Daily Archives: June 29, 2009

Can Mainstream Media be unbiased?

Vividly remembering The Eagles’ Don Henley, just before launching into “Dirty Laundry“, uttering these words in Melbourne “………. I dedicate this song to Mr. Rupert Murdoch

And frankly, how true his words/lyrics are today, in 2009?

I don’t recall having seen My House My Castle recently, or if I had it must have been the first series years & years back, so when they were running preview teasers for last weeks episode, ( aired 22nd June 09 ) I couldn’t help but notice there was plenty of Real Estate Agent “rip-off” sprinkled through the 15sec of airtime the teaser preview was exposed to.

They also mentioned the program was to include a segment where they were hunting for “NZ’s Most Honest Real Estate Agent.”

So sitting down with a freshly brewed cup of coffee, I was curious to see what this was all about. The first segment was, I’m sad to say…..was indeed a rip-off, vendors trying to sell a home that clearly had fire damage, to the extent that you could see quite plainly that the rafters / struts inside the roof cavity were all charred and appeared to be in a “crumbly” state, certainly on a visual inspection not up to a “load bearing” standard.

According to the eye witness’s testimony they thought that it would not have needed much more that a gentle push on the wood for it too snap. Later in the same segment a subsequent inspection revealed that much of the previous charred wood inside that roof cavity had now been painted white, obviously someone was trying to hide something. FAIL here on the vendors and from the testimony of the folk interviewed, FAIL on the RE Agent too.

Then came a segment where the announcer Rob Harte I think it was, stated he was going to find the most “Honest Real Estate Agent in NZ.”

The video showed them setting up a red “lie detector booth” on the back of a ute / pickup and from memory (memory unfortunately, because unlike many TV1 shows, the whole TV2 episode is not online) they also had a red carpet that led up from some drop down stairs off the back tray.

And so with baited breath, I wait for Rob to travel around New Zealand. The video shows him travelling through Auckland streets and proclaiming with a loud hailer / megaphone in hand “Honest Real Estate Agents apply here” (or something similar)

Then we watch him visit various RE agencies, and go inside to ask for volunteers for his “lie detector” test.

After trying most of the big multi-national RE Agencies, he went into a Barfoot & Thompson, our NZ Realtors Network partner in Auckland, and yes, of course they did provide a candidate. (After all if you’ve been in business this young country of ours for 86 years you’re obviously doing something right)

Ok now here’s my gripes.

1.       It was not New Zealand at all, it was just Auckland! Why did he not say the most honest agent in Auckland, well I guess I’ll have to wait for a reply to their message board.

2.       Our local paper the Nelson Mail (26th June 09 edition- Page 21) also conducted a near on half page review of the episode I have been writing about. Rightly so they highlighted the very bad example above of the charred timbers inside a home that was attempting to be sold.

Regarding  the last segment of the show, they  mentioned Ian & Lesleys home in Pakuranga, one of the finalists in My House My Castles’s “Castle of the Year” contest.

BUT buried in between these two reviews, 1 out of the reviews 14 paragraphs spoke of the segment about the “Honest Real Estate Agent” search.

It reported….

Are there any honest real estate agents out there, he (Rob Harte) asked? Well, the first four agencies he visited in Auckland refused to take part. Not very promising for a whole.

The same paragraph concluded by saying ……

Harte admitted that My House My Castle has not been kind to agents over the years and that might have accounted for their reluctance to appear on the show.

Ok, so why does the reviewer not complete the story on this segment?

The fact that the fifth agency visited, Summit’s NZ Realtors Network partner in Auckland, Barfoot and Thompson did provide a candidate, seems to have escaped the reviewers attention. And that candidate was none other than the branch’s manager. I think it was the Remuera office but as I didn’t tape the program that’s from memory.

Well guess what?

When Rob, standing there in the street with his lie detector machine attached by wires to the Barfoot & Thompson manager, asked the questions, again from memory 4 or 5 questions I recall, the manager answered them all and was declared NZ Aucklands? most honest agent.

What was lost on me was why did the newspaper reviewer, not mention this seemingly positive outcome of the segment.

Yes admittedly it was on the last visit to RE Agency office no. 5, and the previous 4 had denied themselves a great opportunity, however that wasn’t even mentioned, or by my way of looking at it, not even alluded to in the article.

I believe the reporter failed in their duty here.