Ted Frank, of the Manhattan Institute’s Point of Law  blog, posts a letter about the Toyota affair that he sent to the New York Times but that (naturally) went unpublished.

To the editor:

Peter Goodman takes issue with Toyota's public relations  but offers no alternative. According to Goodman, it would be a pr mistake for Toyota to blame driver error for the panic over "sudden acceleration." But more  and more  evidence exonerates Toyota and demonstrates that the allegations of an electronic defect were lies driven by self-interested trial lawyers trying to manufacture hysteria. How precisely should Toyota defend itself when faced with a financially-motivated attack on its reputation abetted by an unskeptical media if the truth is insufficient?
I would just point to one other important element in the situation faced by Toyota and all companies that come under similar attack: the hatred of businessmen fostered by the West’s adversary culture during the last two and a half centuries. Larry Ribstein has made a study  of how this hatred has seeped into a relentless barrage of anti-business movies. And he argues, rightly I am sure, that it matters. “It affects the story (or what some would call ‘narrative’) of business that is presented in countless films: the heroic artist (sometimes represented by journalists, gunfighters, athletes, entrepreneurs) struggling against the capitalists and often exposing the evils they would prefer to hide. Since the general public lacks a clear countervailing view, this narrative directly or indirectly affects decisions made in the jury room, voting booth, boardroom, and the halls and offices of Congress and administrative agencies.”


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