Readers Beware: Media Writes For Money or Influence

Great looking Louisville home with vinyl side
Sure, it costs less to clad the exterior with vinyl side than brick but not half the price of the entire home.

I’ll admit it, I’m an idealistic. Whether that’s a genetic or learned behavior, I’m not in a position to deduce. But I am, and at the mid-way point of this life, I doubt that’ll change.

It’s my desire that the media is supposed to report the unbiased, unembellished truth.

The truth, as it turns out, is that the media fits the facts to their agenda, whether that’s selling more newspapers, getting more hits on their Web sites or influencing people to their cause. I can’t say it any more simply than that.

Today’s example is truly a mild one. But because it falls under that mantle of Louisville real estate, it caught my eye.

Eric Flack wrote “Law not on side of property owners hurt by vinyl homes” earlier this month. Sticking up for the everyman against big corporations has been the modus operandi for many in the media since Day One.

But what’s interesting to me about this piece is how the case was made with such exaggeration. Flack apparently interviewed Louisville Metro Councilman James Peden for the story; there are direct quotes in it. But look at this paragraph.

Peden said all brick homes that sold for $300,000 in Washington Green are having their property values pulled down by vinyl homes that sell for half that. Peden said the cheaper homes bring down property values so much existing homeowners often can’t sell or refinance because they’ve lost so much equity.

Doesn’t that read like, switching a brick clad home to a vinyl clad home reduces the home’s cost by 50%? Absurd!

That tells me that the truth must bend to make their point.

Next time you’re chatting with a builder, ask them how much more brick is than vinyl and they’ll confirm that brick is generally 2x-4x the cost of vinyl but that’s only the exterior cladding, not the cost of the entire home.

The main thrust of the story is whether or not developers have the legal right to modify a subdivision’s deed restrictions due to market changes but that question doesn’t seem to get answered. Incite aggression and the WAVE3.com Web site gets more traffic.

See? Even I got hooked by their strategy.