Arizona Republic: When in Doubt, Play to Stereotypes to Sell Papers

avatarthumbnail.jpgAnguish sells papers.

Throughout the up and down real estate cycle of the past few years, the writers at the Arizona Republic have managed to find people that could be painted as victims, even if not all the facts quite matched up.

When the market was running hot in 2005, it was the buyers who couldn’t get an offer accepted – a story idea that was recycled in the last couple of months. Then it was the sellers throwing cell phones at their agents when they suggested a price reduction because the buyers had gone away.

My personal favorite remains the “victims” of mortgage fraud, who signed blank loan documents, often invented their own level of income to secure a loan and, in this Republic article, expected sympathy because they didn’t receive cash as expected from an illegal “cash back” scheme they participated in.

Sunday’s story reaches a new level, though, if only because Ms. Reagor had to know there was no outpouring of sympathy to follow but merely the usual venom and bile that spews from some people whenever real estate agents are mentioned.

Reading some parts of the story, I’m almost inclined to join in:

Driving out to each property for weekly reports to the lenders has put 30,000 miles on his Porsche during the past year.

It’s almost enough to make you want to have a telethon to help purchase a new Porsche. Anyone want to make a pledge?

Former Valley real-estate agents are working at restaurants, grocery and clothing stores, and temporary office jobs. Some plan to go back to selling homes when the market recovers, while others have given up on the business.

But you know what? Some of us are still here, still selling homes as we always have, still helping first-time buyers move into the property where they’ll raise their families, still helping Canadians and Midwesterners find a place they can use in the winter to escape the cold and snow.

Some of us, rather than taking on second jobs and still trying to act like a full-time agent, buckled down and redoubled our work in the business. Some of us have managed to pay our mortgage every single month without fail. Some of us found it more important to help our clients than act the macher and drive a sports car around town.

How? By working our asses off, mostly.

That, however, doesn’t sell papers or inspire the invective.

Scum of the earth!

Or …

Everyone is having to adjust to what is going on in the US right now. As a teacher, I work a TON of hours over my “contract time”. I don’t complain…I just get it done. It’s tough for everyone right now. ….I don’t think that many people have much sympathy for him.

Wait that one was reasonable … didn’t expect that.

Does the story seem as valid if the microscope is turned back on the journalism industry? Let’s see the story about what happened to the writers from the Tribune when it went under. Or the Rocky Mountain News. Or the Detroit Free Press. Or the dozens of other newspapers that went under in the past year or so.

This isn’t an effort to make light of their suffering; to do so would be cruel and unjust … well, at least unless you’re at the Republic and you have papers to sell.

[tags]Phoenix real estate[/tags]

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at


  • jim little 9 years ago

    I’m not sure who you are ranting about, Porsche driving agents or the daily consumer of dead trees. That is ok, both deserve it.
    As far as Ms Reagor, I have never felt she was a friend of the industry any way. Neither are her masters in the dark tower (the nomenclature of another Republic columnist).
    As far as the rag goes, if you only have one or two columns to write, additional fact checking would be a good thing. What say you, ink-stained former scribe?

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