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NBC Misleads about Housing Problems

     While it certainly wasn’t a “best of times” report from CNN, it was a “worst of times” on “NBC Nightly News” November 27.

 

     Anchor Brian Williams introduced a dismal segment on the 4.5 percent decline in the national average home price.

     While it certainly wasn’t a “best of times” report from CNN, it was a “worst of times” on “NBC Nightly News” November 27.

 

     Anchor Brian Williams introduced a dismal segment on the 4.5 percent decline in the national average home price.

 

     “This is now big, this is nationwide,” complained Williams, before making the situation sound even worse, “This is just an average so there are higher losses.” An average by definition means the midpoint – so yes, there would be “higher losses” and lower losses. But Williams was only focused on the negative.

 

     Reporter Carl Quintanilla continued with the bad news, but misled NBC viewers by saying: “All 20 cities that make up this index were down year over year.”

 

     Only that wasn’t exactly true. The outlook for housing based on the exact same study, but was not as bleak on CNN “American Morning” November 28.

 

     Senior business correspondent Ali Velshi shared the same news of a 4.5 percent drop in average home price, but reminded viewers “that those home prices went up so much over the last five years – the previous five years – that part of the problem we’ve got is that the drop is in some people’s opinion bringing it back to normal.”


     Velshi wasn’t kidding. According to the S&P/Case-Shiller study cited by both news programs, the national average home price is still up 80.45 percent since January 2000.

 

     Velshi also explained that some cities are still seeing rising home prices – something viewers of “NBC Nightly News” wouldn’t have expected after listening to Quintanilla.

 

     “The biggest drops are in Tampa and Miami, 11 and 10 percent, Detroit obviously is still up there. The biggest gains are in Charlotte, N.C. and Seattle. Gains of almost 5 percent,” said Velshi.

 

     Tampa has seen home prices skyrocket by more than 110 percent since 2000 and Miami prices have gone up nearly 150 percent in that time, according to the study. But the rise in home prices leading up to 2006 and 2007 declines have been mostly ignored by the news media.