James Sikes and the Toyota Media Machine

One tactic to gain control of public opinion is to flood the search engines with your side of events. It helps if you have Internet sites that are large with many links to them, i.e., a lot of weight in the Google search engine algorithm. Like Toyota.

A concerted media campaign is underway to discredit James Sikes' claims of a runaway Toyota. Let's take a look at what popped up for the search term "James Sikes" over the last 24 hours and landed on the first page of Google results for "James Sikes."

Prius Chat Forums are saying that James Sikes' claims "are more fiction than fact." The home page is covered with stories accusing James Sikes of lying, deliberately trying to wear down his brakes to overheat them, and videos purporting to show James Sikes had to be lying. This web page is a an orchestrated effort of a team of people to get a message out into the public: don't believe James Sikes. There are articles, graphics, several videos professionally done, online chat groups, listservs, and even more. It had to take at least twenty people to put this message together on that web page. And the messages are all the same.

Toyotapedia.com has an article calling James Sikes' runaway Toyota story a hoax complete with a Fox news clip.

Of course others have joined in attacking Mr. Sikes, well before the NTSB has finished their review. Not that they are so impartial in the Toyota matter anyway.


Runaway Toyota Prius - I Believe James Sikes

The executives of Toyota announced that no problems were found in the Toyota driven by James Sikes that accelerated uncontrollably on a California highway. And you believe that, right?

Please remember another man was in prison for killing someone while driving a Toyota that accelerated on its own and would not be stopped. No one believed him, either.

But I especially love the attack mode that the PR flacks at Toyota used to discredit Mr. Sikes and restore the credibility of the Toyota brand. As if we, the American car-buying public, will believe two days of tests by Toyota engineers now. Of course, the Toyota brand is the point of all this Johnny-come-lately concern from Toyota executives. They probably fired the guy who told them about this problem years ago. They weren't worried until the American public found out. And somehow attacking the guy driving the runaway car is supposed to make us feel better. It doesn't. Mr Sikes still has more credibility.

I can't tell you how happy I am that I didn't buy a Toyota Prius now. I'm a sketchy driver under the best of conditions. Having to worry about a runaway car would be too much stress for me. Not to mention the others on the road.