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This is the tip of the iceberg on what they get wrong. To anyone who still has faith in the mainstream media---remember when you had something written about you in MSM which had little or no basis in fact? Or this fictionalization of "news" account happened to someone you know?
 

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The one thing I'll say is that if 60 Minutes did recreate the problem, not “fake it,” it is still valid journalism. You should not be able to get a car to launch itself forward like that, period, end of story. Engineers create those situations all the time in testing, trying to create a problem. Driving around Toyotas all day with the cameras rolling would be ... a waste of time.

This story isn't really all that new, is it? We already know that the news media are looking for ratings as their primary #1 responsibility, and will do whatever it takes to get them... whether that's inane celebrity news nobody should care about (a former child actress doing striptease), taking quotes out of context, or oversimplifying issues to the point of absurdity, it's what they do.

People who will believe nonsense as long as it's broadcast or in print of Heaven help us, on the Web, will believe nonsense. Unfortunately that seems to be a majority of the public.

There are lots of anti-hoax sites out there but I'll admit there don't seem to be any specifically for auto news.

Oh, and as long as we're talking... it of course is not just mainstream media. I think we all know about one niche auto site taking a quote out of context and proportion two weeks ago. If you'll recall from 2005-2008, the automotive media was all over the death of Ford or Chrysler or GM in alternation. The mainstream media is quite often pretty lame, all right, but the niche media is often crazier - no names mentioned but we could all bring up political sites that get just about everything wrong (one can only assume deliberately) with different political views.

During our nation's formative years, each city had different newspapers espousing the views of different parties... and supposedly people didn't expect them not to be overtly biased. Maybe we were better off before “objective journalism” gave us the idea that “fair and balanced” was something we could actually expect from human journalists, though they sure tried for around fifty years.
 

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This is not political, this is FACT:

An example of media hype and irresponsibility is the focus on these mass shootings. According to the FBI, over the last 30 years, the number of those killed in mass shootings have accounted for less than 0.1% of all homocides.

Many know how bad things are in Chicago with murder right now. That gets far less attention than one insane gunman wo kills 12.

It is another example of how the media can influence where we put our attention.

The "shark attack" stories during the summer from a few years ago were shown to be absolute hype. The actual number of shark attacks was not out of line with any previous year. But that was not the impression as the media hyped every shark attack that summer.

This also happens to the automotive world, where a minor electrical problem is hyper-reported as a potential for millions to die.
 

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No argument from me. I'm sure we could all think of sensationalized stories of this kind. (Again, though, the “mainstream media” are not in any way unique in their ability to screw up a story. Literally hundreds of “alternative media” and blogs and [cough] at least one politician reported that Chrysler was moving all Jeep assembly to China after Bloomberg correctly reported that Jeep would be re-starting Chinese production while maintaining and expanding its American plants.)
 

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You see the article itself makes a good point, but unfortunately starts by making a bad example of itself. Talking about the lack of depth or information, and what not. But meanwhile, it brings up the Jeep recall, with out elaborating why the coverage of it was so absurd.
Why did Jeep refuse the recall?
What was the fix of the recall?
So on and so forth.

The Jeep recall was purely political in nature (And I am not really referring to Right Vs Left). Some people made a bunch of noise, and then others felt obliged to respond, even when there was no real evidence of infringement upon peoples' safety.

In either case, Erik is spot on. Media sensationalism is far to successful in driving the narrative of the mass public. It takes one example that catches some attention, then people jump behind it with out looking any closer. Sort of like an old Study linking vaccinations to autism that was soon proved to be completely meaningless (by using completely invalid sample base, comprised almost explicitly of impacted children of parents who were sponsering the study). And yet, it continues to resurface every so often, even with no valid scienfitic study to support the theory. Now you have communities with high numbers of people skipping vaccinations for their kids, and a resurgance of obscure diseases and ailments long considered a thing of the past.

Most people live in a vacuum, obsessed with this idea that they can garantee their safety and wellness. They form completely unreasonable expectations that get placed upon everything. Producers of goods (Automobiles), Doctors, Police / Firemen, the list goes on and on. The second we get this sensationalized report - the first question out of everyone's mouth is: "Well how can we keep this from happening again". Errr. Stop living? Sorry, welcome to life, you can make no such garantee.
 

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All good points.
As recently as last week, "news" organizations of both sides of the political spectrum were reporting about the DC shootings with reference to "assault" weapons and AR15's. they ALL ran with it and I haven't seen much attention to the fact that it, in truth, was a semi-automatic shot-gun.
Oopsie...
 

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‘The Jeep recall was purely political in nature (And I am not really referring to Right Vs Left). Some people made a bunch of noise, and then others felt obliged to respond, even when there was no real evidence of infringement upon peoples' safety.’
Yes, with you on that one.

The coverage of the DC shooting was pretty bad. The anti-gun-control comebacks were equally bad. Wayne LaPierre’s statements were quite interesting (I listened to him on the way back from the show, thanks to my AM-only radio).

Media sensationalism is far to successful in driving the narrative of the mass public
In fairness, the mass public rewards it. If we could stop people from Facebook, emailing, and forum-posting links to the craziest stories, the rewards for being an irresponsible jerk would end. The responsible outlets, however, don't get nearly as many hits, so they don't get as much money, so they turn irresponsible when they get new managers or owners.

Most people live in a vacuum, obsessed with this idea that they can garantee their safety and wellness. They form completely unreasonable expectations that get placed upon everything. Producers of goods (Automobiles), Doctors, Police / Firemen, the list goes on and on. The second we get this sensationalized report - the first question out of everyone's mouth is: "Well how can we keep this from happening again". Errr. Stop living? Sorry, welcome to life, you can make no such garantee.
On the other hand, without those expectations, our cars would have no crumple zones, no shoulder belts, and no airbags, unless you believe that the market forces that were absent until 1974 or so would suddenly have appeared and made every car carry decent shoulder belts. I personally suspect that we would have shoulder belts now from competitive pressure from European cars... but that they would not have shown up until the 1990s... and on cheaper cars would be connected to trim so that in a real crash, you'd still fly through the windshield.

You can't tell me that a well designed seat belt, e.g. 1976 or newer, was such an incredibly sophisticated piece of equipment that it was impossible to design in 1940.

My basic point here is that we can increase safety through public appeals and such. Publicly funded vaccinations are one example of a place where people stood up and said, “We can make things safer.” Sometimes we need a good scandal to do things (how many cities did random fire inspections before the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire? That was hardly the first tragedy of its kind but it was the first to make the national news as a “manufactured scandal.”)
 

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MoparNorm said:
All good points.
As recently as last week, "news" organizations of both sides of the political spectrum were reporting about the DC shootings with reference to "assault" weapons and AR15's. they ALL ran with it and I haven't seen much attention to the fact that it, in truth, was a semi-automatic shot-gun.
Oopsie...
And they are also stupid enough to think that AR[15] stands for Assualt Rifle, when it is obvious to the most casual observer that it stands for Armilite; the inventor of the platform.

Back to Toyota, there were to many intances of runaway cars resulting in death for that to be a false issue, as the maker claimed.
 

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Erik Latranyi said:
This is not political, this is FACT:

An example of media hype and irresponsibility is the focus on these mass shootings. According to the FBI, over the last 30 years, the number of those killed in mass shootings have accounted for less than 0.1% of all homocides.

Many know how bad things are in Chicago with murder right now. That gets far less attention than one insane gunman wo kills 12.

It is another example of how the media can influence where we put our attention.

The "shark attack" stories during the summer from a few years ago were shown to be absolute hype. The actual number of shark attacks was not out of line with any previous year. But that was not the impression as the media hyped every shark attack that summer.

This also happens to the automotive world, where a minor electrical problem is hyper-reported as a potential for millions to die.
The 'Year of the Shark' was 2001. How time flies.
 

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Dave said:
In fairness, the mass public rewards it. If we could stop people from Facebook, emailing, and forum-posting links to the craziest stories, the rewards for being an irresponsible jerk would end. The responsible outlets, however, don't get nearly as many hits, so they don't get as much money, so they turn irresponsible when they get new managers or owners.



On the other hand, without those expectations, our cars would have no crumple zones, no shoulder belts, and no airbags, unless you believe that the market forces that were absent until 1974 or so would suddenly have appeared and made every car carry decent shoulder belts. I personally suspect that we would have shoulder belts now from competitive pressure from European cars... but that they would not have shown up until the 1990s... and on cheaper cars would be connected to trim so that in a real crash, you'd still fly through the windshield.

You can't tell me that a well designed seat belt, e.g. 1976 or newer, was such an incredibly sophisticated piece of equipment that it was impossible to design in 1940.

My basic point here is that we can increase safety through public appeals and such. Publicly funded vaccinations are one example of a place where people stood up and said, “We can make things safer.” Sometimes we need a good scandal to do things (how many cities did random fire inspections before the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire? That was hardly the first tragedy of its kind but it was the first to make the national news as a “manufactured scandal.”)
I am hardly opposed to people demanding better. Heck from a different perspective, many of us here are begging for Sergio to do "better" with regard to certain offerings. I simply despise the phrase "How can we make sure this never happens again" as it is so common in the public. It drives people to come up with self defeating resolutions that give them the notion of safety with out providing it in reality.

The question, how can we make this better is an essential part of a progressing market. As it relates to the automotive market - the public pushing, or setting expectations to bring in those improvements, too is good in that regard. But, there too must be a balance there. This leads into a seperate issue. It is important for expectations to be set by those with a basic understanding of what they are asking. Too often, regulations and standards are set, for businesses, by businesses, in the work place - anywhere for that matter, these days - by people with a complete absence of foreknowledge of the subject in which they are placing demands on. Does the automotive market need to be prodded sometimes? Sure.. But if pushed to hard, car prices will inch up ever faster, pushing them out of the hands of more and more, thereby partially defeating the purpose of putting better cars on the road.
 

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Does the automotive market need to be prodded sometimes? Sure.. But if pushed to hard, car prices will inch up ever faster, pushing them out of the hands of more and more, thereby partially defeating the purpose of putting better cars on the road.
On the other hand, the auto industry almost invariably insists that every regulation is impossible, from lap belts to whatever. It goes both ways. In 1970 or so, an exec of GM pronounced that by 1974, no car could get double-digit gas mileage, idle properly, accelerate 0-60 in less than several minutes, or surpass 50 mph. He was ignored and oddly enough, the industry never built a car that bad, unless its Lean Burn system was malfunctioning.

Pollution controls eventually added at least $100 to every car but in return we got vehicles that didn't bog, started when warm, and got better gas mileage. That's not to mention the various health benefits of not having choking smog.
 

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Dave said:
On the other hand, the auto industry almost invariably insists that every regulation is impossible, from lap belts to whatever. It goes both ways. In 1970 or so, an exec of GM pronounced that by 1974, no car could get double-digit gas mileage, idle properly, accelerate 0-60 in less than several minutes, or surpass 50 mph. He was ignored and oddly enough, the industry never built a car that bad, unless its Lean Burn system was malfunctioning.

Pollution controls eventually added at least $100 to every car but in return we got vehicles that didn't bog, started when warm, and got better gas mileage. That's not to mention the various health benefits of not having choking smog.
I think Chrysler was well ahead of the curve here. In 1977 three people on my parent's block bought new cars.
My parents bought a 1977 Ford LTD with a 400-2 V8.
One set of neighbors bought a 1977 Chrysler Cordoba 400-4 V8 with Lean Burn.
Another set bought the newly downsized 1977 Chevy Caprice with a 305-2 (I assume 2v, could have been 4v).
Both the Ford and Chevy had chronic stalling issues (worst during warm up, but never going completely away even at operating temperature) while the "troublesome" Lean Burn powered Chrysler performed quite well.
My uncle fixed the Ford after the warranty expired by swapping on older carb onto it. The Chevy was never right and was replaced a few years later by an Oldsmobile.
 

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Two simultaneous problems have led to the media world of today:
1) Monopoly ownership of media. There are literally less than a handful of corporations that own all of the mainstream media outlets in the USA. Those parent corporations also own other companies spanning several industries so they're not likely to publish stories that would be damaging to their own image.
2) 24-hour news media. They are literally frothing at the mouth for content - any content. And they're all trying to be first out of the gate with a story. As a result, fact-checking has gone extinct. Stories that would have NEVER been put out 20 years ago because they're false, wrong, or could not be verified are now headline news. Even rumors are thrown out there. Journalism has gone from a profession of research and hard work to put together concrete stories to nothing more than gossip hunting. The worst part is that news outlets now use each other as "sources" so if one runs an wrong story, they all start parroting each other and the story is out of control almost immediately.

Here's some fun reading: http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/regret-the-error/197279/the-best-and-worst-media-errors-and-corrections-of-2012/
 

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I will agree with both of those, though “monopoly ownership” is true of radio but not TV or print or such. There’s certainly problems, though, with certain media outlets having disproportionate impact due to their massive size. It's hardly a new issue, but I think that it was “less bad” with print media.

The 24-hour media is a real problem and of course we're part of that problem. If you don't think I feel any pressure to be first...

The real, biggest issue, I think, is the problem of profitability. Once there was enough money around that you could run a big gray honest newspaper with real integrity and not worry about where you'd get your next meal. Now there's a combination of less money spread around more outlets, and greater demands for big money now! That's resulted in crap reporting — hardly any boots on the ground, so to speak, with investigative reporters increasingly rare and made-up news increasingly common.

There was a recent tempest-in-a-teapot where a NBC News exec said it wasn't their job to tell us when politicians were lying, just to show the prepackaged news bytes. That just emphasizes the role of made-up-news. Some here critiqued how Chrysler launched Cherokee to the media, but they gave people a lot of freedom. In politics and business news, it seems that they just hand over the B-roll or provide the Sound Byte of the Day, and that's it. No inquiry, no reality checking, just repeating what someone said. (Or what a political party hack ordered them to say.)

Most stories are pretty complex and details and nuanced. Car stories have technical stuff going on too. But they only have a few seconds of your attention, usually. And anyway, most people just want to see the latest celebrity-crashing-a-Ferrari-or-killing-their-spouse story.
 

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Just look at some of the media coverage of Wendy Davis' futile fillibuster of an abortionbill in Texas versus Ted Cruz's futile fillibuster of funding the Affordable Care Act in the Senate.

That is the type of uneven-handed covereage that stretches to automobiles, sports and weather.
 

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Yet Cruz ended up voting for the bill he had filibustered (it was approved unanimously after the filibuster!). Perhaps part of the issue there is that his filibuster was completely nonsensical and all too clearly a publicity stunt, whereas Davis successfully stopped a bill (though the governor was able to override her effort with a special session) and then voted against it in the special session.

Cruz’s stunt was ... simply peculiar. Nobody in either party voted against the bill he filibustered, including Cruz.

And he got tons of coverage.
 

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Dave:


Thanks for missing the point.



Both fillibusters were futile, but brought attention to the politician's cause.
 
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