Alarmist News Reporting

While it shouldn’t surprise me to have news programs try to increase ratings by alarming the public, I was quite disappointed by NBC’s Nightly News on Saturday. Here’s my letter to them:

On Saturday’s Nightly News, you had a story about the Toyota Recall. In the story, you highlight a retired orthopedic surgeon who had an issue with his 2005 Toyota Highlander hybrid. This model vehicle is NOT part of the current recall and either you know something that Toyota doesn’t or your story is trying to alarm the public. The recall only covers certain new model Highlanders; as an owner of a 2003 Highlander, I didn’t pay much attention to it. Your story didn’t make it clear that this story had nothing to do with the current recall. While the doctor highlighted may have had issues with his vehicle, I think it is quite irresponsible for you to do a story on an issue that has nothing to back it up; one person had an issue with an older car.

I would appreciate seeing a clarification to this story.

We’ll see if NBC does anything. Toyota does have a huge problem, but this story could likely make it even worse.

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