Sunday, July 27, 2014

"OMG! - they know!" department -- Christopher Reynolds thunders at CNN to stop

Stop, or else

Some choice quotes from a letter that Toyota Chief Legal Officer Chris Reynolds wrote to a CNN producer around February, 2012, long after the DOJ criminal investigation was launched.

"Why it is that CNN intends to proceed with its plans to air a story about this document featuring so called “experts” and consumer “advocates” paid by plaintiffs’ lawyers now suing Toyota for money. We frankly do not understand why it is that CNN appears to be willing to rely upon and publicize the biased commentary of those with a financial interest in litigation against Toyota with no scrutiny whatsoever of their motives or the support for their claims."

"This is particularly irresponsible" 

"We view this story as an attempt by plaintiffs’ lawyers suing Toyota
for money to manufacture doubt about the safety of Toyota’s vehicles in the absence of
any scientific evidence whatsoever. The studies conducted by the NHTSA and NASA
got it right – there is no evidence that Toyota’s electronics can cause uncommanded
acceleration. It is ironic and disheartening that the very document at issue, which is
actually evidence of Toyota’s robust vehicle design and pre-production testing, is the
apparent centerpiece for CNN’s broadcast.

"At this point, we are unaware of the other elements of CNN’s planned broadcast. To
the extent that the broadcast will consist of other inaccurate commentary cobbled
together to leave the viewer with the impression that Toyota’s vehicles are unsafe, we
are profoundly disappointed with this course of action. Toyota has been accountable for
the safety of its products. CNN owes its viewers and the American public the same
level of candor and commitment to journalistic integrity.

"Please note that Toyota reserves the right to take any and every appropriate step to
protect and defend the reputation of our company and its products from irresponsible

and inaccurate claims made in CNN’s upcoming broadcast."

[I have omitted Chris's "blah blah blah soooo technical you can't understand it anyway" substantive arguments here; suffice that they have been largely dismembered by experts and are actually egregiously misleading.] Perhaps I will post the give and take on that another day.

What we have left are his bluster and his threats. Where does spin end and fraud begin? When Chris wrote these words, he was undoubtedly aware that a grand jury had found probable cause for a charge of fraud.