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“Wag the Dog,” “Obscene Profits,” Maturing, News & You

Professionals, politicos, social, organizations, and people all at times try to shape or spin the news.

It’s been so for thousands of years.

Just as there are knowable truths in all aspects of life, so too there’s truth to be discovered in probing the – Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How – driving events, or that lurks behind a headline.

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Wag the Dog

WagTheDogWikipediaMastheadBlogMHProNewsThe movie Wag the Dog was but one semi-comical example of how American politicians can attempt to divert attention by staging an event.

The movie Power is another such movie tale of how staging events can create a false illusion for people to rally around, or believe in.

Like the magician who hopes that the hand is quicker than the eye,those who want to stage or divert attention in news, or those who create:

  • clever-yet-false narratives,
  • repeated half-truths or lies,
  • spin, and

all sorts of ruses in an attempt to:

  • divide,
  • manipulate, and
  • control others.

Why do some people/groups use spin, or deception?  The two most common answers?

Money and power.

Sometimes, it’s just plain ignorance.

Some may also sincerely believe in something, but it turns out not to be true.

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There are many reasons people don’t grasp the truth, the bullets above are just some of them.

Maturing Understanding of Trade Journalism

When an auto recall or other news hits the automotive industry, good trade media cover that, just as they would some good news about their industry.

When Wired – a tech media site – recently did a pretty serious critique of the corrosive elements of social media, we had the Daily Business News cover that recently for two main reasons.

  • One, social media impacts our industry every minute of every day; it’s a relevant topic for manufactured housing.
  • But two – and perhaps more subtle – it was a clear cut example of a tech writer was holding his own profession accountable.

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That’s arguably wise, because as Mr. Positive – Zig Ziglar would say – you can’t solve a problem until it’s first identified as a problem.

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Many manufactured housing professionals recognize that misunderstandings about our products and services exist for reasons both external to the industy, but as internal causes as well. Similarly, challenges that face the industry find causes within and without.

Jumping to False Conclusions, “Obscene Profits,” and Misunderstanding Others

Starting with myself, we’ve all done it.  We’ve all jumped to a false conclusion before.  Let me share a personal example.

For some years, I largely tuned out Rush Limbaugh, based upon a misunderstanding on my part.

I misunderstood statements on his radio show that were meant by him as humor (sometimes, to make a point), but if taken seriously, it may have meant the opposite of what he intended.

That was my bad, not his.  As Dr. Stephen Covey said, first seek to understand, then to be understood.

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What follows wasn’t what caused my misunderstanding Limbaugh, but it was the humor in his comment that hit me one day, which made me realize he was using similar humor in other parts of his program too.

Rush would announce he was about to take an “Obscene profits break.”  Limbaugh wasn’t against profits.  Rather, Rush was using humor and satire, while letting listeners know that it was time for the commercial messages that paid for his programming.

My point in part is that we’ve all been guilty of misunderstandings, or misjudging another person, group, activity, whatever.

Jesus, Abraham, Moses – Historic Examples

I asked an industry friend of mine recently to imagine the following.  What if he found himself back in time almost 2,000 years ago, at the time of Jesus overturning the tables of the money changers in the Temple.

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If a first century Jew or Gentile came upon Jesus for the first time during this scene, what would they have thought? For that matter, what did some of Jesus’ long time followers think as He was doing this?

Had he stumbled upon that scene, without any context or explanations, what might he have thought of it?

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Moses, Abraham, Jesus – these historic figures didn’t always behave in the ways that moderns want to picture them. A closer look reveals there are lessons to be learned, “There is a time for every purpose under heaven.” (Eccl. 3:1)

If a shocking or surprising scene in the lives of Abraham, Moses, Jesus or other historic/religious leaders can be subject to misunderstanding, how about the rest of us?

So, keeping that open mind, and asking for or seeking clarification is always a wise course of action.  Most Americans recall the early teen game of how when a person Assume = Ass/U/Me

Part of the purpose of any good trade news or trade media is to advance understanding.

So to getting to

  • root issues,
  • honestly covering bad as well as good news, and
  • accountability
  • have been, and hopefully always will be important elements of what we do on MHProNews.

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Fact checks,

  • Investigations,
  • Analysis,
  • Critiques and Reports
  • are designed to help the industry better understand it’s own SWOT =  Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

We routinely invite industry feedback.  We invite the viewpoints of people who we expect may disagree, as well as people from across the political or economic spectrum.

That said, we seek and believe in the truth.

People are entitled to their own opinions, but not to their own facts.

And if we as professionals don’t define ourselves, others will define us, often to our disadvantage.

So, you and we must both be vigilant.  We must also be sensitive, analytical and open-minded.

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See first understanding. Don’t skim. Don’t jump to conclusions.

Skimming a report, or jumping to conclusions often leads to the wrong conclusion.

Whether or not Kid Rock ever runs for office, one thing we covered in a report about him this week ought to ring true for most of the industry’s professionals.

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It’s too difficult today for many if not most small businesses to keep up with the avalanche of regulations, rules, laws, tax code, healthcare, etc., etc.

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The president has called the tax code and regulations self-inflicted wounds on American productivity, jobs, and profits.

We have and will continue to cover the issues that we believe are at the heart of what keeps manufactured housing from achieving its potential.  One of my favorite messages via email was this one:

TonyIf MHProNews is writing about it, I want to know about it.”

– MHProNews reader.

Agree.  Disagree. Share your take, feedback, or your news tips.

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Watch for more reports this week that you may not find anywhere else in MHVille.  When you do find them elsewhere, you tell me where the coverage was the most fair and balanced toward the facts and truth about manufactured housing.

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As always, thank you for being here, and we thank our sponsors and clients who make this pro-industry, pro-American platform possible. ## (Commentary, analysis, trade media, editorial, journalism.) By

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L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

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