June 20, 2007

I've now completely given up on the MSM's ability to report the news

Hat-tip Housingdoom for the permits graph...
It was fascinating to see 99% of headlines yesterday shout out "Housing Starts Down 2%", when indeed, housing starts were down 24%. Twenty-Four Percent. Two-Four.

Yes, 24% versus last year. The only number that really matters. And to spin permits as "up" is like spinning Bush is "soaring"

I hate the mainstream media. They're incompetent, and when they're not being incompetent, they're corrupt.

And because there is no longer a fourth estate, we get into the messes we're in today.

Here's a columnist from Motley Fool who did his job yesterday. Voice in the wilderness.

May Housing Starts Tumble

Housing starts came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.47 million, down 2.1% from the downwardly revised April estimate, the Census Bureau said Tuesday. On a year-over-year basis, the May housing starts dropped 24.2%.

But here's a selection of headlines from papers that should be shut down:

Housing starts fell 2% in May; building permits rose 3%
US housing starts fall 2% in May
US Housing starts decline 2.1% in May
May Housing Starts Fall 2.1%, but Permit Activity Picks Up
Housing Starts: Is the Worst Behind Us?


Anonymous said...

Why is anyone surprised by this? Reporters are $40K a year earning idiots.

Anonymous said...

Neither the newspapers, nor their readership know the significance of the difference between MoM and YoY.

What's the point of even reporting the statistcs? The general populace may as easily be told what to believe without the numbers as with.

Anonymous said...

What's even funnier is the response to the Business Week article:

Nervous Nelly

Jun 19, 2007 7:24 PM GMT
I certainly hope we are near the bottom - I am hoping that the Feds are looking back through history at all of the mistakes that were made and doing everything humanly possible not to make them again! Do not raise interest rates! Keep the money affordable and flowing in order to keep the economy healthy and moving at a reasonable rate! Penalize the mortgage lenders for being greedy fools and get them to actually qualify people for what they can afford! Educate minority home buyers and any others who need educating about what type of loans they are agreeing to. Stop the madness, Feds! Put on your thinking caps and do the right thing!

Anonymous said...

the free press is becoming a fanasty

Anonymous said...

Cheer up Keith. Today's headlines: Gas now less $3.00 per gallon.

See, yesterday $3.01 per gallon. Today $2.99.

Everything's all better now...

Anonymous said...

"Building permits, which signal future construction plans, rose in May by 3.0 percent to a pace of 1.501 million units.

Economists had been expecting the permits to hit a 1.471 million unit rate."

Yeehaw! More idiots building more dead wood!

blogger said...

Diana Olick at CNBC on this today:

I had a little trouble with the anchor this morning. She said the housing starts number was good news, “better than expected”, despite the fact that it was down. And then the building permits number was “disappointing.” I don’t blame her at all for the characterizations because a) she probably didn’t write them, and b) it’s really a matter of how you’re looking at the numbers and of course who you are.


Anonymous said...

Keith, with what you know already, you should retire in 5 years a very rich man.

Sheeple do not want to know the truth, thats what makes them sheeple. They want to get their asses cleaned, because if they didn't, they would 'bone up' on a reality check, but nooooooo.

This housing debacle party is just getting started.

Anonymous said...

I hate the mainstream media. They're incompetent, and when they're not being incompetent, they're corrupt.

As Spanky from the Little Rascals used to say, And How!


GT said...

'housing starts'
it needs to start being called 'housing ends'

Anonymous said...

Here's what I would like to see:

Someone needs to analyze these "revisions" for a clear pattern of deception. Seems to me, that every time bad news is about to hit, they downwardly revise the previous months data to soften the news or spin it positive.

Seems to me that if someone did some good analysis on the pattern of downward revisions and showed a clear pattern of deception, it would be comparable to the dot-com problem of analysts recommending stocks they own.

Cause then you could show a pattern of deception and have a finger to point at. Might actually create enough media to put a light on the problem and get it to stop.

If anyone knows where I can go to get both the original data on housing starts and prices, as well as the revisioned data, I'll do the work.


Anonymous said...

If you look at the actual data from the Census Bureau here:


you find an even worse story.

Housing starts were actually down 26.9% from May of last year. It's even worse if you look at single homes cause the data includes multi-family structures.

Single family home starts were down 29% in May!!!

You have to go back to 1998 see housing starts that low.

Does that mean we'll have 1998 prices soon (inflation adjusted of course as well as adjusted to current mortagage rates).

If you assume inflation of 3.5% and 8% mortgage rates in 1998 instead of the 7% we have now, you are looking at an 8% to 10% price drop nationwide and a 25% to 35% drop in most parts of California.

Sounds about right to me.

Anonymous said...

You should just be able to look up the original and revised government reports, is that at the GAO?

Anonymous said...

They can run, but they cant hide.

Anonymous said...

Keith, you headlined: "I've now completely given up on the MSM's ability to report the news".

Except of course when you post one of your irrational rants about Iran.

Right, Keith?

Can't believe a word the MSM prints about housing, the economy or even politics; but when the MSM prints stuff about Iran you act like it's holy writ.

Right, Keith?

Anonymous said...

The media is out to sell its self, not report the truth. They report the truth if and only if it doesn't irritate their advertisers.

Anonymous said...

"Except of course when you post one of your irrational rants about Iran."

You know, Keith, he has a point here.

Anonymous said...

Idiots earn at all income levels.

Some of the worst are earning 6-figure salaries.


Anonymous said . . .
Why is anyone surprised by this? Reporters are $40K a year earning