly fumbled the camera during the moving shot so the video editor used the stationary shot because you could actually see the tach.

    Substituting a clear tach shot for an identical but fuzzy, incomprehensible tach shot was fraud exactly how? Remember the video editor went back and inserted the fuzzy, incomprehensible shot to please the critics…

    Would it still be fraud if both were in helmets and white lab jackets, it was filmed at an expensive test track, and the photographer maintained a steady camera?

    I can see a beef with the title “Video Expert”. If you screw up a shot, you re-shoot it. This was not something can could not be easily repeated as necessary until the photographer was able to hold the camera steady. THAT I’d agree with.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Why couldn’t they repeat it with their carefully constructed combination of jumper wires with properly chosen resistors strategically placed to mimic and open throttle without triggering a fault code? They weren’t trying to catch bigfoot taking a dump in the woods. They were filming their own carefully crafted modified car to create the impression of built in faults. That’s why he’s a fraud who should be financially liable for a big piece of the economic harm he did to blameless parties, as now proven, but only whispered, by the NHTSA. Click on ‘the fakery on network TV’ for a full explanation of the behavior you’re defending. When you get up tomorrow morning, try to go the whole day without championing evil liars. Baby steps.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        @CJinSD:
        “Why couldn’t they repeat it with their carefully constructed combination of jumper wires with properly chosen resistors strategically placed to mimic and open throttle without triggering a fault code?”

        Because Ron Gettelfinger did the Union Thug Jedi Mind Trick on Brian Ross…that’s why. We all know this was a plot to destroy a non-unionized company. Of course, Toyota might be surprised to find out it’s a non-unionized company, given that its Japanese workers are unionized, but I digress.

      • 0 avatar
        CarPerson

        “…carefully constructed combination of jumper wires with properly chosen resistors…”
        You over dramatize a wire with a known resistance, realistically achievable in the real world with tin whiskers, debris, manufacturing defects, and/or moisture.

        “…strategically placed to mimic [an] open throttle without triggering a fault code…”
        This is misleading. “Strategic” is debatable as the two circuits are parallel and adjacent wires and traces on the circuit board in the pedal itself and the underhood controller. They simply introduced a short of known resistance between the parallel and adjacent control and witness circuits. A rather simple exercise, wouldn’t you say?

        A failure such as this type of short in a properly-designed throttle control will drop the throttle to “limp” mode and trigger an error code. In Toyotas, the accelerator goes to full throttle and does not latch an error code. Oops!

        Prof. Gilbert also stated he had tried several different failures on a Buick and another vehicle he had access to and never got either to fail in an open-throttle mode.

        Add in the lack of a secondary safety circuit such as a brake override, and it boggles the mind NONE of the crashes were caused by the total design. It’s a real stretch to believe that…

        REMEMBER: HBO, Monday, “Hot Coffee”. Watch it.

      • 0 avatar
        1996MEdition

        If the failures were due to tin whiskers or shorted circuit boards/wires, then where is the evidence? NASA couldn’t find it? As someone that regularly analyzes failures due to tin whiskers and circuit board failures, believe me that you will see evidence. In the UA cases, the only hard evidence was poor fitting/poorly installed dealer floormats and idoits like the famous runaway case of Jim Sykes in CA.

        A good tech or engineer can make anything fail…..it’s part of the job. Break it then find a way to become robust to the failure. The trick is to be able to discern the probability of the failure actually occuring in the real world. To me, this is where the good professor, Brian Ross, and ABC failed.

    • 0 avatar
      CarPerson

      Prof. Gilbert performed an extremely simple test: short the control and witness circuits (they are parallel and adjacent wires and traces on the circuit board) within a resistance range and the accelerator will go to full throttle in an instant and stay stuck there without triggering an error code.

      He stated he saw this potential in the Toyota shop manuals (he is a trained and experienced auto shop instructor) and did the test to prove or dis-prove what he thought. His and other independent tests showed his observations to be correct. He expressed an opinion this is a very serious design concern. He did not state this was the cause of any accident.

      Attribute no more and no less than this to what Prof. Gilbert did. I hope this helps shake off the poison of so many misinformed and uninformed peeing in the public information pool.

      Toyota spent a lot of money to convince you to think what you now think. Unfortunately they and that research-for-hire firm they bought and paid for in California can’t cover up the fact the design is about the least robust possible and few other auto manufacturers use such a poor design, despite Toyota’s vehement claims otherwise.

      BTW, HBO on Monday, June 27th will air “Hot Coffee” which discusses the McDonald’s hot coffee suit. Take a look and you will be forever free of the nonsense that keeps appearing in the press, internet, and other “news” sources.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        If it wasn’t the cause of any accident…it’s irrelevant to the question at hand. So if anyone is urinating in the pool, it is the good professor.

        If invisible evil flying monkeys swoop down on on a Toyota or Lexus, grab the steering wheel and floor the accelerator, the vehicle will careen out of control.

        Of course, this has no relation to the actual unintended acceleration events with Toyota products, so it’s about as relevant as the Professor Gilbert scenario.

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    The only thing that revealed Toyota had been cheating on recalls (and they had, there is no doubt about this), was the regular accumulation crashes and deaths in the news. Eventually, it was too much to keep hidden, or on the d/l, and when compared to Toyota’s actions in dealing with the same issues in other countries, Toyota received a well-deserved black-eye.

    When an issue grows to such proportions, and a company has acted in such clear bad-faith, for so long, on several different issues, on several different products, it is not to be unexpected that the issue will rise into the political realm, and into public consciousness, such that all matter of “subject matter experts” (some less “expert” than others will try to find an answer to, make a buck on, (or both), the issue in question.

    It should also come as no surprise that any company eventually finding itself in such a spotlight will suffer reputational and brand damage due to all the legitimate (dis-interested experts and the best of government and media-types) and sensational (the worst of politicians and media-types), but it is equally avoidable by identifying the issue early, recognizing it for what it is, and informing the public with these 3 simple steps (which preserve credibility and minimize damage): tell it early, tell it fully, and tell it yourself.

    I shed no tears for Toyota on this story, or for any company that (would go through the same experience of their own making) drops a turd in the punchbowl, and then complains about the flavor of the punch.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Thank heavens the same media and government has been so vocal in protecting us from 3 million Ford F150 trucks that contain airbags which might detonate at random times! I’m surprised that Brian Ross didn’t win the award for his sensational coverage of the airbags exploding in peoples faces while driving down the highway. Now that was some great journalism!

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        @CJinSD:

        “Thank heavens the same media and government has been so vocal in protecting us from 3 million Ford F150 trucks that contain airbags which might detonate at random times!”

        You mean, the F150s that are built by union labor? Wait, I thought this was all about destroying non-unionized companies. I’m so confused…

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Yes, you are confused. The coverage of Ford’s latest and greatest safety flaw never happened. That was sarcasm. You can look it up in the dictionary.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Could the reason why the media hasn’t hopped on this story about the F150 airbags be that…follow along now…Ford has recalled the trucks in question and is fixing the problem? Could that be it?

        And you might recall a few years back that GM trucks were rigged to blow up by Dateline NBC…clearly that was a mainstream media attempt to blow up a unionized company…right?

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        The NHTSA wanted Ford to recall 1.5 million trucks with a pattern of airbag detonations. There were more than 300 complaints about airbags going off for no reason. Ford claimed that only trucks assembled in Norfolk were effected, and recalled 144,000 trucks for airbag replacement. There was no evidence to back up the claim that only Norfolk Ford F-150s had self-detonating airbags and overwhelming evidence of airbags exploding in trucks built in other Ford plants, but Ford cared more about the financial implications of replacing the dangerous airbags than they did about the safety of their customers. At the NHTSA’s urging, Ford later recalled 1.2 million trucks. So here you have Ford denying a problem, denying its scope, putting money ahead of customer safety, and dragging their feet with a very real and known safety defect. Compare that to Toyota, where the defects were mostly behind the wheel and no problem was ever found. It is easier to fix a real problem than it is to fix the mass hysteria created by a media and a government agency with a shared agenda.

      • 0 avatar
        charly

        Exploding airbags don’t kill. For sensationalism you need dead or sex. Both are missing with exploding airbags

    • 0 avatar
      tced2

      What about the Ford problem (on many models, many years) of the cruise control circuit that started fires in vehicles that were parked (and turned off)? It affected many more millions than the air bags.

      • 0 avatar
        Robert.Walter

        I think we are missing the crux of the issue. Toyota had a new and attention-generating kind of issue (trapped mats and sticking pedals that some drivers were unable to cope-with and ended in spectacular crashes… all the fires, or errant air-bags are old hat … (everybody has had airbag problems of one kind or another … somebody just recalled for a side-curtain bag that was misprogramed not to deploy if there was no passenger in the front seat … it was forgotten that this put any rear-seat passenger in danger of not getting the benefits of the side-curtain … recall and re-program.)

        Yes, Ford had these spectacular fire-issues with cruise-off switches (and before that in the mid-1990′s, the largest-ever recall for ignition switches that would torch off most of the fleet produced since the early-1990′s), and, yes, Ford also had previous recalls for H-D F-series (P131 platform) for airbags what would blow-off when the passenger door was slammed (this needed only a software reflash IIRC) … but by now, these are old-hat and boring … people are interested in newer and sexier defects and their result.

        Do also please note that not all vehicle defects manifest themselves within the same period of time after leaving the factory … note 300 calls on the best-selling vehicle in the US-market, while too many, is on a percentage basis (swag calculation says small pct rate, like 0.01% failure rate), extremely small given the population of that generation of F-series already on the road by the time the number of complaints started to climb …

        BTW, can anybody explain to me what Ford said about the Norfolk production and why they thought the defect was limited to that plant? I’d be interested to hear the explanation of that one…

  • avatar
    Robert Fahey

    Toyota salesman here. Former journalist.

    Consumers were NOT, repeat, NOT complaining about Toyota sudden acceleration in any relevant numbers until headlines tweaked American autochondria. Nitsa and NASA went into exacting detail to show this, with page after page of graphs showing the direct result of headlines and recalls. But never mind. Ruins the fun. Here are some journalistic highlights during Toyotaphobia:

    * LA Times milks the Saylor crash, writes unattributed statements about Toyota death data, then lets plaintiff-funded “safety advocate” Sean Kane sell his sound bites as he starts his campaign to pollute public opinion. The Times later won a Pulitzer nomination. http://articles.latimes.com/2009/oct/18/business/fi-toyota-recall18

    * Brian Ross from ABC News does basically the same thing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-wD9MkaL3Q

    * Ross again, this time with Dr. Frankenstein and his brain-damaged Avalon. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRN1CnKrc84

    * CNN calls an old Toyota TSB an “undisclosed document” that was never made public, even though TSBs are public documents posted on Nitsa’s site and many others. To boot, Ross trumpeted the same TSB months earlier in his first spook story above. Duh. Cheerleading the CNN story, of course, is Clarence Ditlow. He runs the Center for Auto Safety, Kane’s alma mater. Ditlow helped along the Audi farce in the 1980s and the Silverado gas tank farce of the 1990s. http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/03/22/toyota.throttle.warning/index.html

    * USA Today publishes an alleged Toyota death map. No, make that a “confirmed” Toyota death map. Read the map header and footer. Those red dots are dead bodies scattered across the country, all Toyota’s fault, all “confirmed” by the government and then “verified” by USA Today! (Remember, the NHTSA confirmed only two fatal accidents from Toyota acceleration problems since the year 2000, both caused by misused floor mats, but don’t tell the journalists and ruin their finest hours). http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/toyota-sudden-acceleration-complaints.htm

    True, Toyota probably got kicked out of the Spotless Corporation Club last year. I tried to confirm this but the SCC website is down and the phone number disconnected.

  • avatar
    1996MEdition

    This is exactly why I get all my news from the Onion. Credibility.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Had Toyota admitted there may be an unknown electronic problem a decade ago that was over their head, from a technical standpoint, and installed ‘brake overrides’ just incase of any type of electronic or mechanical failure not to mention floormat/pedal entrapment, they would have gotten away clean and done themselves a tremendous favor. Nevermind pubic safety! Brake overrides have been install in most German cars as standard practice for over a decade.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      Brake overrides don’t work if you aren’t pushing the brake pedal. It would have corrected the actual sticking pedals but not the people pushing the wrong pedal.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Exactly, and I can think of at least one family that would be alive today if their loaner Lexus had a brake override but incidently, where are all the new runaway Toyota incidents now that brake override is standard equipment on all new Toyotas? If most of the old SUA cases were ‘driver error’ as Toyota has all but contended, new SUA cases would be spring up same as before since, as you said, “Brake overrides don’t work if you aren’t pushing the brake pedal.”

  • avatar
    ClutchCarGo

    This is like awarding George Tenet the Presidential Medal of Freedom after blowing the Iraqi WMD intel. Instead of admitting a failure, polish the turd with an award!

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      I was thinking of the Nobel Peace Prize for President Obama, awarded for his words rather than his deeds, and nominated for it only 12 days into his tenure. Or the same award for Yassar Arafat.

      The Edward R. Murrow prize is now diminished.

      • 0 avatar
        ClutchCarGo

        As empty as a Nobel Peace prize was for Obama, it was at least empty since he had not yet had a chance to do anything to deserve it. Ross, Tenet and, yes, Arafat, receiving awards in direct contradiction of their deeds is so full of irony as to be beyond comprehension. There was a similar scene in Catch-22 where the Army really wanted to court-martial Yossarian for flying back over a target, but opted instead to give him a medal since it would be too embarrassing to court-martial him. Life imitates art, or something like that.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        @Gslippy:

        I don’t suppose you have a Nobel Prize hanging around, do you?

        Sounds like sour grapes to me…

  • avatar
    tced2

    Brian Ross was a participant in another automotive stunt – GM saddle-gas-tank-gate. While working at NBC, he reported that the gas tanks were more prone to blow up in an accident. His report showed a truck with (undisclosed) fireworks helping with the “demonstration”. GM had a conversation with NBC and NBC very publicly retracted the report. Mr. Ross moved to another network (ABC) later.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      Sure, but he has an urgent tone to his voice that people believe, and people are eager to hear about dangerous man-made technology failures.

      ABC is part of Disney, after all, where special effects are their bread and butter.

  • avatar

    I still wonder why this Toyota drama occurred in the US, almost exclusively.
    Can’t be a sorrow state of journalism combined with strange tort laws there.
    Must be different specs used for Toyota cars delivered to the US.
    Alien attacks, probably?

  • avatar
    PintoFan

    Brian Ross has nothing to apologize for, other than offending the delicate sensibilities of Toyota fans. By doing a series of open and easily replicated tests on a part with a flawed design, no less. Oh well, the anti-Obama and anti-UAW ramblings in this thread just highlight the increased desperation of Toyota’s dwindling fanbase. It couldn’t possibly be that Toyota manufactures poorly-planned, boring, and ultimately noncompetitive products, or that it cuts corners in design and engineering, or that it failed to respond to criticism in a meaningful way (and still hasn’t); it’s because a fifth column is trying to undermine a totally innocent foreign company which never made any bad engineering, business, or public-relations decisions, ever.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      Toyota’s ‘poorly-planned, boring, and ultimately non-competitive products’ are the best-selling cars in the US (pre-tsunami, anyway).

      I’m not sure what kind of response to its criticism you’re expecting from Toyota, but perhaps a 3rd-party evaluation of its products would be appropriate? Oh, wait, that already happened. Toyota has already said there is nothing to see, and so has NASA and the US Government. What else do you want?

      Toyota’s worst business decisions at the moment are the continued existence of Scion and the FT-86 union with Subaru, not some secret UA coverup.


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