Saturday, December 28, 2013

Media Manipulation

As we look back on the year that was, the dominant theme of 2013 has been media manipulation by the real estate industry.'

Leading the way was MAC Marketing Solutions, the condo marketing firm exposed for lying to and deceiving the public on TV.

But MAC was only the most visible example this year.  Media manipulation in the real estate industry  has been a source of contempt by the likes of this site and other excellent venues like Garth Turner's blog.

Fake mansions, paid individuals in condo line ups to create 'buzz', monthly 'Franken numbers', real estate agents posing as buyers, the list goes on and on.

But nothing is as particularly galling as the real estate press release regurgitated as news. 

Pundits, such as Garth Turner, regularly rail against a lazy and corrupt media who allow themselves to be used as pawns by a gleeful industry more than happy to feed them content.

Each month you can do scan of the nation's media and see a story regurgitated virtually word for word in publication after publication and news broadcast after news broadcast.

And it isn't just the case for real estate. It is the disease of our media today and it is so widespread it has become comical. Check out this example which Conan O'Brien couldn't help but lambast on a recent show:

Why write your own story when you can simply rehash the script from a press release dropped in front of you.  Conan calls it 'scary' and 'frightening', an understatement if we ever heard one. But this type of media manipulation currently shapes everything you read, hear and watch.


In the old days, we only had a few threats to fear when it came to media manipulation: the government propagandist and the hustling publicist. They were serious threats, but vigilance worked as a clear and simple defence They were the exceptions rather than the rule—they exploited the fact that the media was trusted and reliable.

The late Andrew Brietbart, a master media manipulator,  once said: “Feeding the media is like training a dog. You can’t throw an entire steak at a dog to train it to sit. You have to give it little bits of steak over and over again until it learns.”

And it's clear the major mainstream media has been well trained.

In our real estate focused country, that's what the real estate manipulator's have artfully achieved - they have trained the media. It's crucial to their business.

Thankfully there are bloggers like Turner, VREAA and the contributors to Vancouver Condo Info whose vigilance is omnipresent.

Today we salute you all.

(For a great holiday game, don't forget to check out: MAC Marketing's version of Where's Waldo")


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  1. Honestly, I think that your description of the media as 'corrupt' --well, at least the Canadian media --- is completely wrong. Corruption takes some degree of ambition and effort. The Canadian media is simply polite, lazy, and incompetent.....very dangerous in a media-driven age.

  2. I buy two, my husbah buy two!

  3. Thanks for your efforts as well. I check this blog at least every week.

  4. Yes, thanks for your efforts. I'm really amazed someone in the development community hasn't tried to buy you out and shut this blog down.

  5. Before you beatify Turner too much...his attitudes about the (ir)relevance of gold in modern day finance are as myopic as those who think that 25 years worth of paying attention to weather makes them a global climate expert. My point is that realtors have no monopoly on bias and hubris.

    1. Garth Turner's position on Gold is at dramatic odds with ours, but that does not distract from the high opinion we have of him.

    2. Anyone recall a book by Turner titled "The Strategy"? It's entire thesis was that one's house --- as a financial asset --- was not ever going to sappreciate significantly in value any more, was therefore an utter waste of one's investment potential, and that re-mortgaging the $%&* out of it to invest the proceeds in the stock market was the smartest thing that anyone should do.