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NRO: our editor on Toyota; me on Reid

Our editor Walter Olson and I each had pieces that ran yesterday on National Review Online. Each of our columns helped shed light on the shenanigans of the plaintiffs' bar.

Walter's column unpacks the "Great Toyota Panic of 2010." Building upon the excellent investigations done by Ted Frank and Megan McArdle, Walter notes that, somehow, "those unseen and undetectable gremlins that hide in Toyota's electronic throttle controls" have it in for elderly drivers. And, Walter explains, we've been here before:

By far the most famous episode of sudden-acceleration panic is the 1986 Audi episode, which took years to fizzle out: Regulators in the United States, Japan, and Canada pronounced that they could find no explanation for the accidents other than "pedal misapplication" or, more bluntly, driver error. . . .
Why doesn't the mainstream press -- okay, in particular the networks and liberal newspapers -- do a better job of covering these issues? One reason is that -- this is unchanged since the 1970s -- both are willing to take their lead on coverage from the same trial-lawyer-linked consumer groups that help Henry Waxman to orchestrate his hearings. Indeed, some of the very same figures who pushed Audi's supposed guilt 25 years ago, such as Clarence Ditlow of the Ralph Nader-founded Center for Auto Safety, have been showcased both in the press and on Capitol Hill in recent weeks, usually with scant mention of their long records of inaccurate pro-litigation advocacy.

In a separate column, I continue to look at lawyers' influence over Washington politics, a theme I've been hitting on since we released our Trial Lawyers, Inc.: K Street report last month. This time, I place particular focus on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.):

Four of Reid's seven largest campaign donors are law firms, and these aren't corporate-law firms helping to structure the financials for Las Vegas casinos but rather out-of-state plaintiffs' firms, including asbestos firms in New York, Maryland, and Illinois, as well as a toxic-tort firm in California.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.