Tires, Trials, and Truth

Adam L. Penenberg’s retelling of the Ford-Firestone debacle is both a gripping court-room drama and an insightful investigation.

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This gripping account of the Ford-Firestone
debacle has all the elements of a Hollywood legal thriller — so it’s no surprise
that a film adaptation starring Michael Douglas is already in the works. The victim,
Donna Bailey, is a single mother who became a quadriplegic after an SUV crash.
Her lawyer, Tab Turner, is an affable crusader, equal parts Atticus Finch and Ralph
Nader. Ford and Firestone, meanwhile, implausibly deny any responsibility until
the bitter end. The little guy wins, of course: Bailey gets $27 million in legal
settlements and forces Ford lawyers to visit her hospital bed and apologize.

Beyond the courtroom drama, Tragic
Indifference
catalogs chilling facts: In a single decade, rollover-happy
Explorers killed more than 200 people and endangered millions. While exposes
and lawsuits mounted, each company blamed the other. Ford accused Firestone of making
shoddy tires. Firestone faulted Ford for underinflating their tires. They were both
right: Ford and Firestone had each cut corners, sacrificing safety on the altar
of profits.

Penenberg holds scant faith in government
regulation and says litigation is the best way to hold irresponsible corporations
accountable. Yet his narrative also shows how skilled corporations have become at
discreetly settling lawsuits — and getting back to business as usual.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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