RUSH: This is from AOL News: "Has Toyota Coverage Driven Public a Bit Crazy? -- Once lauded for leading the industry in vehicle safety and reliability, Toyota has undergone a stark reversal of fortune in the past five months. The company has recalled at least 10 million vehicles worldwide since November 2009 due to" a variety of things. "Yet recently a number of writers have come to the defense of the embattled Japanese automaker, suggesting that sensationalist media coverage and trumped-up congressional outrage have grossly exaggerated the number and extent of mechanical or electrical problems in Toyota cars, fueling public hysteria." Bingo! Bingo. It's a classic definition of "Drive-By Media." Now, here's the companion story to this. I wish I would have voiced my suspicions the day this happened.
I wish I would have followed my instincts so I could do a "See, I Told You So." I wish when that guy claimed his accelerator got stuck in his Prius at 94 miles-an-hour and a cop stopped him, I would have said, "Something smells here." Fox News: "Man at Wheel of 'Out-of-Control' Prius Has Troubled Financial Past." We're looking at Bubble Boy 2 here or Balloon Boy 2 here. "The man who became the face of the Toyota gas pedal scandal this week has a troubled financial past that is leading some to question whether he was wholly truthful in his story. On Monday, James Sikes called 911 to report that he was behind the wheel of an out-of-control Toyota Prius going 94 mph on a freeway near San Diego. Twenty-three minutes later, a California Highway Patrol officer helped guide him to a stop, a rescue that was captured on videotape.
"Since then, it's been learned that: - Sikes filed for bankruptcy in San Diego in 2008. According to documents, he was more than $700,000 in debt and roughly five months behind in payments on his Prius; - In 2001, Sikes filed a police report with the Merced County Sheriff's Department for $58,000 in stolen property, including jewelry, a digital video camera and equipment and $24,000 in cash; - Sikes has hired a law firm, though it has indicated he has no plans to sue Toyota; - Sikes won $55,000 on television's 'The Big Spin' in 2006, Fox40.com reports, and the real estate agent has boasted of celebrity clients such as Constance Ramos of 'Extreme Home Makeover.' While authorities say they don't doubt Sikes' account, several bloggers and a man who bought a home from Sikes in 2007 question whether the 61-year-old entrepreneur may have concocted the incident for publicity or for monetary gain."
Well, he had $55,000 from being on The Big Spin in 2006. At least the possibility that this is not all together truthful has opened up, and what it is, it's this culture of ours. People have this insatiable desire to be known, insatiable desire for fame. Well, it's Facebook, MySpace, Space Butt whatever it is. People are vomiting every bit of information whatever it is about themselves, having no clue what it means to lose their privacy and their identity and anonymity. They all want to be on American Idol, on The Bachelor or The Bachelorette. What made me suspicious was the timing of it is the fact that the guy was able to go 94 miles-an-hour for so long without an injury or an accident to give time for video crews to get there and capture the whole thing while the cops stopped him.
All of this hysteria that's been raised about Toyota would help somebody pull off a hoax like this, because people would be more inclined to believe it, what with all the news about all these accelerators sticking and so forth. I don't know. My suspicions were something about this was wrong, primarily because every bit of it was on TV. We saw every bit of it, and then we heard the 911 call. (interruption) I don't know. I just... I can't get any deeper than that, Snerdley. Just my instincts. I'm not doing a "See, I Told You So." I wish I voiced my sentiments. The reason I didn't because it was just a wild opinion, and nothing other than that. People would say "rumor," and I didn't want to be responsible for starting that. But apparently other people began to look into it because they had similar doubts, questions or what have you.