Keep this in mind whenever you read a newspaper story about housing

Just caught up with last week’s Media Watch, and one story shone up to the light something that anyone reading a story in a newspaper about the property market should keep in mind: the papers are desperate for real estate agents’ money, and are terrified of pissing them off. TJust how terrified they are, and just how willing they are to throw your interests aside as a reader if the agents are unhappy, was demonstrated by an embarrassing incident involving a Murdoch paper in WA.

The Sunday Times dared to publish a glowing story about ordinary people who’d had excellent results not using agents. The real estate agents were outraged at this outrageous outbreak of editorial independence by one of their print monkeys, and quickly swung into action:

It was kicked off by investment property specialist Mark Hay, with an email addressed to pretty much every real estate agent west of the Nullarbor…

“Can I encourage you to boycott the paper in light of this, or better still this is a perfect reason why we as agents should build our own web site to challenge realestate.com.au and the others who keep putting the squeeze on us. Anyone interested?”

The terrified Sunday Times managing director quickly, desperately wrote a grovelling apology:

Last Sunday we published an article in our real estate section that failed Journalism 101 … As the Managing Director of The Sunday Times I unreservedly apologise for the article.

The paper published a glowing piece endorsing agents, how wonderful they are, how happy people are who use them, what fine upstanding glowing unparalleled human beings they are, superior to the rest of us, worth not only the vast sums they’re paid BUT MORE, and would they please not boycott realestate.com.au.

If anyone’s surprised by the regular sucking up (both obvious, and subtly spruiking for their political interests) all the papers do – including Fairfax over here in the East – keep in mind this graphic illustration of what they’re afraid of. Because nothing’s changed. Nobody’s standing up to them.

So if you’re expecting our national media to hold politicians’ feet to the fire when they enact policy in the interests of real estate agents and contrary to those of the rest of us – don’t hold your breath.

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4 responses to “Keep this in mind whenever you read a newspaper story about housing

  1. Talk about shameless. Funny what money does to “balanced” “journalism” when they think nobody is looking.

    The sad thing is the majority of punters won’t even notice the blatant pandering, and so can’t understand why there’s a media enquiry on the horizon.

  2. Yep, and local suburban papers are even more dependent on real estate advertisement.
    As a tenant, I would love to have an opportunity to bypass realestate.com.au and the entire sordid, parasitic industry. We’ll see a just society when the last property manager is strangled with the guts of the last real estate marketer.

  3. If you read the weekend papers, pretty much their only source of advertising is real estate. I guess it’s understandable. At the same time, readership is shrinking (I’ve long since switched to iPad browsing) so I’m not sure exactly who* they are advertising to.

    * That probably should say “to whom”.

  4. narcoticmusing

    How this isn’t analogous to cash for comments I don’t know.

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