Toyota Crash Victim Speaks Out Against Media Smearing Automaker

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Independent journalist and blogger Michael Fumento doesn’t pull any punches. A quick scan of Fumento’s blog posts regarding the Toyota recall fiasco shows that he’s not afraid to be blunt. He calls Prius driver James Sikes a “media whore liar.” blatant liar. [NOTE: We misquoted Mr. Fumento – our apologies.] He takes big media to task for glossing over key facts and details. He outlines the conflict of interest between GM, Chrysler, and NHTSA. At first glance, Fumento definitely seems “pro-Toyota.”

Maybe so. But a story from Fumento’s past would seem to indicate that he doesn’t have a lot of love for the automaker:

While driving with my future wife along California’s scenic but treacherous Pacific Coast Highway in 1991, my brand new Toyota suddenly fishtailed and dove straight off a cliff…I was uninjured, but my wife suffered both a broken neck and crushed skull. I was told I would probably lose her, but she had a miraculous recovery and today only suffers epilepsy. A week after the accident I read Toyota was replacing the model at half year because, according to one car magazine, driving experts said it suffered from sudden “terminal” oversteering.

If any journalist has a reason to dislike Toyota, it would be Fumento…so why is he producing so many articles that seem to be in defense of the automaker?

The answer: He’s not. Fumento says that “The bottom line appears to be that Toyota doesn’t know what the problem is,” when it comes to all these acceleration complaints. He’s critical of Toyota’s CEO, their Japan-centric management, and their poor P.R. work.

But he’s also been critical of the media for failing to report the truth. He’s careful and diligent in analyzing the actual facts surrounding these unintended acceleration incidents. Frankly, he’s saying a lot of the things we’ve been saying…but he’s got a much better journalism reputation than we do.

  • Fumento received his undergraduate degree in political science while an Army paratrooper
  • In 1985 he was graduated from the University of Illinois College of Law and is currently a member of the Pennsylvania bar.
  • He has been a nationally syndicated columnist for the Scripps Howard News Service, a legal writer for the Washington Times, a science correspondent for Reason magazine, editorial writer for the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, and was the first “National Issues” reporter for Investor’s Business Daily.
  • He was an embedded journalist a total of four times in Iraq and Afghanistan, seeing combat with the Navy SEALs and the 101st Airborne Division.
  • Fumento has been a finalist for the prestigious National Magazine Award.
  • His articles have appeared in such magazines as Readers’ Digest, The Atlantic Monthly, Forbes, USA Weekend, The Weekly Standard, National Review, The New Republic, The Washington Monthly, Reason,  Policy Review, The American Spectator, and The Spectator (London).
  • He’s published in such newspapers as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribunethe Christian Science Monitor, The Sunday Times of London, The Sunday Telegraph of London, and the Jerusalem Post.
  • His television appearances include Nightline; ABC World News; ABC News 20/20; numerous programs on CBS; NBC; CNN; and Fox; PBS; MacNeil-Lehrer; CNBC; the BBC; the Canadian Broadcasting Network; C-SPAN; the Christian Broadcasting Network; Donahue; This Week with David Brinkley, ESPN, and many others.

Basically, Fumento is the real deal. He’s got personal negative experience with Toyota, and yet he still manages to say that Toyota is being railroaded by uninformed and uneducated members of big media.

If you haven’t already done so, check out Fumento’s blog.

Filed Under: Auto News

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  1. mk says:

    I bet this Sikes guy got paid 1 million dollars from GM, oh I mean the govt., to run his prius 94 mph and claim the gas pedal stuck. Whatcha all think – possibility? Sorry to change the subject, but it could be possible or maybe Sikes just wants media publicity and wants to get out of his death trap prius??
    Wouldn’t surprise me with all kinds of weird people doing weird _hit nowadays.

  2. TxTee says:

    I only know what is possibly happening in my Toyotas and it’s nothing strange or unusual with the pedals, the mats, or anything else. When/If it happens to me, then I’ll show concern but honestly not worried about it. Things have a way of righting themselves in due time. Whoever is knowingly in the wrong will get what’s coming whether it be Toyota, govt, or vehicle owners. No one is paying me to promote for Toyota but I have all confidence in my vehicles being just fine.

  3. Mickey says:

    Now my position is the Prius is made in Japan. Now how come we don’t hear of any of this from Japan? The media would be all over Mr. Toyoda and in his face if they had any of these so call stuck pedals on Prius’s over there. How can Mr. Sikes try and pull his gas pedal up but be afraid to put it into neutral? I can’t help myself but the B/S flag is rising.

  4. Mickey says:

    Mr. Sikes goes into the same category as the Tundra guy in Baton Rouge. B/S category.

  5. mk says:

    Just heard on the news that the Prius owner may have been doing it on his own. They cannot find anything wrong with his prius pedals, etc. and think now he is possibly to blame. Wonder if he will get a speeding ticket out of it if he comes clean?

  6. Jason says:

    mk – There’s a lot going on with Sikes, and I think it’s a circus. I’m not particularly interested in covering it because I think the guys a grade-A moron. Fumento does a very good job of proving this guy is a liar here:

  7. Mickey says:

    I agree Jason…… Not worth the time.

  8. danny says:

    (sorry for continuing the sike’s circus) Your comment about him pulling on his gas pedal….. hmmm, i tried this in my chevy hhr (while parked) and i can barely reach the gas pedal and still see over the darn dash at the same time. I also have to contort my body between the steering wheel and the center console. This seems much more dangerous than shifting into neutral. In my Tundra, i cant see over the dash and touch the gas pedal at the same time.

  9. danny says:

    I guess i should have read your link prior to my previous post. lol.
    great find tho!

  10. Thank you for a very nice post but I don’t use terms like “media whore liar!” I won’t disagree with the description, it’s just not my style!

  11. […] Titled “Toyota Crash Victim Speaks Out Against Media Smearing Automaker” […]

  12. Jason says:

    Michael – No slander was intended – I was referring to the 3rd bullet point following the second paragraph in this article:
    I realize now you were simply echoing comments that others had made. I’ve fixed our post.

  13. Jason says:

    Mickey – I just felt like talking about an idiotic attempt to slander Toyota only gave it credibility. Besides, I’m sure everyone is tired of the whole unintended acceleration business.

    danny – Thanks!

  14. Hexmate says:

    Fumento is as much the real deal as Bozo the clown. He’s already hiding out after I challenged his misrepresentation of the facts.

  15. Mickey says:

    You of all peolpe Hexmate knows Bozo the clown. You challenged Fumento?

  16. Hexmate says:

    Mickey said: “You of all peolpe Hexmate knows Bozo the clown. You challenged Fumento?”

    He’s got a degree in poly sci and law and he can’t drive – so what?

  17. Mickey says:

    Hexmate you can’t produce your own credentials, but you still challenege someone else.

  18. Jason says:

    Hexmate – What degree should Fumento have? Also, what degree do you have?

  19. Hexmate says:

    Jason said: “Hexmate – What degree should Fumento have? Also, what degree do you have?:

    He should have the same degree you have – webmaster. Mine is in automotive industries from the school of hard knocks. I got that right after my degree in warfare from the University of South Vietnam

  20. Hexmate says:

    Mickey said: “Hexmate you can’t produce your own credentials, but you still challenege someone else.”

    Do you have some credentials Mickey?

  21. danny says:

    hexmate stated; “Fumento is as much the real deal as Bozo the clown.”
    hmmmm, Bozo was a real clown, so…. Fumento must be a real journalist.

  22. Hexmate says:

    Danny said: “hexmate stated; “Fumento is as much the real deal as Bozo the clown.” hmmmm, Bozo was a real clown, so…. Fumento must be a real journalist. ”

    Clowns aren’t real Danny but Santa Claus is.

  23. Mickey says:

    Hexmate I’m not the one who challenges everything, and everyone on this site. Look in the mirror and you will see the problem. The other problem is you won’t acknowledge is that you have an issue with this site and the webmaster. You need to move on. You’re trying to cause an issue with Jason and Jason now won’t acknowledge you. All you’re causing here with your childish repeatbacks is causing more time for someone to get pass your childish rantings. Now everyone sees you for who you are. Now get over yourself and move on. You’re giving GM a bad name.

  24. DAB says:

    Why do you respond to him? Your doing exactly what he wants! Why is Sikes not worth talking about BUT you do? Seems like a lot of little old women bickering! What is? Why don’t you just go ahead and close all comments! So this guy was embedded with the SEALS? 101st I see but SEALS? Who was the guy embedded with either the Marines, US ARMY CAV or 101st and gave away their position?

  25. Mickey says:

    Jason I heard on the news that the Prius in New York never had the foot on the brakes. According to the Event Data Recorder it shows only the gas pedal being depressed with no brakes applied. Good possibility that the person driving the 2005 Prius had the foot on the wrong pedal.

  26. Mickey says:

    Jason this is a comical side of a Prius owner. Too much profanity to put up unless you deem so. [NOTE: PROFANE, NSFW, BUT HILARIOUS]

  27. Mickey says:

    Here one good read. Don’t know if you saw this one Jason.

  28. Masi says:

    Good job DAB, finally! I have a feeling it won’t last long though! Foot on wrong pedal! So they got the mysterious black box data from that one computer in all of north america, is that where this information is coming from? Or is it the creditable hearsay of someone’s brother who’s girlfriend knew a friend whose neighbor was a fireman of the other firehouse who didn’t respond but spoke to a friend at the responding fire station who didn’t see it because he was directing traffic but spoke to anther fireman who heard “man Bob we didn’t touch the brakes responding to this call” having nothing to do with the prius at all, is that the source? Everyone is a reporter for the news now!

  29. Mickey says:

    Massi from the black box. They have these black boxes on all vehicles now. Also Massi leave the comical stuff for Jay Leno. Also Massi explain since you’re the all knowing is why the Prius being built in Japan hasn’t had any acceleration issues in Japan?

  30. Masi says:

    Yes Mickey, every vehicle has a “Black Box”. But Toyota had a issue with sharing that information and the availability of computers that could read the “Black Box”. So what’s the news source?

  31. Jason says:

    Mickey – I did see that news as well. As I’ve said before (and as you know as well), experts say that consumers often have their foot on the wrong pedal (it’s just human nature).

    Masi – Here’s a link to the story:

    DAB – Good advice. I wish I could take it. LOL.

    Hexmate – My degree is in engineering. Happy to email you a copy.

  32. Brent says:

    I am 50 years old and I have owned seven toyota trucks from the small ones till now I own a Tundra. I will put it up against any full size truck out there for speed, longivity, comfort, quality and workmanship. I’ve pulled trees up by the roots, pulled Fords and Chevy’s out of the mud and never thought twice about not going anywhere off road. Never in my lifetime have I had trouble with them running off cliffs or all of the sudden acceeraliting wide open. Maybe if it were to happen ! the transmission has a nutural and a key which can shut the engine off. Duh.

  33. danny says:

    my 2010 tundra d/c suddenly surged forward today and i almost ran over a fence at the local bank. Stupid me, i was trying to back out of a parking space and had inadvertantly put it in drive instead of reverse. But you know, people don’t make mistakes……. hmmmmm ….. who can i blame??

  34. Jason says:

    Brent – I hear ya.

    Danny – I say sue Toyota! LOL!

  35. Hexmate says:

    Well this is pretty juicy stuff here.

    Consultants say interference in vehicle electronics is possible.

    “Studies have shown that Toyota has had more complaints about unintended acceleration over the past decade than any other automaker.”

  36. Hexmate says:

    Jason said: “Brent – I hear ya. Danny – I say sue Toyota! LOL!”

    I think the lawyers are the ones laughing all the way to the bank. They had a big meeting in California last week to map out their strategies – not good for Toyota.

  37. Hexmate says:

    Brent said: “I will put it up against any full size truck out there for speed, longivity, comfort, quality and workmanship.”

    May the best truck win Brent. Right now Chevy is doing the winning because you see people vote with their wallet.

  38. Hexmate says:

    Mickey said: “Hexmate I’m not the one who challenges everything, and everyone on this site…”

    Mickey why is it when you get backed into a corner you immediately cop a plea? I find it extemely interesting that you have a double standard for posting comments here. Well pal since this is a free country then I think it only fair to be able to speak honestly don’t you? Now why don’t you think of something to say that will qualify you to challenge the opposing view points. Since you want to challenge other peoples credentials why don’t you post yours?

  39. Hexmate says:

    Hmm… it sure is perplexing that Toyota has more complaints against it over the last 10 years for unintended acceleration than any other manufacturer. Nobody else have drive by wire?

  40. Hexmate says:

    Jason said: “Hexmate – My degree is in engineering. Happy to email you a copy.”

    Oh, webmaster engineering? Hmm… I didn’t know that had an area of concentration in automotive. Must be a new focus grouping. I don’t need a copy, besides those things can be created too easily nowadays.

    [Jason’s Note: This is a great example of Hexmate’s ‘style.’ After careful consideration, I feel this type of behavior isn’t conducive to the site, so he has been banned. You can read 165 comments from Hexmate here – – many of which exhibit the same behavior.]

  41. Hexmate says:

    Wow! Looks like Toyota’s incentives are creating some disturbing results.

    Resale values on some of Toyota’s key models already have taken a hit since its unintended-acceleration crisis erupted six weeks ago.

    “Toyota is performing well below what would normally be expected of the brand,” said Jonathan Banks, senior director of editorial and data services at NADA Used Car Guide.

    For example, on March 8 the average wholesale price of a 2007 four-cylinder Toyota Camry was $10,784, down 4 percent from the Jan. 25 average price, Banks said, citing AuctionNet data.

    In contrast, Camry’s competitors rose in price. The increases ranged from 3 percent for the 2007 Honda Accord to 12 percent for the Chevrolet Malibu.

  42. Hexmate says:

    Uh oh! This could be the smoking gun.

    Auto manufacturer Toyota warned dealerships in 2002 that Camry owners were complaining about throttles surging and recommended adjustments in an electronic control unit to fix the problem, according to a document obtained by CNN.
    The technical service bulletin went to every U.S. Toyota dealership in late August 2002 after some customers reported their vehicles were speeding up unexpectedly.

    “Some 2002 model year Camry vehicles may exhibit a surging during light throttle input at speeds between 38-42 mph,” the bulletin states. “The Engine Control Module (ECM) calibration has been revised to correct this condition.”

  43. Jason says:

    Hexmate – It’s clear to me that your heading the same direction on this post that you did on the Sierra-Silverado post. So, here’s an equation for you: Hexmate=banned. Go find another place to talk without listening.

    Update to all commenter’s: At some point, personal attacks will get you banned. Hexmate’s comments about my lack of credentials and accusation that I’m lying about my background aren’t enough in themselves to get banned…it’s the fact that it’s about the 20th time Hexmate has done this. See more here:

  44. Mickey says:

    Again Hexmate you try to change things and not show your credentials. Now you want to see mine. Well I guess since you work at a chevy dealership gives youthe credentials. Well guy been there done that at Banner Chevrolet and Mossy Olds in New Orleans. Did you ever go to General Motors school? Again done that. Now grow up! You attack Jason for engineering degree but yet you still don’t state your credentials.

  45. […] blog titled “Toyota Crash Victim Speaks Out Against Media Smearing Automaker” exploits my cache as […]

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