Manti Te’o and Journalism
The Manti Te’o hoax exposes how journalists rush to publish a story. The public has come to accept the shallow, TMZ-type sensationalism, and rarely do you see any in-depth examinations of topics that deserve such.
Here are real estate topics that should get more attention, and be examined regularly – who knows, the resulting stories might be sensational too!
1. Banks Not Foreclosing – Every day we see the media claiming that foreclosure counts are dropping, but they don’t ask why – they just assume it’s because people are making their payments. Have you heard any reporter ask whether the banks have just stopped foreclosing, and letting defaulters live for free?
2. Prices Going Up – When the median sales price is adjusted, everybody assumes that means “prices are going up”, and reporters leave it at that. There is no other discussion.
3. Short-Sale Fraud – Lenders (and taxpayers) are being defrauded of millions of dollars every day by realtors – has anybody looked into this? If you walked into a bank and tried to steal money, you’d go to jail – but in real estate, not only is nobody going to jail, but it is a practice that is encouraged by everyone in the industry.
4. The 6% Myth – It would be really helpful to examine how the commission rate relates to the service provided – a reporter would find very little connection.
5. Angelo Mozilo – How does this guy exist without the media chasing him around like a Kardashian? It was Countrywide’s standard policy FOR YEARS to fund loans with NO documentation as long as he buyer had a decent credit score and a 10% down payment. We saw towards the end how he was selling $17 million in Countrywide stock every five days, all while talking up the company. Yet he lives in obscurity, playing golf every day.
We as consumers don’t demand much, if anything, from the media – thus, they are beholden to advertisers and ratings. Think of the ratings if there were in-depth stories published about topics that affect people every day – or you could ask deadspin about theirs!