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Does Misinformation Matter? Revealing But Misleading ‘News’ by MHInsider and the Manufactured Housing Institute?

DoesMisinformationMatterRevealingMisleadingNewsMHInsiderAndManufacturedHousingInstituteFactcheckAnalysisMHProNews

 

Starting with the headline, an under 400-word article by MHInsider that is reviewed further below is a mishmash of inaccurate, accurate, and misleading information. It looks slick, and in fairness it is crisp writing, but that one sentence analysis will be demonstrated in the fact-check that will follow.

But perhaps as or more interesting? Their own stated rate of readership is low. Sad or surprising? It contradicts other claims that they have made. More on that, based on their own website’s data. That will be relevant to marketers and those seeking more sales, because it is hard to sell someone that hasn’t read or seen your marketing or advertising message.

Let’s look at just part of one MHInsider article and then all of another.

1.

The HUD Code manufactured home industry is underperforming by both historic measures and by current market potential standards. As will be seen below, MHInsider plainly said that they are a mouthpiece of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), only they did so using different wording. As a kind of house organ for MHI, what does MHInsider do? Rather than stress the decline that occurred after this part of their chart, they focused on the years before the more recent decline. Accurate, but misleading, because of how they framed the matter.

 

MHinsiderShipmentProductionSalesTrendsSpinReportManufacturedHousingMHProNews
When shipments are in decline for 11 of the past 12 months, why is MHInsider posting spin? MHProNews has for years reflected the slow growth back up, as the graphic below is an example. But MHProNews has also reflected the painful fact that for 11 of the past 12 months, sales have drifted back down again. We’ve also pointed to causes and solutions. Why the misdirection and coverup by MHI friendly trade media? Are they counting on skim readers and relatively low information investors?  NOTE their eyeball symbol? Their article has only been accessed 164 times when this screen capture was done. It is an embarrassingly low rate of reader engagement.  More on that further below.
ShipmentProductionBloombergManufacturedHousingIndustryJune2019ManufacturedHomeProNews
Is there anyone who seriously believes that Berkshire Hathaway with all of its assets, and media resources is unable to rapidly turn the fortunes of manufactured housing around if it so desired? Doesn’t that leave the logical conclusion that they want this downturn? Why? Arguably because they can consolidate the industry at a discounted price. That fits Buffett’s mantras.
UnderstandingWarrenBuffettCastleMoatMetaphorsQuotesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews
Never forget that even during medieval times, castles and their moats were in fact breached. The fact that Berkshire has been successful at this ploy doesn’t mean that it can’t be defeated by the proper exposure and legal efforts.

 

Ponder what Samuel Clemens, a.k.a. Mark Twain might have said about the above from MHInsider or what follows from the pro-MHI trade publisher.

 

ThereAreLiesDamnedLiesAndStatisticsQuoteMarkTwainSamuelClemensManufacturedHomeProNews

FirstGetYourFactsStraightThenYouCanDistortThemAnyWayThatYouPleaseMarkTwainQuoteSamuelClemensManufacturedHomeProNews
This was a satirical comment, not to be taken literally.
  1. Perhaps the most important part of the MHInsider article that follows below are the first few words in their “editor’s note.” Quoting, “Editor’s note: MHVillage and the Manufactured Housing Institute partner…” Now note that the three letter abbreviation for both the publication and the Arlington based trade group are MHI. No big deal, but an interesting coincidence?

At least through that quoted line they are revealing and documenting what MHProNews has said for some time. MHVillage and MHInsider are a de facto mouthpieces for MHI. They’ve said so themselves on their own website. If they have taken positions that are pro-MHI, is it any surprise that they take stances that are pro-consolidation?

But let’s press on.

Let’s look at an entire article of theirs on an important topic that has been online for approaching two years.

With respect to what follows, first note that starting with their headline, it isn’t “Arkansas” that that settled in favor of “MH Owners, Residents.”

  • It was only one town in Arkansas, not the entire state.
  • Further, as events since that date reveal, the zoning and placement issues in Arkansas and other states with respect to a growing trend of limiting or outright banning manufactured homes has spread.
  • Additionally, why didn’t they ask and answer the question – was it a mobile home or a manufactured home involved in the case?

Can you spell misleading, incomplete, inaccurate, or ‘fake news?’

Let’s begin with screen capture of the top of their article. Then, we will look at a word-for-word recap of all that they wrote, with a screen capture of the same found at this link here. That screen capture merits its own look and can be downloaded for later review.

MHInsiderlogoMHVillageManufacuredHousingInstituteLogoManufacturedHomeProNewsFactCheckAnalysis
Sad.

The layout below mirrors what MHInsider published, including their use of the MHI Logo. That oversized use of the MHI logo may be meant to imply that somehow MHI was involved in this legal matter. More on that in our analysis that follows.

 

Arkansas Settles in Favor of MH Owners, Residents
By Patrick Revere – December 11, 2017

ManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoMHILogoOversizedLogoMHVillageMHInsiderManufacturedHomeProNews - Copy

ExtendedQuoteSymbolSBManufacturedHomeProNews
Start of extended quote from the source shown.

Fair Housing Update

In September of 2016, a young couple moved their manufactured home to McCrory, Arkansas, from a neighboring community.

Shortly after their move, the McCrory City Council passed an ordinance which stated no manufactured home could be sited in the city “unless it has a value established by a certified appraiser or a bill of sale of not less than $7,500.00.”

McCrory claimed the ordinance was necessary because it provided relief from over-crowding, was good for health and safety of McCrory residents, and promoted orderly growth in the community.

However, after the ordinance passed, the couple that had moved their home to McCrory was visited by the city’s police chief. He told them they’d have to move their home because it was valued at $1500 and did not comply with the city’s new valuation ordinance. Equal Justice Under the Law (“Equal Justice”), a D.C.-based legal aid organization, got involved and assisted the couple in filing suit against the City of McCrory.

Lawsuit Decries Practices Counter to Fair Housing

The 31-page, well- crafted original lawsuit labeled McCrory’s ordinance “a wealth-based banishment scheme, imposing a ‘fate universally decried by civilized people’” that essentially criminalized poverty.

The lawsuit asked for the Federal Court in the Eastern District of Arkansas to declare the ordinance unconstitutional.

Equal Justice was able to get the city to repeal the ordinance and according to a November 28, 2017 press release they finalized a settlement in the lawsuit.

JD Harper, who is Executive Director of the Arkansas Manufactured Housing Association has been following the case since its inception calls the case “a significant victory against zoning discrimination.”

He pointed out that the case has caused several other towns with similar ordinances to change their laws, too.

Editor’s note: MHVillage and the Manufactured Housing Institute partner on fair housing initiatives, and as part of that agreement, MHVillage will publish the MHI monthly fair housing

ExtendedQuoteSymbolCloseQuoteSBManufacturedHomeProNews

update with this blog as well as its consumer blog www.MHVillager.com.

 

##

 

MHProNews Fact Check, Analysis

Several broad points.

  • The article’s use of the MHI logo is arguably deceptive. It may give some skim readers the illusion that MHI had something to do with that legal case. In fact, our contacts with the Equal Justice nonprofit made it clear that MHI had nothing to do with their case.
  • The article is misleading in that it makes it sound like this set in motion some positive trend. Hardly. While it was a victory, one that we reported on in far more depth and applauded Equal Justice’s success, there was no court ruling. The case settled out of court. Thus, from a legal standpoint, it has no value as a precedent without a court victory.
  • As MHProNews has carefully reported and documented, there is a growing, not a shrinking, national trend toward banning or limiting manufactured homes in cities and towns. MHI has repeatedly declined to lift a finger, per our sources with local officials in each of the cases that we investigated.
  • In fact, as MHI’s smaller rival association – the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) recently noted, there has been a mysterious absence of interest by most state associations in taking MHARR up on an offer to battle unjust zoning and placement. Has MHI and the ‘big boys’ exerted direct or other pressure on state executives to keep them from working with MHARR?

 

IncredibleShrinkingZoningProblemManufacturedHousingAssocRegulatoryReformIssuesPerspectivesSept2019
https://manufacturedhousingassociationregulatoryreform.org/the-incredible-shrinking-zoning-problem-september-2019-mharr-issues-and-perspectives/

But there is more to this fact-check and analysis. There are several reasons to believe that this matters to industry professionals, investors, and public officials who peruse these types of fact-checks and analysis on MHProNews.

Lawsuit Filed Against City to Defend Manufactured Home Owners Rights, led by Equal Justice Non-Profit

 

MH Marketers and Sellers – What This Fact Check and Analysis Additionally Reveals

MHProNews has used visual and other evidence in prior reports to reflect the point that MHInsider – as pretty as it may look – has low readership. This photo below is but one of several previous examples that made that view apparent.

 

MHInsiderManufacturedHousingINdustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews
Magazines that are not picked up are obviously not read.

But now, MHInsider has thoughtfully provided – on their own website – viewership data on articles that reflects how incredibly low their readership is. While George Allen’s blog is also lightly read, it is possible that Allen gets as many reads on his blog post as MHInsider does. But Allen and MHInsider praise each other in an effort to create an echo chamber effect of credibility and feigned superiority. One must keep in mind that the industry is a tiny fraction of the size that it was years ago. Per Cavco, which reports a far higher number than MHI, there are an estimated 75,000 professionals working in manufactured housing. Many of those are working in important jobs, on factory floors, running service, maintaining communities, etc.  But the number of owners and managers will be obviously far smaller than that 75,000 total.

CavcoIndustriesJan2019ManufacturedHousingIndsutryProfileDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews
Cavco estimates there are some 75,000 full time employees (FTE) working in manufactured housing. That sounds far more realistic than MHI’s claim of only 40,000. Shown under fair use guidelines for news media.

 

By contrast, let’s see a recent data point on just one of our articles on MHProNews. Our #7 referral path from just one of many cPanels we have on MHProNews reported the following, keeping in mind that we have over 20,000 articles online, numbers of which get read years after they are published. Here below is but one example from the end of September 2019, per third-party Webalizer site metrics. While no two articles get read the same amount, and this is an example of an article on the higher end of the scale, there are often articles that will get over 10,000 hits in a single month. The one below which was published late in September had over 19,000 hits in just a matter of days. Let’s note that while our core audience is composed of manufactured housing industry professionals, public officials, investors, and researchers are among the others that frequent the MHProNews site.  This is below one of hundreds of examples possible from Sept. 2019 Webalizer data.

Rank    | Hits                              |          URL or ‘referral path.’

7 19233 https://www.manufacturedhomepronews.com/senator-elizabeth-warren-takes-aim-blasting-again-mhi-member-company-in-2020-campaign-stop

 

Put differently, marketers and sellers must step back and ask. Are MHInsider advertisers wasting their money? Another point, unless they are keen on fact-checking propaganda or spin, are MHInsider readers wasting their time? Is it any surprise that Legacy Housing, which tracks their lead sources, reported that MHProNews provided the far superior results?

MHInsider gets credit for chutzpah, a nice look, and good writing/editing of arguably errant or misleading ‘information.’ But they should be held accountable for their:

  • Misleading, errant, and at times demonstrably false reports.
  • Their demonstrable failure to correct previously identified factual errors.
  • Their arguably failure to follow the Society of Professional Journalism’s Code of Ethical conduct.
SPJSocietyProfessionalJournalistsCodeofConductMHProNews
See bullets 2, 3, and 4 in the second box, above. We dare other publishers to compare what they produce vs. what MHProNews does. We thank our readers, sponsors, and sources of tips and information for making this type of work possible.

In just a matter of days, here is what manufactured home industry professionals have witnessed.

  • MHInsider’s claims of being #1 is at best misleading, unless they are claiming to be #1 at MHI supporting drivel. We’d give them credit for that, based upon the evidence shown above or previously.
  • George Allen is all over the map on his flip flops and often self-contradictory positions.
  • Kurt Kelley’s MHR has failed to respond to what appears to be possible plagiarism of an articvle, see that analysis and report linked below.
KurtKelleyPhotoIllegalTakingLawsuitRentControlChallengeKurtKelleyNPRManufacturedHousingReview
https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/illegal-taking-lawsuit-rent-control-challenge-kurt-kelley-npr-manufactured-housing-review/
  • Kelley’s readership is masked, but a clue that it is low and falling is that they went from a monthly to a quarterly. Even so, finding meaningful topics pushed them to at a minimum publishing an article without any clear attribution for its source? Again, see the above, which begs the question, have they done so before?  Aren’t these other examples beyond our publications all embarrassing for the manufactured housing industry, when outsiders look in?

DarrenKrolewskiCoPresidentMHVillageLouisville2019PublisherDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

DarrenKrowleksiPage5MarApr2019MHInsiderLogoFalseClaimMHVillegeLogoDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews
The Louisville Show shrank in size in 2019, as a look at the exhibitors map demonstrates. Furthermore, decades ago, Louisville drew an international audience, including mainstream news media. Today, it is but a shadow of its former glory, according to a source that ran the show at that time. Can you spell fake news? Why do they not at a minimum correct misstatements when we’ve previously pointed them out to them? Note, MHProNews has invited Darren and Dan Rinzema to respond to these fact checks, they have declined to do so.
ItIsEasierToFoolPeopleThanToConvinceThemThatTheyHaveBeenFooledMarkTwainSamuelClemensQuoteMHProNews
This is a powerful point made by Mark Twain, a.k.a. Samuel Clemens. It takes more time and effort to prove the distortion or lie than it does for a person or organization to tell the lie. Isn’t that part of what a con job counts on?

No Boycotts

Part-time MHI catspaw and ‘magician’ George Allen called for a boycott of MHProNews on his own publication, by saying what publications one should read, which include his blog, MHR and MHInsider. All others, per Allen, were verboten. It is noteworthy that in some contexts, legal experts say that a call for a boycott can violate antitrust or other laws. Interesting, given that Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis and their allies are allegedly guilty of fostering market consolidation – via purported violations of antitrust and other laws, such as deceptive trade practices.

MHInsider has made claims about their readership that is questionable at best, but under deceptive trade practice law, it may be illegal as well. If your firm has advertised with them, based upon their claim of being the biggest and the best, you may have a suit you could pursue. If others who placed ads with them did the same, that could be a class action suit against MHInsider and/or MHVillage, their obvious parent company.

At times, Allen has made similar allegations against the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis as MHProNews has documented. Why has Allen flip-flopped without explanation?

ManufacturedHousingIndustryMonopoly-Oligarchy-GeorgeAllen-PostedDailyBusinessNews
Brazen flip flops and self-contradictions depend on people not recalling or being unaware of prior statements. In the case of MHInsider, it arguably depends on professionals or investors not knowing the industry’s history, enough data, or the causes of the industry’s underperformance.

As MHProNews has said, we don’t believe in boycotts or any forms of threat, intimidation, ethical lapses, or lawbreaking. The above and herein are cautionary tales. It reveals just how purportedly deceptive and misleading the various extensions of MHI’s ‘echo chamber’ can be. That said, using a wheat and chaff approach, we find them useful to the extent that it helps us document just how far the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis will go to spin ‘the news’ as the industry enters 11 out of 12 months of year-over-year national declines.

PayMoreAttentionToWhatPeopleAreDoingThanWhatTheyAreSayingOrNeverMindWhatPeopleAreSayingWatchWhatTheyAreDoingMartyLavinQuoteManufacturedHomeProNews
There are ethical and unethical ways of earning money.

SoTheAssociationMHIIsNotThereFortheIndustryUnlesstheinterestsoftheBigBoysJointheIndustrysMartyLavinMHIAwardWinnerQuoteMHProNews-1

MHVille Takeaways?

  • Know the information source you are reading, is it reliable and factually accurate? Or is it merely spinning someone’s agenda? If it is agenda driven, who benefits from what they publish?
  • In MHVille, our industry should be soaring when it is snoring. Without exposing what’s wrong, there is no real hope of getting to doing what’s right and necessary to return the industry to honorable, profitable, sustainable growth.

DannyGloverQuoteItsNotOnlyAMonopolyOfWealthItsAmonopolyofInformationasWellDailyBusinessNewsMHproNEws

ThomasSowellQuoteIfPeopleInMediaCannotDecideWhetherTheyAreInNewsReportingbusinessorManufacturingPropagandaMoreImportantForPublicchoseNewssourcesAccordingly

 

See the related reports for more. They are particularly relevant to investors in publicly traded firms that are members of MHI. In wrapping this up, it is worth noting that each one of the rival publishers has at times praised this publication publicly and in writing.  That took place before our understanding of the deeper causes of the industry’s underperformance to be made clear.

DarrenKrolewskiPraisingMHProNewsDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews
MHProNews has invited MHVillage’s top people to respond to concerns and claims made against them, they have so far declined to comment.
KurtKelleyPublisherPhotoManufacturedHousingReviewMHLivingNewsQuoteFriendHoldMHIAccountableMHARR
Indeed, Kelley has contributed to MHProNews numerous times over the years, and has commented on political topics too. He published an article by Berkshire Hathaway unit manager Joanne Stevens, which without mentioning MHI, was clearly slamming them for what her article in MHR saw as a failure of industry preparation for obvious attacks on the industry.

MHProNews will continue to monitor other publications, firms, as well as nonprofits for questionable ethical, reporting, or other practices. Why?  In part because the industry is misunderstood.  That implies that there must be sources of misinformation fueling that misunderstanding.  That misunderstanding leads to lower sales levels.  The text-image box below is a link to a detailed report.

11 of 12 Months Are Year-Over-Year Declines in Manufactured Home Production, Latest National Data, Analysis

That’s your Saturday report from your #1, most-read trade media — here at your home of manufactured home “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

SoheylaKovachDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsMHLivingNewsSubmitted by Soheyla Kovach for MHProNews.com.

Soheyla is a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com. Connect with us on LinkedIn here and and here.

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Related Reports:

Click the image/text box below to access relevant, related information.

Snopes and Manufactured Housing Fact-Check Project

Vise Squeezing Independents and Residents – Messages with Manufactured Home Community Leaders

HUD-Corporate-Nonprofit Triangle – MHI’s Lesli Gooch Surprising Letter Drops, Places HUD-GSE-Nonprofit Exec in Crosshairs

Manufactured Home Communities, Production, Suppliers Investing Alerts – Manufactured Housing Institute

IncredibleShrinkingZoningProblemManufacturedHousingAssocRegulatoryReformIssuesPerspectivesSept2019
https://manufacturedhousingassociationregulatoryreform.org/the-incredible-shrinking-zoning-problem-september-2019-mharr-issues-and-perspectives/
TeresaPaynePhotoHUDofficeManufacturedHousingProgramsSeriousQuestionsRaisedHUDProgramLeadershipMHProNewsMHARR
https://manufacturedhousingassociationregulatoryreform.org/mharr-questions-hud-leadership-hud-saa-funding-disparities/

 

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