Correction! Accountability, Politics, Media and Manufactured Housing

January 30th, 2017 Leave a comment Go to comments

Let’s start with something I will close on.  As a seasoned association executive told the Masthead, they ‘are not in the business of defending bad judgments or bad actors‘ who cause the troubling headlines that impact manufactured housing.  Please, hold that wise thought, as you read what follows…

The Hebrew Scriptures, commonly known by Christians as the Old Testament, tell us numerous historic, thought provoking and inspirational accounts from people’s whose names billions have come to know well.

There is David and Goliath, a reminder that the smaller and weaker can overcome the strong. There is Moses, who Scripture says was initially not a great speaker.  Yet, he rallied his people, and with God’s help, he led them to freedom. There was wise Solomon, Ester, and a host of other women and men who in faith did amazing things, often against great odds.

Let’s tarry for a moment on David.

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David sent a servant to get Bathsheba, image credit, Free Bible Images.

Once David became king, he was wise and successful.  But he was also tempted – as all of us are – each in

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The son of David and Bathsheba’s illicit union was the historic figure, Solomon. Image credit, Real Life Hereos.

our unique way.  One day, David spotted the lovely Bathsheba (“Bat Sheva,” in Hebrew), and “took her” unlawfully.  Once he realized that the crime he committed was going to be exposed, he plotted to have her husband Uriah killed.  Once that murderous deed was done, David took Bathsheba as his wife, one of the many wives the king enjoyed.

This very human David is held up for Christians and Jews alike as a model, why?

David sinned, his evil plot was quietly exposed. He repented and sincerely begged God for forgiveness.

David was accountable; and even the great king took his correction.  For that and his many brave and good deeds, he is cited in Scripture as “Beloved” of God.  Beloved is also the meaning of David’s name in Hebrew.

In our modern times, as then, people are “found out.”

Mistakes, misstatements, plots, and evil deeds are exposed.

Did your mama ever tell you to act in private as if everything you did would end up on the front page of the New York Times?  In the age of whistleblowers, WikiLeaks and an often agenda-driven media, rest assured that any misstep – real or imagined – can become someone’s

  • headline,
  • viral video,
  • or social media post.
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Is accountability a curse, or a blessing in disguise?

Politics, News, the Media and Manufactured Housing

NPR previously reported on the automotive world that the “National Safety Council…says it currently estimates that last year, “38,300 people were killed on U.S. roads, and 4.4 million were seriously injured, meaning 2015 likely was the deadliest driving year since 2008.””

The odds of a car occupant dying in a transportation accident were 1 in 47,718 in 2013, said the Insurance Information Institute.

Now, let’s compare that to mobile and manufactured home fatalities.

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Per ResearchGate, between 1985 and 2007, some “43.2% (536 of 1240) of US tornado fatalities occurred in mobile homes.” We industry professionals must note, that they – as is sadly common in the media – make no distinction between HUD Code manufactured homes, and pre-HUD Code mobile homes.

So, based upon those numbers – on average, during a roughly 22 year period covered by their study – 24.36 souls died each year who lived in a mobile or manufactured home.

The BBC reported in September of 2013, that some 20,000,000 Americans lived in mobile or manufactured homes.  That number might be low, so we found it useful for the following calculation.

Based upon the BBC’s numbers that some 20 million Americans are living in an MH, the odds are 833,333 to 1 in an MH resident’s favor that they won’t die in a mobile or manufactured home during a tornado.

To rephrase, that means that during those years, those living in a mobile and manufactured home are some 17.46 times safer (less likely) to die in their home during a tornado, then they are likely to die in their vehicle due to a fatal auto accident.

Yes, those numbers are not precise, but they are close enough to have real meaning for anyone seeking the truth.

The truth properly told ought to be an essential part of how we define ourselves.

No one I know is giving up their car due to the most recent auto fatality reported.  Deaths in cars are accepted, a sad reality of contemporary life.  The risk is accepted in exchange for the value of mobility.

When NPR’s report on auto deaths hit the media, it wasn’t the sensation that their recent reports on mobile home parks and MH Living were. Why is that, please?  Because for far too long, the industry has either taken it on the chin, or has made weak arguments that third parties doing research could poke holes in.

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Of course, there is more to the safety of manufactured homes than the facts above, and we’ll dig into that more with another report planned soon.

But the initial bottom-line takeaway for the moment is this. The odds are wildly in the favor of those living in a mobile or manufactured home that they won’t die in a severe windstorm.

Please note that our various reports and videos on the subject of windstorms – including tornadoes and hurricanes – on MHLivingNews now score at or near the top of Google searches.

Note too that one of those ‘hits’ on the search was a scorching rebuke of an inaccurate claim made by MHI back in 1991 (see graphic, below).  That should give all in MH today reason for pause.  Industry pros ought to think beyond today, looking to the present and future impact of their choices. Good-or-bad news hangs around for years and years online. You never know when it will pop-up, as the example linked above vividly demonstrates.  That’s why we believe that MHI – or any association or business – ought to carefully frame their responses and their own postings.

It’s also why no group can afford to take a totally insulated view. A narrowly decided action can hurt those who made a decision, and in a relatively small industry such as manufactured homes, many others besides.

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See link, above.

On MHLivingNews, related reports and videos, we strive to provide accurate information, including safety tips.

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Google search results on 1.29.2017.  The ongoing efforts of MHLivingNews and MHProNews are paying off online.  They can be accelerated, given more industry support and involvement.

The top story in the Google search is this one:

https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/the-manufactured-homes-tornadoes-and-windstorms-the-story-not-being-told-by-most-in-the-media-lives-saved-with-proper-installation/

Here’s the take away from this part of today’s Masthead.

Accuracy and Accountability are Important for Better Understanding, Credibility and Greater Acceptance.

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Graphic credits of the above, MHProNews. 

Accountability, MH and the Media

We’re continuing to gather input from industry professionals on the issue of the NPR’s arguably ignorant, sloppy or biased (take your pick…) reporting of mobile/manufactured home communities.

Among the comments sent for publication is one from the president of a large and respected operation in our industry.  To sum that up, he says on-the-record that he welcomes accountability for his company.

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Text image credit, MHProNews.

He welcomes the media to look fairly into his operation.

Wow!  Three cheers for him and his team.

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If more in our industry would seriously take on the value of accountability, let me guarantee you right now that our industry could watch its sales rapidly rise back into the 6 figures a year range.  We’ve said for years, that our potential is no less than 500,000 homes a year, not the relatively modest 80,000 (+/-) achieved in 2016.

Remember. All sales are local. Your location’s results are part of that national total. A favorable local view of our products and services will  in time yield more well qualified customers for you and your operation.

Its just common sense.

Education.  Accurate information.  Accountability.

All of these principles and others of integrity are necessary for our industry to reclaim the kind of sales levels we once enjoyed, and could surpass, given more professionals supporting good PEP messaging.  The public must understand why they can save so much money on a manufactured home, that it’s an appealing and amazing housing option.

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Text credit, MHProNews.

The industry can’t accomplish that through shortcuts.

Nor should any savvy pro want to take shortcuts.

The DTS report published Saturday – see this link or from the graphic below – is a must-read for any industry professional who wants a more comprehensive view of that issue, and the links from that report deserve to be followed and considered too.

As noted at the end of that post, we will be publishing the full comments of all of those thoughtfully shared their professional insights and perspectives.  Who else in the MH world is doing as comprehensive a job in reporting?

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Collage credit, MHProNews, logos are those of their respective organization, and are shown here under fair use guidelines.,/i>

Accountability and Correction

We routinely get feedback from state and community association leaders, as well as business professionals from operations of all sizes. Those on-the-record comments and insights are shared with you, our readers.

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We also invite both national associations to share their views on issues of the day, as those who are bcc’d on the messages to MHI requesting their input know.  When MHI doesn’t opt to respond, we routinely share their published comments instead. Consider that as modest, polite call for those in Arlington to be more responsive, because as a member and as a pro-industry trade publisher, they ought to be ready, willing and able to express and defend their positions.

After all, we as pro-Industry trade media are looking to advance the industry, which is also the ideal that an association should be striving for too.

That same principle holds true for us, we too are accountable.

Among those we quoted in the Duty to Serve/GSE report linked above is Titus Dare.  Titus holds a very different view from my own in politics, as Dare’s statement on Dr. Ben Carson compared to the Masthead’s (mine) underscore.

One of Titus’ linked articles chides/admonishes me, and at other times applauds some of my published perspectives.

The point?  We – nor anyone else in our industry – should not be afraid of an honest critique. We all have to take the good, along with the tough.

That said, let me now correct myself.

The glitch in our Saturday eblast (emailed news update) was all “my bad.”  Sorry, truly, sorry!  I do the tech part of our popular MHProNews eblast seldom, and perhaps for that reason, I screwed it up.  I should have waited for by truly better half to get back and do it, as she faithfully does.

We all have times when a healthy ‘mea culpa’ is needed.

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Which leads us to the next steps.

Growing the Team and our PEP Impact

We’ve continued to engage and evolve in our trade media platforms.  Before going forward, let me note that The Journal will be missed, as is the Merchandiser and other now-defunct publications. Someone or some group might try to step up and fill that gap. But as the historic note in the link above suggests, trade publishing isn’t a task to be lightly undertaken. If someone does, I’d encourage them to strive to be at least as fair, balanced and accountable as we try to be too.

Without accountability and quality, publishing would only be fluff and promotion of somebody’s something.

Segue aside, let’s look at those next steps.

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MHLivingNews, MHProNews and our related video and other engagement efforts are slowly turning the tide among a growing number of the professionals and the public.

Along with – and thanks to – our writers and sponsors – we’re continuing to build on years of work, that has lead to our dominating MH trade media.

Watch for upcoming reports and posts…

  • NPR – and manufactured housing, including that company president’s powerful quote mentioned above
  • Tornadoes, media and manufactured housing
  • Published Comments on Industry Voices from MH Professionals on the above

Thanks for checking out what our writing team is doing on the Daily Business News.  Thanks too to all those who make this ongoing effort to define manufactured homes, our industry’s products and services, in their fair and proper light.

Mindful of our starting point,  none of us ought to be ‘in the business of defending bad judgments or bad actors.

We must define ourselves, or others will define us, often to the public’s and our industry’s disadvantage.  We’ll keep hammering that theme home, until the chorus singing it is loud, proud and clear. ##

(Image credits are as shown above.)

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Standing Room Only seminars are scheduled for the 2017 Tunica Manufactured Housing Show. One seminar topic is on MH and media engagement, a “how to.”

By L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

L.A. 'Tony' Kovach, MHM - Publisher, Marketing Director and Industry Consultant
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach
Manufactured Home Marketing Sales Management trade journal
www.MHMarketingSalesManagement.com aka MHMSM.com aka MHProNews.com
tony@mhmsm.com
863-213-4090