Wall Street Journal Reporter Misleads Readers, NPR and Huff Post on Toyota Story

Seems we may have been taken in. But we're in good company, including the Wall Street Journal and National Public Radio.

On July 15th, we ran a blog post entitled "Has Toyota Been Right All Along?" reporting that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), after downloading data from "black boxes" taken from Toyota-made vehicles whose owners complained about unintended acceleration (UA), said they found a high incidence of driver error and no other recorded problems which caused the UA.

This meant, in plain English, that drivers were stepping on their gas pedals when they meant to hit the brakes. And it was our own government's automotive safety agency saying so.

We based our post on a Wall Street Journal article and an interview the author, WSJ reporter Mike Ramsey, did on National Public Radio.

The facts, though, according to NHTSA, are different from what this reporter had written.

The WSJ reporter cited his information as coming from people within NHTSA who had knowledge of these facts. NHTSA vociferously objected to that possible conjecture, saying Ramsey presented his information as coming from NHTSA, which NHTSA denied.

Another NPR reporter who tried to track down Ramsey's sources before he went on-the-air with NPR wasn't able to make contact with them.

WSJ reporter Ramsey, in the end, was relying on anonymous sources which NPR wasn't able to verify.

Here's the full story from NPR's own website: http://www.npr.org/blogs/ombudsman/2010/07/27/128805775/two-ways?ft=1&f=17370252

NPR and the WSJ are usually reliable sources. We apologize for any misunderstanding.