Why the Bubble Isn't Home Section News

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Or, perhaps better titled: Why learning from our mistakes would only make us depressed

On a recent episode of "On the Media," NPR's Daniel Gross offers a frank assessment of why the reputed real estate bubble isn't making headlines in newspapers' real estate sections.

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. If the auto section of the New York Times were to run articles week in, week out saying driving is unsafe and it's a bad time to buy a car, it wouldn't be around for too many more months, and I think that's one of the issues that the editors of these sections are facing. They know that prices are rising; they know that elsewhere in their newspapers and in the magazine world that people are talking about a bubble, but there are all kinds of incentives, obvious and hidden, for them not to be plastering those headlines on their sections.

Gross gets special kudos for pointing out that the same fear of being the bearer of bad tidings infected the personal finance press in the late '90s, but we have to disagree with his contention that Big Media learned its lesson then and is being more conscientious now.

Read Gross' interview here. (While you're at it, visit Jim Romanesko's Poynter Institute blog, where we got the link.)



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