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Negativity in The News: Why Do We Continue to Feed Our Own Paranoia ?

There it was yesterday, for all to see.  The headline on MarketWatch read something like "Home Sales Fall 27.2% in July."

It was there... wallpapered all over the screen.  Sensational headlines.  Of course, just about every other news or economics website on the internet had something similar.

It wasn't a surprise.  We all knew it was coming.  But still, there it was.  Ouch !

What makes us just crave all this negative news ?  What is there about someone yelling "the sky is falling" that just brings click after click, taking us to these websites when we see a link to it ?

  And then this morning.  It happened again.  "New Home Sales Off Twelve Percent in July."  More bad news.

  The papers, the CNN's, the Fox News's, the MSNBC's... starting with "Morning Joe" on MSNBC early this morning.  "Morning Joe" runs from 6:00am until 9:00am Monday thru Friday.

And of course, they, like everyone else, ran with this story.

  Sure, it is negative, and the media these days... leading up to the November elections... just seems to thrive on negativity like this.  So, there it was.  The "Today Show" ran with it.  "Good Morning America" ran with it... as did just about everybody else.

What also mystifies me is the fact that all of these "news outlets" run these stories, and act like this is "new news."  Now, they know just as well and you and I do, that with all of the "sales"... by which we mean "closings" that drenched the lenders and title companies at the end of June... pretty much emptied, or ran down just about everyone's "pipeline"... so it shoud now have been a surprise to anyone.

What it is ?  Is there some national paranoiad monster that needs to be fed all this negativity.  I know some of us out here in Realtor-Land bemoan all of this... every time it happens... and wonder when it will all stop, and question when the news outlets will start featuring something positive. 

But, if we think about it for even a minute, we know it will never happen.  Why do we seem to get so much enjoyment from scaring ourselves ?  Will it ever stop?  Prolly not.

If we want to watch something positive... I guess that's why we have the bubbly Miss Racheal Ray !

Comment balloon 29 commentsKaren Anne Stone • August 25 2010 11:27PM

Comments

Maybe we should start a boycott of the national news and watch Rachel instead! I like the bubbly Rachel but don't watch her often. This is a great reason to start. :) I agree with you.... this is expected and even old news to some of us.... so why can't th sensationalism of it stop. If the news media turned a positive spin it might BOOST sales instead of a further falling economy.

Posted by Lindsey Hasford, Bringing you home... (Edina Realty) about 8 years ago

Lindsey:  In many ways it continues to mystiffy me, but then again, in many ways it does not.  Just more of the same.  There was a similar headline about a month ago that ran something like "National Late Mortgage Payment Rate Now at 5.02%"

They could have just as easily ran the story and talked about how "94.98% of All Home Mortgages Now Current !"

Too many editors in too many news outlets just have one too many loose screws in their heads.

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) about 8 years ago

The very reason I do not watch the news Miss Karen Anne................it's depressing...............the very reason I blog on ActiveRain..........it's not.

Posted by Roger D. Mucci, Lets shake things up at your home today! (Shaken...with a Twist 216.633.2092) about 8 years ago

They need some disaster to focus on and report. I do blame the media for hyping so much up. Yes, ask us, we knew. And now, those who could buy or were teetering on the brink just decided to put their money in their mattress.

I hate the news....

I prefer to remain focused on positive things. Doesn't that sound good? :D

OK, let me go and stick my head back under the blanket now.

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) about 8 years ago

I saw Rachael Ray the other day and she looked POed while she was making something.  So she is not always the alternative.

Anyway I will get to what I wanted to say.  The media is always on the negative with everything. The first news story has to be someone was hit by a car or a fatal shooting on the eastside of town.  Here we are with out  27% sales drop falling like a lead brick to our current listing clients (perhaps we get a another price reduction there or the person pulls out on us all together stating they will wait till next year).

We need to find ways to turn the negative into positive and trip up the media to take attention to that.  I don't know something perhaps like "title agents risk fatal accidents all over the states as they try to close on the excessive amounts of closing they are doing in the last 2 weeks..."  

I agree this drives me nuts.  

Posted by Stanley Stepak, Realtor - Avon Lake, Avon, Bay Village, Westlake, (Howard Hanna - Avon Lake, OH) about 8 years ago

Hi Karen..it's worldwide....the News media thinks it sells newspapers, they need material everyday in their headlines..BP has caped their oil well, now the Press is scrambling for another negative story.

Here I write positive market reports..by targeting a type of housing or area, IE single family homes in my farm area are selling, so I post about those sales...nothing about comparisons to last year or the total listings on MLS..Now you've got me going, I am constantly asking my Board why are we posting the total number of all the MLS listing and comparing the numbers to last year. The Press loves this stuff.

For example in July in Victoria the total number of MLS listing was around 4500 listing, compared to last year the listing are up 40% or something like that..I did a post listing the total number of single family homes for sale on MLS is 1377..big difference.....The press didn't run my post

PS: I canceled my newspaper delivery last Fall, they called and offered to only charge for 3 days a week if I would come back..My response...."Are you going to stop printing negative news"..the man said "not likley", then I said "then I'm not buying your paper"

Posted by Fred Carver Personal Real Estate Corporation, Accredited Real Estate Consultant (RE/MAX Camosun Victoria BC Real Estate) about 8 years ago

Karen - Excellent information on negativity in the news. Thanks for sharing it.

Posted by John Pusa, Your All Time Realtor With Exceptional Service (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Crest) about 8 years ago

Karen - I think that it an excellent point. I think that it woudl be shocking right now if people thought that 94% of homeowners are current on their mortgages.

Posted by Lindsey Hasford, Bringing you home... (Edina Realty) about 8 years ago

The media really makes a big deal over statistics that can be explained, like this drop.  Of course we were going to have sales slip after the tax credit and I am sure that home prices will take a little hit as well.  The media doesn't mention that when they "REPORT"  the sales figures because it wouldn't be as sensational.  They help stir consumer unrest and it just isn't right.

Posted by Wade Kawahara (Dominion Real Estate Partners, LLC) about 8 years ago

Could it be misery loves company?  Maybe we will get lucky and buyers will here this news as 'Sellers become highly motivated'!!

Posted by Pat Haddad, ABR, CRS, ePRO, GRI, Carmel, Fishers, Westfield IN Real Estate Expert (Keller Williams Indianapolis Metro NE) about 8 years ago

Karen Anne,

I remember that after the initial months in US we asked one wonderful man running a Social Services network in the Bronx about the media, and his explanation was that American government is reactive, and not proactive. That's why the more this is considered important, the more noise about it will be generated. This is the way to let the elected officials to know where the pain is. Does it mean that everything that deserves screaming gets it"? No.

But aren't these issues with the houseing market, job market and others the most importnat for people now?

Posted by Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL, Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices (Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408) about 8 years ago

What sells news? Sensationalism, other's grief or loss, and bad 'news' all increase viewer participation and ratings. I think I read (or heard) this same story on half-a-dozen media outlets.

Posted by Mike Mayer (Mike Mayer, Broker/Owner - i List For Less Realty, LLC) about 8 years ago

Hi Karen Ann,

I think David has a valid point and a possible solution..Fighting back with the other side of the story but then they won't want to print it because it isn't a "grabber" like sensational news! They never point out ho many Americans own their homes free and clear!!

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.346.1799) about 8 years ago

"Home Sales Fall 27.2% in July." I noticed the source for this information: National Association of Realtors /Haver Analytics

Karen Anne, can you or someone else clarify for me, do all sales (for new homes and resales) go through the NAR?

The reason I ask is that in Canada only a few of the new home sales go through the Canadian Real Estate Association and MLS so there is a very large number of sales which go unreported bt CREA.

Posted by John Grasty, Your Tri-cities REALTOR, neighbour and volunteer. (for real estate results in the Tri-Cities.) about 8 years ago

Those are national numbers. Real estate is local and it's our job to get that word out to everyone. Obviously since the media isn't doing it.

Posted by Jackie Connelly-Fornuff, "Moving at The Speed of YOU!" (Douglas Elliman Real Estate in Babylon NY) about 8 years ago

The scary thing is that so many people, start their day watching or listening to the news. This makes more people want to wait and see what happens or worse, wait for interest rates to climb again!

Posted by Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®,CRS,, Tacoma Washington Agent/Broker & Market Authority! (RE/MAX Professionals.) about 8 years ago

Good Morning Karen Anne ~ 

When all the "big news" hit I was dealing with closings and kids so the way I heard about the latest tv "doom and gloom" was from 2 of my listing clients contacting me.  One with a "is this true?" statement.  The other thought the news reported the sky was falling.   Both wanted reassurances that things were going to be "ok in our DFW area".

So today work has slowed down and I need to research to see what these reports really mean.   Do you know if TAR has similar stats for the metroplex?

Enjoy the day - Mark

Posted by Mark Hitz (Keller Williams ) about 8 years ago

Hi Karen Anne,

All the negativity shows how "scared the American public" is to changing their ways.  Many of them don't understand that "we" as a country priced ourselves right out of the world market!   Many of our own U.S. companies left the U.S. in a 20 yr time span and put up shops in other developing countries, due to our high wages here.   Greed brought our economy almost to the ground!  It's time we "digest it" and move on, so we can pick ourselves up from our boot straps and show our creative & persistent ingenuity that we really have as a people and bring our job market back.  Reality is soo hard for us to accept, but we need to understand the reality of a global market and bring our "egos" into check so we can help our own country increase productivity and stabilize our economy.   Many other countries have to do the same, for example;  Canada & most of Europe.  This will help compete against the 3 growing economic countries: Brazil, China & India.  This will eventually result in a 1-2 monetary currencies that will blend many countries together and create more balance for all people, within all countries.  ;>))

Posted by Ann-Marie Clements, M.S. Ed., Innovative Proactive Principal (Dubai International School, UAE) about 8 years ago

I now have clients sending me articles about how bad things are.  I'm having a great year, and I wish the news would talk to me about it!

Posted by Susan Mangigian, Chester & Delaware County Homes, Delaware and Ches (RE/MAX Preferred, West Chester, PA, RS152252A) about 8 years ago

I now have clients sending me articles about how bad things are.  I'm having a great year, and I wish the news would talk to me about it!

Posted by Susan Mangigian, Chester & Delaware County Homes, Delaware and Ches (RE/MAX Preferred, West Chester, PA, RS152252A) about 8 years ago

Karen Anne, I get so po'd watching some of this that there are days I refuse to turn on the news. Although I certainly get plenty with just a quick browse online and my daily dose of our local newspaper. Somehow it doesn't feel as "sensational" when it's written. Like Susan, I also have had clients send me articles about how bad things are and how they should make incredibly low offers on houses because, you know, the sky keeps falling!

Posted by Gabrielle Nemes, 206.300.8421, S King & Pierce County RE Advocate (RE/MAX Realty South) about 8 years ago

They have nothing intelligent or thought provoking to talk about....theyd rather produce sound bites!

Posted by Joan Mirantz, Realtor, GRI, CBR, SRES - Concord New Hampshire (Homequest Real Estate) about 8 years ago

You're right.  Negativity sells.  If the news were all positive, no one would watch.  Negativity equals ratings.  We should never be surprised by the media's pouncing on negative news.

Posted by Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA (Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA) about 8 years ago

I think Chris Ann is right - the news is there to sell advertising and, like the people who slow down to look at a car accident, people will watch the negative news more which sells more advertising, which prompts more negative news coverage and on and on. But you have the right idea - we can choose NOT to watch the negative garbage and tune in to something that lifts us up instead!

Posted by Mike Martin, Realty Masters & Associates ((909) 476-9600 ~ WeLoveSellingRealEstate.com) about 8 years ago

Well Karen Anne, great minds think alike.  I was so aggravated with our local media running the same NAR story that I wrote my own Chicken Little "the Sky is NOT falling blog" today.   My phone was ringing off the hook from my sellers like the world was crashing.  So I just took matters into my own hands and called the station NBC general manager for myself and said come on this has got to stop!  At our Board of Realtors lunch this week our state rep spoke and said Lake Charles is only down 2% from last year's numbers....now why are we not reporting that news????  I simply told my sellers don't watch the news!

Posted by Marilyn Boudreaux, Lake Charles LA Century 21 Realtor (Marilyn Boudreaux, Century 21 Mike D. Bono & Co.'s) about 8 years ago

Sensational news sells--so everybody grabs the latest big story and splashes it everywhere.  We know national and local statistics differ; we also know the media focuses more on the negative than on the positive.

Posted by Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities, Palos Verdes Luxury Homes in L.A. (Charlemagne International Properties) about 8 years ago

I've blogged about this several times in recent months because it's irresponsible.  The mass media continues to influence the mindset of buyers and sellers with what's called FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt).  They'll do stories saying construction is great then follow with "but...it may not last" or something similar.

The markets were up yesterday because of increased contruction and yet all the media could focus on was concerns about the recovery and a double dip.  They're very "black and white" about it.  Either the economy is hot or dying, it's never just moving along.

Posted by Bryan Robertson, Broker, Author, Speaker (Intero Real Estate) about 8 years ago

Personally, I do not have a TV. I turn the negative news into positive news with my real estate investors. People are getting foreclosed on. So, we turn those prospects into lease purchase candidates. I sell the home and put the lease purchase candidate into the house. Then, I get paid one more time when they obtain their own conventional financing. Turn lemons into lemon juice.

Posted by Harry F. D'Elia, Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR (Real Estate and Beyond, LLC) about 8 years ago

Ya know Darlin' it really doesn't matter. No matter what is going on we still have to sell real estate or get another job.

We are fortunate in the Washington DC area to be somewhat protected, but in every area people die, get divorced, get transferred, AND NOT EVERYONE IS UNJEMPLOYED OR BROKE. WE...have to go find THEM if those WE CURRENTLY KNOW CANNOT DO ANYTHING.

I gotta big girl and I am now going to pull on her pants as you advised in a subsequent post. Peace, Love and Prosperity.

Posted by Steve and Jan Bachman, Realtors - Northern Virginia (RE/MAX Gateway, Reston, Herndon, Ashburn, Sterling, Fairfax ) about 8 years ago

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