Mentions of my Forbes.com expose of the Prius hoax are almost entirely absent from U.S. newspapers, notwithstanding my numerous national TV appearances discussing it and countless radio shows. As I noted, Sikes’s claims regarding why he refused to put his care into neutral – claims he made at a press conference that’s on the Web and in a CNN interview that’s also on the Web – are alone enough to show he’s flat-out lying.
Yet four four days after my piece appeared, the Washington Post declared “Sikes said he tried to free his gas pedal with his hand but did not say whether he put the car in neutral.”
One of my readers sent a letter by the email correcting the story, but the Post did not run it.
Two days after my article appeared, the “car expert” for the San Jose Mercury-News, Gary Richards, wrote about the alleged difficulty of putting the Prius into neutral. In fact, with the shifter right next to the steering wheel and requiring only a flick of the finger, it’s one of the easiest shifter conceivable. But as I wrote to him, by focusing on the alleged difficulty of shifting he misled his readers into thinking Sikes had tried when, again, his reasons for not trying destroy his story. I’ll be writing more anon about our exchange.
And yet my article was reprinted in newspapers all over Canada, and written about in other. And it’s also reached at least as far as Norway.
Wrote the Dagbladet, “As Forbes commentator Michael Fumento points out, this pedal is pretty difficult to reach with your hand in a Prius (or any other car) without removing both your eyes, head and the rest of your body from their normal driving position in the driver’s seat. It is simply not possible the way Sikes explains in his story.” It adds, “Raising doubt about wild Toyota adventures, “experts doubt the Prius accident in the US.” And regarding Norway’s own “runaway Prius accident” (the car smashed into a guard rail at 94 mph), neither in Norway has any fault of the car been found.”
This is not the case of “A prophet is not without honor, save in his own home.” (Although trust me, I have repeatedly experienced that throughout my career!) It’s a terrible reflection on the U.S. media, as indeed was my very expose of the Prius hoax and the entire witch hunt attitude our media have had towards Toyota.