In an era in the U.S.A. when paltering, posturing, deception and misdirection are sadly all too common, it is useful and perhaps necessary to gather facts, evidence, and various statements and then compare them as if they were pieces of a puzzle. In our latest article on MHLivingNews, celebrated law professor Daniel R. Mandelker’s working paper on how zoning has negatively impacted manufactured housing is provided and then unpacked. One of the numerous fascinating comments by Professor Mandelker is this one: “A support organization is needed that can provide litigation and legislative support to help manufactured housing advocates with zoning reform.” As MHLivingNews details, prominent Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) member Clayton Homes was cited in the acknowledgements section of Mandelker’s research. It is one of several compelling ‘must reads’ for industry professionals found in our weekly recap of manufactured housing “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use.” ©
The American Press Institute (API) says: “Journalism has an unusual capacity to serve as watchdog over those whose power and position most affect citizens.” API cited the book: “The Elements of Journalism” by Bill Kovach (note: no known relation, other than perhaps being of Magyar ancestry) and Tom Rosenstiel. API and Elements of Journalism say: “Journalism’s first obligation is to the truth.” Anyone who thinks that telling the truth in modern America when billions to trillions of dollars are on the line is not paying close enough attention to the details. Per API: “Good decision-making depends on people having reliable, accurate facts put in a meaningful context.” Editorially, pro-ethical and robust manufactured housing industry growth focused MHLivingNews and MHProNews concur with those remarks and the following.
“All truths – even the laws of science – are subject to revision, but we operate by them in the meantime because they are necessary and they work,” Kovach and Rosenstiel write in the book, stated API. “This “journalistic truth” is a process that begins with the professional discipline of assembling and verifying facts. Then journalists try to convey a fair and reliable account of their meaning, subject to further investigation. Journalists should be as transparent as possible about sources and methods so audiences can make their own assessment of the information.” A would be rival of this platform who may be mentioned more specifically at another time claims that this trade journalist has ‘burned bridges.’ If that means that MHProNews and MHLivingNews have published facts, evidence, and expert analysis that are disturbing to the interests of some people and organizations in the manufactured home industry whose vexing pattern of actions/inactions merit exposure, a sincere or dedicated journalist might quip: so be it.
MHProNews recently sent an inquiry to the following individuals.
- CEO Kevin Clayton and general counsel Tom Hodges (both with Berkshire Hathaway (BRK) owned Clayton Homes, each of whom previously held MHI executive committee roles for years),
- William “Bill” Boor (Cavco Industries and MHI Vice-Chair),
- Mark Yost (Skyline Champion and MHI board member),
- Leo Poggione (Craftsman Homes, which has clear ties to Cavco Industries), MHI’s current chairman,
- Lesli Gooch, CEO of MHI,
- David Goch, outside attorney for MHI.
- Several others in the MHI orbit and independents who were bcc’d to document the inquiry.
- Among those in the BCC were also those who are involved in what passes for manufactured housing blogging and trade journalism.
- Several nonprofit leaders involved in manufactured housing were also copied.
Manufactured housing is demonstrably underperforming during an affordable housing crisis. What are the contributing factors? Prof. Mandelker’s significant legal research quite correctly points to zoning barriers. But that is not an end-point for the question, what are the contributing factors to manufactured housing industry underperformance?
In an ongoing journalistic effort to shed light on what’s gone wrong in manufactured housing in specifically, or American political, legal, social, economic, spiritual, media, and cultural issues more generally, are the following reports for the week that was. Zoning legal expert Mandelker’s article and Clayton’s testimony to Congress on behalf of MHI are among the articles and issues examined.
Don’t miss today’s postscript.
With no further adieu, the following are the articles for the week that was from 3.19 to 3.26.2023.
What’s New and Recent on MHLivingNews
What’s New and Recent in Washington, D.C. from MHARR
What’s New and Recent on the Masthead
What’s New on the Daily Business News on MHProNews
Manufactured Housing Institute Claims ‘Effective Branding’ for ‘Manufactured Housing’-Seriously? Target Rich Satirical Saturday Examines MHI Claims, Messaging, RESULT$; plus MHVille Stocks Update
NOBILITY HOMES INC 2022 Annual Report, 10Q Data Reveal Useful Insights for Manufactured Housing Investors, Career-Focused Pros, Trainees, and NOBH Shareholders; plus Dozens of MHVille Stocks, REITs Updates
Evidence of the Most Important and Interesting Issues, Topics, and Concerns for Manufactured Housing Focused Pros in March 2023; plus MHVille Stocks, REITs, Markets and News Headlines Updates
‘Media Malpractice’ ‘All the Conspiracy That’s Fit to Print’ – New York Times Accused of Advancing Debunked Carter Conspiracy Theory – Why it Matters to MHPros – plus MHVille Stocks Updates
$2.4 Trillion New Mortgage Debt and $7.5 Trillion Treasuries ‘Burnt Hole in Banks Pockets’ as Rates Rose – Rob Romano Asks – Is System Now Too Big to Save? Plus MHVille Stocks, REITs Updates
‘Record Year’ Says CEO Duncan Bates, Legacy Housing Names Max Africk, Changes in Beneficial Ownership, LEGH Provides Q4 and Year-End 2022 Results, Homes Priced at Retail Range from 33K to 180K
DOE Weakness on MH Energy Rule Case? Attorney Weighs in on DOE Notice Pertaining to DOE Announced Compliance Date for Manufactured Housing Energy Standards; plus Sunday Weekly Headlines Recap
It is going too far to say that mainstream media or manufactured housing bloggers and media are all in the business of what is commonly called by some ‘fake news.’ To be clear, this publication and our sister site have used that term too but have strived to do so in a more focused way. Some news demonstrably is ‘fake’ news. However, other news is more or less accurate. Indeed, the way that ‘news’ gets an audience is to some extent because it presents information that people are interested in knowing about.
For some years, MHProNews has periodically referenced the Society of Professional Journalism (SPJ) Code of Ethical Conduct. Similarly, some pull quotes from the American Press Institute (API) have at times been shared as a part of a postscript or otherwise in this or that report on MHLivingNews or MHProNews. A few more from API are worth pondering today.
Per API on journalism are the following extended pull-quotes.
Its first loyalty is to citizens
The publisher of journalism – whether a media corporation answering to advertisers and shareholders or a blogger with his own personal beliefs and priorities — must show an ultimate allegiance to citizens. They must strive to put the public interest – and the truth – above their own self-interest or assumptions.
A commitment to citizens is an implied covenant with the audience and a foundation of the journalistic business model – journalism provided “without fear or favor” is perceived to be more valuable than content from other information sources.
Commitment to citizens also means journalism should seek to present a representative picture of constituent groups in society. Ignoring certain citizens has the effect of disenfranchising them.
The theory underlying the modern news industry has been the belief that credibility builds a broad and loyal audience and that economic success follows in turn. In that regard, the business people in a news organization also must nurture – not exploit – their allegiance to the audience ahead of other considerations.
Technology may change but trust – when earned and nurtured – will endure.
Its essence is a discipline of verification
Journalists rely on a professional discipline for verifying information.
While there is no standardized code as such, every journalist uses certain methods to assess and test information to “get it right.”
Being impartial or neutral is not a core principle of journalism. Because the journalist must make decisions, he or she is not and cannot be objective. But journalistic methods are objective.
When the concept of objectivity originally evolved, it did not imply that journalists were free of bias. It called, rather, for a consistent method of testing information – a transparent approach to evidence – precisely so that personal and cultural biases would not undermine the accuracy of the work. The method is objective, not the journalist.
Seeking out multiple witnesses, disclosing as much as possible about sources, or asking various sides for comment, all signal such standards. This discipline of verification is what separates journalism from other forms of communication such as propaganda, advertising, fiction, or entertainment.
Its practitioners must maintain an independence from those they cover
Independence is a cornerstone of reliability.
On one level, it means not becoming seduced by sources, intimidated by power, or compromised by self-interest. On a deeper level it speaks to an independence of spirit and an open-mindedness and intellectual curiosity that helps the journalist see beyond his or her own class or economic status, race, ethnicity, religion, gender or ego.
Journalistic independence, write Kovach and Rosenstiel, is not neutrality. While editorialists and commentators are not neutral, the source of their credibility is still their accuracy, intellectual fairness and ability to inform – not their devotion to a certain group or outcome. In our independence, however, journalists must avoid straying into arrogance, elitism, isolation or nihilism.
It must serve as an independent monitor of power
Journalism has an unusual capacity to serve as watchdog over those whose power and position most affect citizens. It may also offer voice to the voiceless. Being an independent monitor of power means “watching over the powerful few in society on behalf of the many to guard against tyranny,” Kovach and Rosenstiel write.
“The earliest journalists firmly established as a core principle their responsibility to examine unseen corners of society.”
The watchdog role is often misunderstood, even by journalists, to mean “afflict the comfortable.” While upsetting the applecart may certainly be a result of watchdog journalism, the concept as introduced in the mid-1600s was far less combative. Rather, it sought to redefine the role of the journalist from a passive stenographer to more a curious observer who would “search out and discover the news.”
The watchdog role also means more than simply monitoring government. “The earliest journalists,” write Kovach and Rosenstiel, “firmly established as a core principle their responsibility to examine unseen corners of society. The world they chronicled captured the imagination of a largely uninformed society, creating an immediate and enthusiastic popular following.”
Finally, the purpose of the watchdog extends beyond simply making the management and execution of power transparent, to making known and understood the effects of that power. This includes reporting on successes as well as failures.
Journalists have an obligation to protect this watchdog freedom by not demeaning it in frivolous use or exploiting it for commercial gain.” ##
There is more from API on journalism found at this link here. Included are the subheading topics that follow.
· It [journalism] must strive to keep the significant interesting and relevant
· It must keep the news comprehensive and proportional
· Its practitioners must be allowed to exercise their personal conscience
· Citizens, too, have rights and responsibilities when it comes to the news
Once more, it must be stressed, that not everything that is found in news is ‘fake news.’ Indeed, if everything was always false or fake, only the most devoted followers of a given media would continue to follow that source. Imagine a local news station that never got sports scores correct? How long before a source that always gave incorrect information before that station’s or publication’s audience would begin to melt? This is why understanding paltering is so significant in our society. That is why the ancient but oh so wise principle of separating the wheat from the chaff must be applied to all people, sources, organizations, and so on.
When MHProNews and our MHLivingNews sister site began some years ago to realize just how corrupt certain aspects of our society and profession had become, at first, the task of exposing the problems seemed daunting. Principles were needed to guide us in that process. API and the SPJ’s code of ethical conduct provided useful guidance.
The other thing that was deemed valuable and necessary was to present the various parties being reported on in their own authentic voice. So, when covering a public corporation, why not give their entire quarterly statements and earnings calls? Then, unpack those statements through an analysis clearly labeled as such by MHProNews/MHLivingNews.
That process of publishing and gathering facts and statements in an authentic and accurate fashion has yielded the largest body of evidence on why manufactured housing is underperforming during an affordable housing crisis. It has yielded a constellation of voices, cases, and testimony. This weekend, law professor Mandelker’s insights are being added to that collection – that body of evidence.
Mandelker’s abstract – a kind of executive summary of his working research paper – included the headline comment in today’s article. “A support organization is needed that can provide litigation and legislative support to help manufactured housing advocates with zoning reform.” As the in depth report on MHLivingNews reveals, MHI is not mentioned by Mandelker. A careful and open-minded (objective) look at that report is revealing on several levels.
As API said, no one is entirely free from bias. It is up to the journalist to attempt to be as objective as possible.
The pro-consumer, pro-ethical business practices, pro-robust and sustainable manufactured home industry growth focused MHProNews/MHLivingNews have from the outset attempted to tell the stories that shed light on why the industry is underperforming. When we launched MHProNews, the industry was at its lowest ebb in decades. Since then, the industry’s performance has ‘recovered’ by more than doubling the production levels of 2009-2010. That said, it is entirely unacceptable to think that something like 100,000 new HUD Code manufactured homes a year is somehow sufficient. Before MHI began to stop replying to our inquiries, we managed to obtain the following admission from prior MHI president Richard “Dick” Jennison.
Jennison’s half-a-million new manufactured homes a year figure wasn’t and isn’t unreasonable. If anything, it ought to be far higher. It is telling that Kevin Clayton said that the industry could double in about 5 years. Why only double? Why 5 years? The need for affordable housing is in the millions of units. In years passed, manufactured housing doubled in far shorter periods that Clayton described and with far higher annual totals than the industry has encountered in the 21st century.
It is this kind of juxtaposition of facts, facts, facts, with relevant evidence accurately provided that begins to form the puzzle like picture as the pieces are organized. That, said API, is a legitimate and necessary form of journalistic effort.
A written offer has been extended to this publication to introduce this writer to a U.S. senator interested in housing issues. Time will tell what happens to that possibility.
Written offer has been extended by two universities to discuss manufactured housing with faculty, graduate students, and other interested parties. One of those universities went further to offer a moderated forum for discussing the actions and performance of MHI and some of its leading corporations in a public setting. Thus far, none of those involved have had the boldness or cajónes to enter into a publicly moderated discussion or debate. Why not?
That often self-serving would be rival to MHProNews/MHLivingNews in what passes for MHVille trade media, a blogger, likewise recently declined publicly explaining why he is so willing to run interference or otherwise defend MHI and their corporate leaders.
Those factoids are not proof that this publication’s various theses on what explains manufactured housing underperformance are correct. But what they do accomplish is this. The evidence and analysis here are publicly unchallenged. The method used by others is thus not surprisingly to distract from this publication’s efforts. As 17 year CNN veteran turned WMAL pundit Chris Plante has said, one of the most powerful capacities that corporate media has is the power to ignore. Those who trust only corporate or ‘weaponized’ sources of information may get some part of the truth, but they are unlikely to get enough truth to form a completely useful picture of why manufactured housing is underperforming during an affordable housing crisis.
That this underperformance harms millions of real people.
- Tens of thousands of professionals working for all companies in our industry, as well as;
- millions of souls who seek their own slice of the American Dream of home ownership.
- Since homeownership is perhaps the most proven way to create generational wealth, it is thus also a proven path of raising up people of all ethnic, age, or other backgrounds who have previously been denied those benefits.
The path of fostering more manufactured home ownership is significant for a range of sound, sustainable reasons. Among them? That virtually no taxpayers dollars are needed to accomplish the potential for millions of renters to enter the ranks of homeowners.
Creating more affordable housing is apparently not desired by many corporate giants. Scarcity is a strategy for some.
America could become a steadily more ‘opportunity’ society. That doesn’t require taxing some to provide for others. As Rev Donald Tye Jr. noted, homeownership brings a range of benefits. Among them? Said Tye, adding to the tax base.
The reasons to provide an opportunity for millions of more Americans to become manufactured homeowners are many. The fears of those who embrace NIMBYism can be debunked by a range of third-party research.
The time to make the American Dream through manufactured housing more possible is not someday, it is now. Why some in or out of manufactured housing, for their own selfish reason, fail to make that possible, is a disgrace. Perhaps the consistent and persistent light of truth can move some to act to end that disgrace. ###
True State of the Manufactured Housing Industry in March 2023 Based on Facts, Not Clever Agenda-Driven ‘Fiction$’ – plus Sunday Weekly MHVille Headlines Recap
HUD Code Manufactured Home Production Decline Worsens in January 2023 per MHARR – Cavco Wm ‘Bill’ Boor Remark on Manufactured Housing Comes Into Sharper Focus; Sunday MHVille Headlines Recap
METANOIA – Manufactured Housing Institute, Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform ‘Wake Up Call’ on Consumer Finance and Discriminatory Zoning; plus Sunday Weekly MHVille Recap
Again, our thanks to free email subscribers and all readers like you, as well as our tipsters/sources, sponsors and God for making and keeping us the runaway number one source for authentic “News through the lens of manufactured homes and factory-built housing” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (Affordable housing, manufactured homes, reports, fact-checks, analysis, and commentary. Third-party images or content are provided under fair use guidelines for media.) (See Related Reports, further below. Text/image boxes often are hot-linked to other reports that can be access by clicking on them.)
By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – for MHProNews.com.
Tony earned a journalism scholarship and earned numerous awards in history and in manufactured housing.
For example, he earned the prestigious Lottinville Award in history from the University of Oklahoma, where he studied history and business management. He’s a managing member and co-founder of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.
This article reflects the LLC’s and/or the writer’s position, and may or may not reflect the views of sponsors or supporters.
Connect on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach
The text/image boxes below are linked to other reports, which can be accessed by clicking on them.’
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