Defensive? Understandable. A big story? Yes!

The Toyota make meeting was the hot ticket this morning. More than a dozen press people, camera crews included, waited outside the meeting room to ask dealers and factory reps the latest about the recall. Convention security waited outside, too. Just in case, I guess.

No ruckus broke out. Instead, Toyota dealers leaving the meeting described a generally upbeat affair. A few were defensive, blaming the media for the firestorm Toyota has found itself in during the last several weeks. They asked why the press hasn't covered recalls by the domestic manufacturers with the same frenzy.

Don't they remember the Ford Explorer rollover crisis in 2000? It dominated headlines and TV broadcasts for months and triggered Ford's financial collapse and the eventual ouster of CEO Jac Nasser.

Sure, you can draw contrasts in the ways each company handled their respective upheavals, and that's fair. And, yes, the press is certainly obligated to report the matter responsibly. But as with the Explorer recall, the media interest is explained by simple facts. In the case of Toyota: A factory shutdown, a stop-sales order and reports of accidents and deaths.

How is this not a big story?