(If you want to know why most local newspapers suck, and completely failed their readers when it comes to the housing bubble, just read this.)
So many things had to go wrong for the housing bubble to grow to the point that it did. And one of the biggest reasons was the failure of the mainstream media, especially the local papers around the country.
Take Phoenix for example. When it was obvious to sane people (and a few bloggers) that a classic financial mania was underway, you had the Arizona Republic and their unqualified reporter on the beat Rolodex-of-Realtors Catherine Reagor allowing cheerleading REIC to spin unchecked about how everything would be fine, that it was a new paradigm, and that prices wouldn't go down. And we all know how that turned out.
Making matters worse, papers like The Republic were full of REIC ads - a good 10%+ of their revenues in a day and age when they needed every penny they could get now that revenue is plummeting, and you just know they did everything they could to not bite the hand that was feeding them. Report on the housing crash? No way! They're paying our salaries! Let's have them write articles for us!
I swear, most days picking up the Arizona Republic during the mania felt like it was the Housing Times. Or the Hustler for Housing, complete with centerfolds.
The Republic even lets the most discredited realtor in Phoenix, Greg Swann, pollute their paper with a column parading as news with no fact checking or disclaimer (or warning for bad advice!).
America is a mess today because the MSM failed in its traditional oversight role. And I think it's blogs who are helping right this ship. We're now serving in the vacuum created by the downfall of newspapers.
So I think it's time to declare the death of the local REIC-supported media - newspaper and TV. Goodbye, and good riddance I say. I hope to see strong national print, online and broadcast media, which hopefully has the resources and ethics to do its job, although that is suspect too (Fox News). But just look at your local paper, and its sea of real estate ads and fluff stories, or god forbid turn on the death-and-destruction car-crash-and-murder local TV news, and you'll see what I mean.
Goodbye Arizona Republic. Goodbye LA Times. Goodbye Las Vegas Review Journal. Goodbye Miami Herald. You failed your readers, you failed America, you got polluted by the REIC, and now we all pay the price.