April 25, 2007

A HousingPANIC plea to the mainstream media of America

Wake the f*ck up and do your job.

Stop reporting NAR and US government flawed housing data and spin as fact. At least report the margin of error and the errors with the reports, and do your own analysis of the data. it's not hard, trust me. When we can predict your article and headline before you even write it, you know there's a problem.

Do not report their press release spin headlines as your headlines. Think before you write. And throw away your rolodex of realtors - their lies and BS are what got us into this mess.

Also, stop using The Corrupt David Lereah for quotes. At least refer to him as "the discredited mouthpiece of the National Association of Realtors" when you do lazily copy and paste quotes from him. And when you quote him blaming things like the bad weather for the housing crash, pull up weather.com and report on how the damn weather indeed was (trust us, it wasn't bad). Or report on what truly is causing housing to crash. Any fool knows it ain't the weather.

Bottom line, you have deservedly lost the trust of the American people. Your profession is withering away, along with your antiquated REIC supported business model.

Any of you involved in "rip and read" copy and paste jobs of NAR or Bush Administration press releases as news should be embarrassed to call yourselves reporters. And if you are being pressured to do such shoddy "reporting" by your REIC-influenced corporate masters, you should loudly resign, and seek new employment (or better yet, start a blog).

Enough is enough lazy reporters of America. We need Bernstein. We need Woodward. We need Cronkite. We need Murrow. You are failing us, your are failing yourselves, and you are allowing corrupt institutions and individuals to destroy what used to be a proud and fine profession.

Enough is enough. We're fed up and we're not going to take it anymore. And neither should you.


Anonymous said...

Amen Brutha

Anonymous said...

You need to have that "Twisted Sister" song, "We're not gonna' take it" playing in the background

Stuck in So Pa said...

"Enough is enough lazy reporters of America. We need Bernstein. We need Woodward. We need Conkrite. We need Murrow."

What a sorrowful statement. I fear we are never going to get reporters of their calibre back, ever! "You can't go home again"

Anonymous said...

Forget it. They buy TV and newspaper advertising, you don't.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see just one member of a major U.S. media hold the NAR's feet to the fire regarding how they estimate the "available inventory" of existing homes on the market each month. There are hundreds of sources on the Net that all indicate MLS inventory increased by 3-5% in March. These sources are local and regional MLS listings plus state Realtor associations. For example, Maryland Realtors said that active inventory increased from 35,015 in February to 38,414 in March. That's a 9.7% increase!

Yet, the NAR claims national inventory declined from 3.805 million to 3.745 million. It did no such thing. Where is the transparency in how NAR estimates inventory?

Anonymous said...

That pic looks like the HP troll, and he's "melting"!

David in JAX said...

Agree. I haven't seen any actual investigative reporting in years. Most of the news that I see is either a reprint of a poll taken by a professional polling company or trade group press release.

David said...

Hold on Realtors! Not so fast! The worst region for year over year percentage declines for March for existing home sales were in the West. The National Association of Realtors blames "Unusually bad winter weather in February" for "slowing sales that closed in March". However, the weather in the West for the month of February was better then normal. This would put a major whole in the Realtors spin that the weather was to blame for lousy sales. Despite nice weather in the West, there was still a 16.8% percentage decline in home sales compared to March 2006 [which was the largest percentage decline of any region]

Lars said...

"Mainstream Media"? Isn't that now blogs and internet outlets?
The alphabet channels, and most newspapers have lost credibility with me, as they have become agenda driven and not "unbiased reporters" of news. In fact, is there really unbiased reporting of anything now?

kitchenstove said...

The MSM is reporting on housing's demise, but they're very tentative about it and certainly not as thorough as they could be. I've often wondered if the sloppiness we see in the MSM these days is because of the whole Y2K mess. All during the late 90's the media was talking about how Y2K was going to end the world, then it didn't happen and a significant portion of the masses didn't trust the MSM anymore. I mean the tinfoil types never trusted them, but with Y2K the distrust had gone mainstream. They probably don't even trust themselves anymore. Now it's like they're scared to report on anything that might cause an unnecessary panic, so they sort of gloss over it or go about it in a half - assed way. Sensationalism is never the way to go, but neither is keeping things quiet. These guys have to know something is very wrong. Even if they have a vested interest in making things look good some would break rank because reporters are always itching to get a good story. Seems like most don't want to step out of the box on this one until they know for sure what it all means.

Anonymous said...

hey speaking of truth in the media, i give all Americans a big RED ALERT HEADS UP:

PBS - 9:00 -10:30 PM Tonight
The folks who have seen an advance say that Bill Moyers does a fine job explaining the media spin of lies that led to the Iraq War. And as one reviewer notes "Spending that 90 minutes will actually save you time because you'll never watch television news again - not even on PBS, which comes in for its own share of criticism."

As one reader writes in advance of the show...
"...the older I get, the more I think this country is so built on lies, half-truths, ancient mythology and anti-science that it'd collapse in a heap if you took it all away (what was that Jack Nicholson line??? Oh yeah, "YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!") Glad to see Moyers is coming back to PBS. Maybe one of these days honest and objective journalism will cycle back in (probably long after I'm gone). In the meantime, I'm counting on you and a few others...."
Meanwhile, we're wondering what Dennis Kucinich's future will hold since he has introduced impeachment articles against Dick Cheney. May even come up for a House vote today.

keith said...

The new home sales numbers that came out today are so laughably unreliable that I'm not going to do a thread.

They might have been down 23.5% vs. last year, but we have no idea. Here's marketwatch:

Sales jumped 50% in the Northeast after falling 21% in February. Sales rose 9.8% in the Midwest in March after falling 23% in February.

In the West, sales fell 0.9% in March. Sales dropped 2.7% in the South, the seventh consecutive decline in the biggest region for new home sales.

The government cautions that its housing data are subject to large sampling and other statistical errors. Large revisions, as in January, are common.

The standard error of 12.6% is so high, in fact, that the government cannot be sure in most months whether sales rose or fell.


Anonymous said...

Most media (TV, radio, newspaper) is owned by only five major corporations. Did you expect from that you'd be honest, unbiased reporting?

Anonymous said...

I think you may be wasting your time and energy on this one, Keith.

The journalism "profession" is indeed withering.

On TV, it's a parade of plastic surgery bimbos and stuffed-shirt blowhards. The most important things to them are making sure their teeth are bleached white and that their hair is just so.

In the printed media, it's a bunch of left wingnuts who can wordsmith but not actually think.

Don't look to the business leaders in journalism -- the management of journalism organizations think the most important stories are things like Britney's latest garbage or who is the father of Anna Nicole's baby.

Oh, there are a few intellectually honest, hard-working journalists out there, but they are mighty hard to find these days.

Expecting this mostly mentally challenged crowd to sort out and honestly report on the housing mess is like asking your dog to play the french horn.

Anonymous said...

David said...
Hold on Realtors! Not so fast! The worst region for year over year percentage declines for March for existing home sales were in the West. The National Association of Realtors blames "Unusually bad winter weather in February" for "slowing sales that closed in March". However, the weather in the West for the month of February was better then normal. This would put a major whole in the Realtors spin that the weather was to blame for lousy sales. Despite nice weather in the West, there was still a 16.8% percentage decline in home sales compared to March 2006 [which was the largest percentage decline of any region]
EXACTLY! You nailed it!

westwest888 said...

It's not even funny how misleading MSM is. Most readers only glance at the headline or read the first two paragraphs.

Bloomberg Headline: "New-Home Sales in U.S. Increased 2.6% to 858,000 Pace in March" [over February]

Bottom 1/3 of the article: "Compared with a year earlier, new home sales were down 23.5 percent, today's report showed."


Anonymous said...

You are all correct.

I was shocked that The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal fell for the N.A.R.-pimped sequential drop in monthly home sales.

But I shouldn't be. I used to be a mediocre newspaper reporter. Even so, I eventually advanced to The Wall Street Journal, whose rigorous standards at the time couldn't help but rub off.

But I was still lazy - greedy, too. I went to a six-figure job in PR; in other words, making a living by lying like a rug. After 9/11, I was laid off. So far, so good, Karma-wise.

But my comeuppance really began after a jobless year. So would my happy ending.

I wound up covering the two biggest companies in the circulation area of a mid-sized paper owned by a chain whose business-friendly reputation is an understatement.

The guilt of my squandered career brought me to Jesus. My line-by-line examination of SEC filings earned the grudging admiration of one of my companies. The other got me fired (actually, my editor told me "Don't be a gunslinger." I told him to shove it. A year of newsroom hilarity ensued).

So did a shut-up-and-go-away settlement which, combined with unemployment, approached half-a-year's salary. Embittered, my former employer challenged my unemployment benefits, but the state agreed with me that I had been wrongfully terminated.

I say this not just to gloat about being sadder, wiser and paid off (after all, I am posting anonymously, in line with my settlement). I say this to confirm all of your suspicions in every sense, including those that reflect poorly on me.

You see, the product involved in those stories that got me fired still exists...with warning labels slapped on by a Bush-era regulator a year later.

American journalism is generally lazy and utterly beholden to business: not only advertisers, but Wall Street, which cracks the whip over publicly-traded media companies that also wish to remain in the good graces of the Federal Media Safety Commisson, b/k/a the mergers division of the Dept. of Justice.

Sure, there's still good journalism. The Wall Street Journal deserved its Pulitzers this year. The Boston Globe's prize-winning story about Bush's abuse of signing statements may be the most important newspaper story so far this decade.

But too little, too late, just like my belated efforts (which were hardly Pulizer-worthy, but were, finally, competent journalism). Daily stumbles on stories like yesterday's -- not to mention the housing crash, and Bush's wars and treasons -- have soured the public on traditional journalism, probably forever.

But the blogoshpere...until Bush finds a way to shut you down, there's hope. Keep it real, and good luck!

Anonymous said...

Walter Cronkite? WTF? I'm going to puke the next time someone refers to him as "the most trusted man in America." Just like with today's "journalists," that SOB was just repeating what he was told to say.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure you know this, but a 'news' organization is a business first (i.e., be profitable). Product quality comes second. Advertisers butter their bread. Real estate is a MAJOR advertiser. Not so much the rental business.

Anonymous said...

Real Estate Markets Crash in Spain
April 25 (EIRNS)--"The specter of the explosion of the Spanish real estate bubble has appeared on the Madrid stock exchange," says today's Le Figaro. The Financial Times' Lex Column says, "In the past few days, Spanish real estate has exhibited all the signs of a bursting bubble." They report that the crisis was blamed on Valencia-based property developer Astroc Mediterraneo, which lost 9.5% yesterday alone, with a cumulative 70% drop in the past seven trading days, while Colonial lost 22% and Inmocaral fell 20%. The sell-off then propagated to the banks, as BBV Agentaria, Spain's second-largest, lost 3% and Banco de Bilao and Santander fell about 2.5%. Some 24% of all Spanish loans are to construction and property development companies. This follows a crazy year of speculation where some of the real estate companies saw their profits grow tenfold.

Anonymous said...

Wait a minute... David Lereah claims bad weather is the cause of existing home sales while Bloomberg reports:

April 25 (Bloomberg) -- Purchases of new homes in the U.S. rose for the first time in three months in March as unusually warm weather and incentives brought out more buyers.

I should watch The Weather Channel more for a heads up on residential market activity and trends.

Anonymous said...

Here is an accurate reporting of the underlying housing bubble at www.larouchepac.com

According to this report there is more than $100 billion in losses being covered up at the moment.

Securitizers Who Created Housing Bubble Are Now Hiding Big Losses
April 25, 2007 (EIRNS)--The next few months are likely to see extremely large securities losses breaking out in ``mortgage-backed securities'' (MBS) which have been the international banks' essential tool in creating the now-exploding U.S. and other housing bubbles. These losses, which various investment bank reports are now estimating at up to $100 billion, may, in fact, be much larger than that as the fall in home prices accelerates. They will hit those banks, and commercial banks as well, exposing how worthless are the large part of their assets which are based on the mortgage bubbles.

Bloomberg news service on April 24 reported a Merrill Lynch estimate that the MBS of 2006, the most hyperinflated bubble year, have now sunk in value by up to 37%. The large bond fund Pacific Investment Management (PIMCO) estimated losses at about $75 billion. New York Timescolumnist Gretchen Morgenson reported Lehman Brothers' estimate that MBS securities losses so far are $20 billion, but will rise during 2007 to 11-13% of the entire outstanding volume of “subprime” mortgages, which is over $1.5 trillion.

Since 2005, two-thirds of all mortgages have been “securitized,” sold by the lending companies to investment banks which in turn package and sell them as high-profit securities, building a huge mortgage bubble over $15 trillion. Half of all the banking system's assets are now real-estate mortgage-based.

Since the investment banks' MBS markets are unregulated, the hedge funds, banks, and other funds holding these securities are so far succeeding in hiding these huge losses, simply because the credit rating agencies have obliged them by not “officially” downgrading the falling mortgage securities. This thin wall will collapse soon, and the crash will be on, as the fall in home prices nationwide gets serious.

The real plunges in market value of homes are still to come in future months. The National Association of Realtors ruefully reported on April 24 that March's U.S. existing-home sales fell by 8.4% from February (the largest month-to-month drop since 1989), and are down 11.3% from March 2006. The median existing-home price in March was still only 0.3% below March 2006, and 0.9% below for single-family homes. But the separate Schiller/Case home sales report, says that March prices in the 20 largest metro-area markets, were 1.5% down from March 2006; the unsold inventory of homes rose from 6.8 to 7.3 months. “No bottom in sight for the housing market,” was one S&P analyst's response to the unexpectedly large drop.

Anonymous said...

MSM has been taken over by business suits. Suits love to optimize that ROI. One knob to turn is to reduce costs, the other is to increase revenue. Costs can be reduced by imposing deadlines that force "journalists" to be more cut and paste in their production. It is all about the advertising.

Anonymous said...

Here is a quote from Marianne Zoll of Re/Max 5 Star in today's Sarasota Herald Tribune. Sarasota MLS has a 110 week supply of homes at the current sales rate.
She states " I'd like to make an appeal to everybody who does not need to sell to take your home off the market".
Right! That should take care of the problem. There are too many people trying to sell. That's from one of those so called real estate experts.

Anonymous said...

This is the result of MSM printing it's lies and propaganda. Blogs rule and the people will prevail.

FAS-FAX Preview: Circ Numbers To Take Another Big Hit

By Jennifer Saba

Published: April 25, 2007 12:30 PM ET

NEW YORK Anyone thinking the declines in circulation should ease when the Audit Bureau of Circulations releases its spring numbers on Monday will be disappointed.

According to industry sources, overall daily circulation for the six months ending March 2007 is expected to sink approximately 2.5% while Sunday will drop around 3.0%.

Yet again, major metro papers are bearing the brunt of the responsibility for the declines. Papers that are showing daily drops of 5% or more, according to circulation sources, include: The Dallas Morning News, The Miami Herald, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Star Ledger in Newark, N.J., The Orange County (Calif.) Register, The Austin American-Statesmen, the San Jose Mercury News, and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

The Staten Island Advance reported that Monday-Friday circulation was down 3.9% to 59,461. Sunday dropped 4.6% to 73,203.

Gary Pruitt, CEO of McClatchy, explained during a Q1 earnings call on Tuesday that his company will continue to experience declines in circulation. (It was not too long ago that McClatchy could boast of constant circ gains). To give a taste of what is to come, during Q1, McClatchy executives said daily circulation fell 3.6% and Sunday dropped 3.9%.

Some city papers eked out increases, including The Indianapolis Star, which should be one of the biggest metro gainers. Daily circulation (Monday-Friday) rose 2.4% to 261,405 copies and Sunday was up 2% to 354,312 copies, according to Bryan Sturgeon, vice president of circulation at the Indy Star. The paper benefited when the Colts made (and won) the Super Bowl and by adding Thursday editions to Sunday-only subscriptions.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press grew its daily circulation (Monday-Friday) 0.3% to 191,736. Sunday is virtually flat up 0.1% to 251,865. Also encouraging: the paper attributed the increases to gains made in home-delivered copies.

The Kansas City Star's daily circulation (Monday- Saturday) slipped 0.7% -- a victory these days -- to 261,367. Sunday circulation was weaker, down 2.3% to 359,255.

Other papers that are expected to report small advances (or at least down less than 1%) in daily circulation, according to the same sources, include: The Charlotte Observer, The Denver Post, The San Antonio Express-News, the combined circulation of The Salt Lake Tribune and The Deseret Morning News, the St. Louis Post Dispatch, the St. Petersburg Times, The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, and The Oklahoman.

The Philadelphia Inquirer has said it is up 0.6% to about 352,600 in daily circulation.

At the big three national papers, The Wall Street Journal reported that daily circulation rose 0.6% to 2,062,000. USA Today is expected to show gains, according to sources.

The New York Times, however, will most likely be flat to down according to comments made by executives during a Q1 earnings call last week. "We are expecting circulation declines at our properties, slight declines to mid-single digits," said New York Times Co. CEO Janet Robinson during the call. She attributed the drops to the trimming of third-party circulation -- part of the other-paid category, which also includes employee, hotel, and Newspapers in Education copies -- and a focus on individually paid categories.

That refrain is likely to repeated often next week since publishers are still paring down other-paid circulation considered to be "less valuable" by advertisers. It's a trend that started well over two years ago, thanks to the circulation scandals of 2004, when it raised the level of scrutiny on the data.

Gary Pruitt attributed half of the McClatchy decrease to the culling of third-party circulation and the typical run rate, meaning the natural losses in circulation due to readers flocking to the Internet for news.

He said that when ABC relaxed the third-party rule in the 1990s, McClatchy opposed the moved. While the company was more judicious using third-party circulation, Knight Ridder wasn't. "Many newspaper companies used [third-party] to grow circulation. McClatchy didn't rely on it to a great extent but Knight Ridder did," he said during the call.

In effect McClatchy is busy trimming third-party circulation from the 20 former Knight Ridder papers it acquired last year.

Frank Whittaker, vice president of operations at McClatchy, said during the call that while circulation is falling the company is concentrating on home-delivered copies and its raising retention rates.

While the overall numbers look bleak, there is a renewed focus on the part of publishers to increase individually paid circulation and to lower the churn rate. Since the industry is selling fewer copies, when they do snag a subscriber they want to make it count.

John Murray, vice president of circulation at the Newspaper Association of America, pointed to a heartening trend amidst the troubling data: stops are down and retention is up.

On Tuesday, Scarborough Research released a report measuring the total audience of 135 papers in 74 markets. Many papers increased their reach by several percentage points when their online properties were taken into account.

Furthermore, the Newspapers Association of America released record-breaking online newspaper readership figures on Monday. During Q1, newspaper Web site traffic rose 5.3%, hitting an all-time high.

BushLuv said...

"Wake the f*ck up and do your job."

The media is doing their job. You just don't understand what their job is.

Kali ExPat said...

As a so-called member of the "MSM", I can tell you the following facts:

1. Most reporters a emotional gossip hounds suffering from idealistic meglo-mania, living in their own fantasy worlds that have no basis in reality. They are usually average intelligence and completely lack to ability to inductively/deductively reason current affairs, as such they resort to emotional catchphrases that are currently in-vogue.

2. Most reporters have been have been delegated by their employers/editors to specifically report on certain areas of interest, and only within the context of "sound-bites", which are heavily parsed by editorial staffs as to not lose the attention span of the average sheeple.

3. Financial & goobermint assigned reporters become so in-bedded they generally regurgitate whatever press releases/statements are made by their "sources", without any thought at all.

4. Advertising revenue & corporate protectionism takes precedent over good reporting, thus news agencies will NEVER bite the hand that feeds.

5. News agencies purposely over-look ANY information that could be construed as news that doesn't fit the above classifications, until a tragedy or crisis develops that forces their hand.

Real journalism is dead in Amerika, and has been since corporations and the USGOV lost spin-control of the Vietnam War.

Remember, mass mind-control is a science that has been constantly evolving over the last several millennia by whatever powers-that-be, and as such has become immersed in our culture as the status-quo (e.g. religion, politics, economics, etc.)

You're only a fraud and a criminal if the MSM says so ;-)

Ask the Bush Crime Family, Cheney, and Halliburton if you don't think so...

Natural Eyebrows said...

When everybody else was buying GWB's baloney, these guys were shopping in a better market. Check it out.


Doktaire said...

Why do we leave the reporting of vital housing statistics to the people who have a vested interest. We need an independent government system, do we not?

sojourner said...

"Here is a quote from Marianne Zoll of Re/Max 5 Star in today's Sarasota Herald Tribune. Sarasota MLS has a 110 week supply of homes at the current sales rate.
She states " I'd like to make an appeal to everybody who does not need to sell to take your home off the market".
Right! That should take care of the problem. There are too many people trying to sell. That's from one of those so called real estate experts."

Keith - how about a clip from the end of Trading Place. After our protagonists manipulate the FCOJ market, they then run the futures pit and make a fortune.

At the the end Dan Ackroyd yells, Buy em" - I feel like doing this in Sarasota just to see what happens. Of course, it would be crying wolf, nobody would buy anything.

SPECTRE of Deflation said...

"It's hard to get a man to understand something when his job depends on him not understanding it."

There's also the greed factor that shouldn't be underestimated in the equation.

speedingpullet said...

Hear, hear Kali Expat...I'd like to add a # 6...

...'reporters should by all means neccessary pander to people's nubbernecking tendencies for as long as humanly possible, because it stops them from having to think about other things. And, besides, if the train wreck/shooting/interstate pileup/sick child (insert disaster of choice) happens less than 200 miles away from your bureau, its a lot cheaper than reporting news from Iraq".

Don't know if anyone caught the fine 4-part series on 'Frontline' recently about the state of the media. Now that news is supposed to be 'cost effective', nothing that doesn't bring in advertising bucks is considered too expensive.

So - mass coverage of the Virginia Tech massacre for 5 days straight - and nothing about the fact that 200 people lost their lives in Baghdad in the biggest car bombing in recent history.

I'm not saying that the Virginia Tech tragedy wasn't newsworthy - far from it - but despite the almost obscene interest the likes of CNN took in the whole thing, breathlessly reporting every twitch and turn continuously for five frikkin days, now its over, no mention of the bigger implications; like - what needs to be done to help people with mental illness, or how to strengthen gun laws so that it doesn't happen again.

No - now its on to Stephen Hawking going weightless, an apartment building in Istambul collapsing, and the ethics of a hospital pulling life support on a dying baby.

These are, at best, fluff human-interest stories. I mean Miles O'Brien ffs, 'standing by' at Cape Canaveral to tell us all about Stephen Hawking's weighless flight....?

Seriously, I can find more news in the National Enquirer.

cool hand luke said...

Opinion Journal
from The Wall Street Journal Editorial Page

The Blog Mob
"Written by fools to be read by imbeciles."

“The participatory Internet, in combination with the hyperlink, which allows sites to interrelate, appears to encourage mobs and mob behavior.”
“Of course, once a technosocial force like the blog is loosed on the world, it does not go away because some find it undesirable. So grieving over the lost establishment is pointless, and kind of sad. But democracy does not work well, so to speak, without checks and balances. And in acceding so easily to the imperatives of the Internet, we've allowed decay to pass for progress.”

HaHaHa.. Checks and balances??? Oh well, forewarned is forearmed or something like that.