Friday, September 23, 2005

Housing Bubble Deception

I received an e-mail recently from an acquaintance who's a real estate agent. It was an article from an outfit I'd never heard of before, although Google said they do exist. The article claimed to be by this so-called "media" outlet, complete with a byline. In the body of the article, it talked about the recent Housing Bubble study by Charles Himmelberg, Christopher Mayer (Columbia Business School), and Todd Sinai (Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania), which was mentioned here at BigHousingBubble back on Sept. 19. The writing in the e-mailed story was very familiar, and that's when I realized, this was a word-for-word copy of the press release from PRNewswire. It was pure spin being passed off as a news story that readers have some expectation has been properly verified and fairly reported, which brings me to why I'm posting this. Check your sources, particularly if you're reading blogs. A lot of nonsense gets passed around as fact by people who aren't wise enough to discriminate between reputable news organizations and guys playing games in their basements.

In addition, be sure to seek out the link to the original story. Many unscrupulous blog authors are very deceptive with their use of text, and I'm particularly offended by those who publish entire copies of stories from news organizations without even having the decency to list the name of the reporter who did all the work. As a writer, I find this nothing short of criminal. To take someone else's work and pass it off as your own is the same as pirating movies or music. At the very least these bloggers should refrain from posting the entire text. Put a link and at least give the author the benefit of a hit on their website if people wish to read the whole story.

— The Boy in the Big Housing Bubble