Bloggers vs. MSM Credibility Survey Deathmatch

Submitted by Rich Toscano on February 9, 2008 - 12:15pm

Update: The researchers have already closed the survey due to the “overwhelming response” they apparently got – thanks to all who participated.
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USC is performing a study on the credibility of blogs vs. the mainstream media when it comes to the Southern California real estate market. If you have an opinion on the topic, please help out the folks performing the study by taking their very brief survey. Thanks!

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Submitted by Misheloff on February 9, 2008 - 8:49pm.

Well, I hope they are surveying folks other than blog readers, because I can tell you that asking questions to myself and other visitors to a real estate blog whether they believe anything the mainstream media has to say is about the most useless survey imaginable.

I would wager to guess that 99.9% of visitors to this and other blogs are there because they feel you can't believe a word written in the mainstream media about real estate (or anything else for that matter!)

With that said, thank you Rich and many posters for providing much more prescient information than the wad of toilet paper that is the Union Tribune.

Submitted by 4plexowner on February 10, 2008 - 8:48am.

the most amusing survey question asks us to compare the credibility of mainstream media to the socal RE blogs

how can we compare the credibility of the blogs against something that doesn't exist???

Submitted by Misheloff on February 10, 2008 - 1:25pm.

What I find amusing (which is actually rather sad, really) is that the usefulness of what's reported in the media is so lacking that I'm relgated to looking at blogs for my financial information. Consider:

1) The posters on blogs are anonymous, don't cite sources for 99% of their statements, and, as such have close to zero credibility.

2) Reading a blog is a tremendously inefficient use of time. On one of the better ones, Ben Jone's thehousingbubbleblog.com, amongst the economic commentary, one has to wade through lists of what people ate for dinner, what kind of car they drive, bragging about their incomes, and whatever other drivel they feel necessary to validate themselves.

3) Most of what's on the blogs - a mainstream media article is posted (what we're on the blogs to ignore) and there will be 200 comments ripping that article to shreds and posters being insulting about which person didn't pay their mortgage and was quoted in the article (and the need to add that their brother-in-law is going to be foreclosed too!)

It's really a sad state of affairs. It reminds me of a recent newspaper article (so, given what we're discussing here is probably false anyway) regarding Haitians - there is so little food available in some parts of Haiti that the people have taken to eating cakes made mostly of dirt.

Certainly no offense to this or other blogs, but turning to a forum of anonymous posters for "credible" commentary is like eating a big dirt pie for dinner!

Submitted by asragov on February 10, 2008 - 2:43pm.

Survey is now closed.

Submitted by justme on February 10, 2008 - 9:36pm.

Misheloff,

But keep in mind that the quality of a blog is often determined by the quality of its editorial content. There can be much drivel among the gems in the comment section of a blog. But the same is the case for those few and daring MSM outlets that actually allow people to comment freely on their articles.

Submitted by San Diego RE Bear on February 11, 2008 - 1:14pm.

Interestingly enough I had a three hour phone call with another poster from Ben's site about this last night. We both spend less time on the site because of the numerous posts that contribute nothing to our understanding of the situation and feel that the postings by individuals tend to be overly mean spirited and self-congratulatory.

Two huge however’s however (and I will use the HBB as an example):

1.) The postings by Ben that lead off every discussion are unimaginably valuable in getting a synopsis of what is happening around the country, divided often by geographic area or topic so you can focus on only what you are interested in. His research and postings mean I have a fantastic source for acceptable references when I need to make an official case for some argument. It's also been fascinating to watch the MSM come more and more into these summaries as what Ben and Rich and many of us predicted would happen has and:

2.) Three years ago I KNEW in my gut housing was horribly overpriced, I just didn't know how I knew it or why. I finally found a friend who agreed with me and who told me about Ben's Blog (which lead me here) and I started reading it in late 2005. Thank God for Ben and Rich and all the bloggers and some of the posters (a greater percentage back then). So many resources that had fantastic information on why San Diego (and the world as it turns out) was so out of whack! Suddenly the idea of rent and income ratios made sense, I understood how easy money allowed this all to happen, and I learned the probable consequences as exhibited by earlier bubbles. Heck, I even learned what a tulip bubble was. Without this information I would still be wandering around knowing something was wrong, but not understanding why.

The blogs were a fantastic source of information during the mania of the housing bubble and they provide great information as the downturn continues, helping us to understand how bad this may be (and able to counter realtors "we're at the bottom crap") and to present the best data available as the world begins to share in our pessimism of the value of real estate. I don’t tend to read the postings of all contributors like I used to, for one thing a lot of the newbies who say they saw this coming seem to me like the stereotypical band wagon jumpers suddenly “knowing” all this was coming. For another, I simply do not have the time to read the huge numbers that now exist. But I read Ben’s summaries, I visit here for direct SD information, and I still have way too much information that proves my arguments that real estate has a long way to fall. The blogs provide what the MSM did/does not. And I for one am extremely grateful for the people who spend their time to provide this information to me!

Submitted by justme on February 12, 2008 - 5:47pm.

San Diego RE Bear,

I could not agree more with what you said.

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