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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Enough already...



When does “news” stop being news. Likely, when the media has beat the heck out of it to the point that the public just tunes it out, when it comes on. The news media likes bad news – wars, murders, robberies, natural disasters – anything that will have some pitiful or pathetic footage opportunities for “film at 11.” They get to barge into grieving families lives, camera crew and microphone in hand, and ask really stupid questions like “How do you feel now that your entire family has been wiped out?” or “What was your reaction to seeing your house burn down?”

On slow news nights, where there were only a few murders or robberies and no good film to show, they’ll resort to good old stand-bys like the real estate crisis in America. It’s always easy to find someone who’s house is in foreclosure or who lost a house already and ask them really dumb questions, like., “How’s it feel to be homeless?” or “What would you tell others who are about to lose their home?”

I, for one, am getting tired of these stories. They are nothing but exploitative opportunities for some footage of someone crying on camera. The media seldom has time to really explore the issues, so they just go for the pitiful and pathetic angle and move on to the next commercial break. You just almost never see the media go back a week, a month or a year later to see how those people are doing, where did they go and what has become of them. They really don't care, so long as they got a sound-bite reaction for the next "news" show. The on-going coverage of the Hurricane Katrina story is a rare exception; but, even that story has a not-so-well-hidden media agenda - let's wack the dead horse of the government's screw-up on Katrina relief one more time.

Sure we have people losing homes in this area; and, yes, home values are down; but, the number of people losing their homes is less than 1% of the overall housing market (actually about .66%) and home values are still higher now than they were 5-6 years ago. This is a cyclical downturn, exacerbated, in the case of Michigan, by a concomitant set of circumstances in the local automotive industry that combined to drive us down faster and further than the rest of the country. But, the rest of the country is now catching up (or down, as the case may be) and we may already be at our bottom and about to start back

My gut feel is that most of our state’s residents are fed up with all of this bad real estate “news” and also are ready for our recovery. We’ve lived with it and dealt with it and now we’re ready to be rid of it. Let’s hope that the good news of our recovery gets some media attention. I won’t hold my breath though. The media will be on to the next horrible disaster somewhere, shoving microphones in grieving people’s faces and asking the same dumb questions, “ How does this feel?”

Perhaps some reality show producer should do a story on the news media. I can see it now. The program would show people all over the country ignoring the news show and then the program's host could shove a microphone into the newscasters' faces and ask "How's it feel to be completely ignored and irrelevant"?" There's little hope for that, but one can dream.

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