The Animosity Between Journalists And Car Makers

February 18, 2013 in Daily Bulletin

The New York Times and Tesla are currently engaged in a fight over a negative review that the Times posted about one of Tesla’s electric cars. Patrick George notes that this isn’t the first time that the auto and journalism industries have been at odds with one another. Here are some of the more interesting examples of the two disagreeing:

  • In 1986 CBS aired a special about the unintended acceleration problems of the Audi 5000 sedan. The special included footage of an accelerator pedal pushing itself down. The footage was faked, the charges were baseless, and the news coverage almost destroyed Audi.
  • In 1993 Dateline tried to show that GM vehicles had a propensity to explode in cases of side collisions. Footage of such an explosion terrified audiences although most cars would likely have the same problem if Dateline strapped explosives onto the side of other vehicles as well.
  • In 2011 ABC produced a segment about random incidents of uncontrollable acceleration in Toyota vehicles. Sales of the vehicles tanked and recalls were initiated. Subsequent analysis has suggested that there was nothing wrong with the cars themselves.
  • The history of bad blood between the two industries might be, in part, a result of journalists not truly understanding how cars actually work.

Read other examples of the media both fairly and unfairly targeting automobiles, why journalists do it, and thoughts on the Tesla review over here.

Source: Jalopnik