Is real estate real?
: Over at On The Media, Bob Garfield interviewed Daniel Gross about the purported real-state bubble. I have two quibbles:
First, Gross says (and Romenesko quotes) that real-estate editors won’t say bad things about real estate as if this is new:
Garfield: … At the risk of tossing you a softball, Dan, gee, why aren’t these stories on the real estate pages?
GROSS: Whether it’s subconscious or conscious on the part of the editors who run those sections, it doesn’t behoove you to speak ill of the product that your section is there to sell….
Uh, except, guys, in most newspapers the real estate “editor” isn’t an editor at all. Most real-estate sections — like most jobs and autos sections — are pure advertising sections not run by the newsroom or the paper’s editor and the content them is bought fluff. One can argue whether that’s right or wrong…. and come to a conclusion about the time print classifieds die anyway.
Second, in a show in which Garfield talks abouut the observer’s paradox — the observer having an impact on the observed — isn’t that true of bubble blather? Market prices are all about confidence and even mood and if you keep reporting that the mood is exhuberant and wrong and soon to burst, don’t you think that has an impact on that mood? Isn’t the cliched bubble-soon-to-burst story self-fulfilling reporting?