Lies About Toyota
August 10, 2001
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Toyota spends millions of dollars a year on advertising in the New York Times. How does the Times Company respond? By parroting lies that smear the company's reputation. An article in the business section of today's New York Times reports that "last spring. . . Toyota broadcast a series of television commercials that were deemed insensitive to blacks. One commercial showed a close-up of a black man's smile, with a gold Toyota sports utility vehicle carved in a tooth."
The Times article goes on to report that Toyota "had defended its television ads." And the Times article quotes the Rev. Jesse Jackson claiming that Toyota was "'embarrassed' by the television advertising campaign."
But as a Toyota press release available on the Web makes clear, the issue doesn't involve "a series of television commercials." The gold-tooth ad to which the Times refers wasn't a "commercial" but, as Toyota puts it, "a promotional postcard available for free in racks located in nightspots, fitness centers, coffee houses and other locations frequented by the young and style-conscious." Another ad to which some blacks objected was a 1998 print ad that was placed in Jet, a black-owned magazine.
The only television commercial that has been questioned, the Toyota release makes clear, "was for an athletic shoe retailer and is in no way connected to Toyota, nor does it contain a Toyota vehicle."
It's amazing how many facts the Times manages to get wrong here. Not only were there no "television commercials," but there was no "series" of them and they weren't "broadcast" by Toyota. And how could Toyota have been "embarrassed" by a television campaign that didn't exist?
The Rev. Jesse Jackson managed to extract $8 billion from Toyota by threatening a boycott. Maybe if Toyota threatens to pull some of its advertising from the Times, the automaker can manage to extract a correction from the newspaper.
Product Endorsement: "If you ask my view of The New York Times, my answer is it is a very good paper." -- Butcher of Beijing Jiang Zemin, in an interview with the New York Times published in today's paper. The Times, while editorially supporting a soft line toward the Chinese Communists, has actually done some distinguished reporting on Communist Chinese espionage against America and on Communist China's human rights abuses. But today's issue of the Times passes along Mr. Jiang's party line without a word of reaction from the free Chinese on Taiwan or from spokesmen for human rights groups. The "interview" includes softball questions like "What more changes do you expect to see in China in the next five years?" A reader could start to understand why Mr. Jiang views the Times as "a very good paper."
Back to the Future: A weather story on the front page of today's New York Times reports that the temperature yesterday "broke the record for the date, 100 degrees set in 1949, back when people played canasta and men bought two-pants suits." Well, it may be news to the New York Times, but people still play canasta and you can still buy a suit with two pairs of pants.
'Moderate' Arabs: A dispatch from Washington in the international section of today's New York Times refers to "friendly moderate Arab states where restive populations are angered by Israel's policy of killing certain Palestinians it regards as terrorists." In this camp the Times places Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan. How "moderate" are these countries that the Times claims are "moderate"? Well, as the Middle East Media Research Institute has documented, the Saudi ambassador in London, Ghazi Al-Quseibi, wrote recently in Al-Hayat calling for a repetition of the Arab attack on Israel that took place on Yom Kippur of 1973. "I warn you that entirely ruling out the option of war from the agenda, is the surest guarantee for the continuation of Israel's superiority," he wrote. Saudi Arabia is so "moderate" that, according to the most recent U.S. State Department human rights report on Saudi Arabia, "Freedom of religion does not exist. Islam is the official religion and all citizens must be Muslims. The Government prohibits the public practice of other religions." And, according to the same State Department report, in Saudi Arabia, "Women legally may not drive motor vehicles and are restricted in their use of public facilities when men are present. Women must enter city buses by separate rear entrances and sit in specially designated sections. . . .Women are not admitted to a hospital for medical treatment without the consent of a male relative." This, by the Times's definition, apparently, is "moderate."
As for Egypt, it's so "moderate" and "friendly," that, as Senator McConnell wrote in the Washington Post last month, "Egypt's government-backed press vilifies America and Israel. In one newspaper, a cartoon shows Uncle Sam handing sacks of money to a bearded Jew, who in turn is throwing missiles at an Arab. Another depicts former prime minister Ehud Barak as Adolf Hitler, standing atop the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem with Arab blood dripping from his clenched fists. Readers of this paper may recall a May 1 advertisement in which an Egyptian newspaper is quoted: 'Thanks to Hitler, of blessed memory, who, on behalf of the Palestinians, revenged in advance against the most vile criminals on the face of the earth. Although we do have a complaint against him for his revenge on them was not enough.'"
Most laughable is the Times claim that "restive populations are angered by Israel's policy of killing certain Palestinians it regards as terrorists." It seems never to have occurred to the Times that the Arab populations are angered not because of Israel's policy, but because of the miserable and repressive nature of their own regimes, which spread anti-Israel propaganda as a way of deflecting their people's anger. As for Jordan, the Black September uprising of 1970 shows that the native population there was (and still is) restive and angry not because of Israel's policies but because of the PLO's.
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