Liberal Media Bias in Coverage of Auto Recalls

General Motors announced that it is expanding a recall of compact cars due to an ignition problem, and has raised the number of deaths resulting from the problem to 13. The recall now affects 1.37 million vehicles built between 2003 and 2007. Similarly, between 2009-2011 Toyota recalled 9 million cars due to unintended acceleration; estimates of the number of deaths vary from 20-40.

The intriguing part of of the GM or Toyota recall is not the recall itself, but the response from Washington and the media, notably with coverage of GM’s recall much more muted than that of Toyota’s. The Toyota recalls were a media circus with non-stop coverage of every scintilla of detail as it unfolded. According to news analysis by the Project for Excellence in Journalism, which analyzed weekly output from newspapers (The New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, and others) as well as network television (ABC, CBS, NBC, and others), the Toyota recalls were the #5 most reported story on U.S. news for the week of January 25–31, 2010, at 4% of all coverage. The following week of February 1–7, 2010, the story reached #2, at 11% of all news coverage. On February 10, Toyota dealers in the five-state Southeast region pulled all advertising from ABC stations in protest of “excessive” reporting on the Toyota recalls. On March 5, the Associated Press described “relentless media coverage” of the recalls from news outlets.

It even went as far as reaching congress. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee held hearings in February 2010. The CEO, Akio Toyoda, issued a statement on the house floor, apologizing profusely and defending the integrity of his company. Thirty-one, or about half of the Democratic congressional members involved in the hearings had received campaign contributions from the United Auto Workers union, a major stockholder of Toyota’s top U.S. rival, General Motors. In 2010, four bipartisan US governors wrote a letter to congress, citing the conflict of interest because of its huge stake in GM. The letter mentioned the media’s aggressive and skewed coverage and how Toyota’s recalls weren’t any worse than other recalls at the time.

A liberal media bias and could explain why Toyota was raked over the coals while coverage of a Ford recall in 2010 was non-existent or why there has inaction from congress over the recent GM recall, although they have launched a probe. Furthermore, GM knew about the ignition switch problem as far as eight years ago and failed to tell regulators. Will it make it to the house floor? Will execs be forced to testify? Fat chance.

Whether it’s Toyota, Herbalife, Wall St., or the Bay Area tech elite, Liberals have an anaphylactic reaction to success. When they detect it, their antibodies goes into overdrive and they attack by threatening with regulation, media coverage, class warfare, and protests. Occasionally, the attacks get physical. They are losing, but nonetheless, a persistent bunch. Like Bill Ackman, another liberal, they need to be put out of their misery like the injured cockroaches that they are. As quoted by Marcus Cicero:

A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear.

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