Good night and very good luck – the unspoken media HOA alliance

I hope that the paraphrased quote of, “Good Night and Good Luck,” the signoff by the renowned Edward R. Murrow, who was the only journalist to openly oppose the commie scare by Sen. McCarthy in the 50s, is recognized by the news media. The media of today, especially the local news media, the young and laughing personalities of the 5:00 PM news seem to be totally oblivious to important HOA bills before state legislatures. Bills that would affect some 20% of the people in across the country.

Why? It seems that they prefer to see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil about HOAs. Or is it really corporate media making the call?

Murrow, upon leaving the CBS network in 1953 had this to say about the TV news media.

Our history will be what we make it. And if there are any historians about fifty or a hundred years from now . . . they will there find . . . evidence of decadence, escapism and insulation from the realities of the world in which we live. I invite your attention to the television schedules of all networks between the hours of 8 and 11 p.m., Eastern Time.

We are currently wealthy, fat, comfortable and complacent. We have currently a built-in allergy to unpleasant or disturbing information. Our mass media reflect this.

Are the big corporations who pay the freight for radio and television programs wise to use that time exclusively for the sale of goods and services? Is it in their own interest and that of the stockholders so to do?

Since this statement was made, the news has become highly editorialized and selective, geared to entertain. It appears that providing important matters of civic concern affecting their private property and community to their viewers is a secondary concern, and only such information as the media moguls deem to be appropriate. (For a brief history of Arizona’s HOA news coverage, see Arizona HOA News History).

There have been no in-depth analyses or debates of the HOA legal concept even at the national level, as the spread of HOA-Land is nationwide. The Sunday news talk shows, or by 20-20 and Dateline, are silent. There have been no discussions on whether HOAs, as de facto governments, should by made a government entity. Or whether state legislatures should continue to allow equitable servitude law to supersede contract and constitutional law. Or the lack of debate on the absence of “truth in HOAs” disclosures, similar to truth in lending and truth in advertising.

Or what is the legitimate government interest to allow private governments to deny the equal application of the laws. Or to allow constructive notice – just take your deed — to bind unsuspecting home buyers to the CC&Rs sight unseen. Apparently there is no need to inform buyers at closing of the great leap that they are taking into the unknown.

Doesn’t the news media understand, haven’t they been taught in journalism 101, that silence carries an acceptance of conditions and events. With no opposing views, what do they think their viewers will accept and believe. Obviously, “No news is good news.” And this silence has helped generate the national groupthink that “HOAs are the next best thing to Mom’s apple pie.” This silence helps generate an inbreeding, a closed group without outside reality testing for verification. (See the seminal work by Irving Janis, Victims of Groupthink, 1972).

Here’s what the activist group, Psychologists for Social Responsibility (PsySR), has to say about groupthink (my emphasis).

A group is especially vulnerable to groupthink when its members are similar in background, when the group is insulated from outside opinions, and when there are no clear rules for decision making. Groupthink occurs when groups are highly cohesive and when they are under considerable pressure . . . . When pressures for unanimity seem overwhelming, members are less motivated to realistically appraise the alternative courses of action available to them. These group pressures lead to carelessness and irrational thinking since groups experiencing groupthink fail to consider all alternatives and seek to maintain unanimity. Decisions shaped by groupthink have low probability of achieving successful outcomes.

And PsySR finds fault with the media for failing to inform its viewers about the alternative views of others.

Knowledge is power and we as citizens and as a nation are becoming less powerful. The American press, especially the television news media, has let down the American people and the American people have allowed this to happen. US television news is geared more toward providing entertainment than information.

We can now answer why this silence, why this unspoken alliance of no negatives about HOAs. The history of the media’s role with respect to substantive issues on HOA constitutionality, and other legalities, has gone through four stages: 1) repeat what the special interests have to say, 2) allow advocates to speak out in opposition, 3) report only favorable stories, and 4) withdrawal from the controversy. (See Arizona HOA News History).

The reason for this withdrawal by the media can be found in their realization that the HOA legal concept cannot be defended without renouncing the US Constitution and our system of democratic government. In short, any such attempt would be Defending the Indefensible. So, silence is the only option if one truly believes, in spite of the overwhelming evidence, that HOAs are better than Mom’s apple pie.

With that I say, “Good night and good luck.”   Those of you living in HOAs surely need lots of it.
Advertisements
Published in: on March 16, 2012 at 2:52 pm  Comments (8)  
Tags: , , , , ,

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://pvtgov.wordpress.com/2012/03/16/good-night-and-very-good-luck-the-unspoken-media-hoa-alliance/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] HOA (Why do people harm others in HOAs?), the “unspoken alliance of no negatives about HOAs” (Good night and very good luck – the unspoken media HOA alliance, CA court upholds HOA suit against real estate agents), and the failure of state legislatures to […]

  2. “You can’t change anything that you allow yourself to tolerate”.
    – Mark Wayne Mullins

    “Everybody who says there should be no foreclosure power is in truth an HOA/condo abolitionist who wants them to go bust.
    That is a totally irresponsible position….I do believe that HOAs need to have recourse to judicial foreclosure.”
    -Evan McKenzie (1/22/12)

    • Dear Anonymous,

      Your post is argumentative and a biased excerpt from what McKenzie posted on the 22nd. Let the readers of this blog decide for themselves.

      Evan McKenzie said…
      “There is no contradiction between my 2004 comments and the ones I just made. I’m just repeating what I have always said: Nonjudicial foreclosure should be illegal. Period. Judicial foreclosure has to be available for assessment collection, or many people will stop paying assessments and the few who pay will carry the load for those who refuse. But it should be impossible to foreclose on owners for a few hundred bucks in assessments and thousands in attorney fees. I have said this over and over.

      “Everybody who says there should be no foreclosure power is in truth an HOA/condo abolitionist who wants them to go bust.
      That is a totally irresponsible position that would cause millions of current owners to suffer great financial hardship.
      Here is what I said before, and I say the same thing today:
      “As for foreclosure, to me it is an extremely harsh remedy that should only be available as a last resort and with greatly increased limitations and protections for the owner. I want to stop these foreclosures for $250 and $2500 in attorney fees, and I think nonjudicial foreclosure should be legally prohibited.”
      and:
      “In my opinion, HOAs should not be allowed to use nonjudicial foreclosure. The practice is being abused by a small number of collections attorneys who have invaded the field of community association law but who in reality wouldn’t recognize “community” if it walked up and bit them on the butt. These folks are community destroyers–the HOA version of divorce lawyers. Their goal is foreclosure, not collection of delinquent assessments. But I do believe that HOAs need to have recourse to judicial foreclosure as a last resort. Associations need to get paid. They must be able to defend themselves against chronic deadbeats, or disaster will result for those who are paying their assessments as they are forced to carry the load for the free riders. Associations don’t have the resources to cushion them for years of non-payment by a significant number of residents. Leaving associations only with recourse to debtors’ personal assets–garnishment, attachment, and so forth–will crush many innocent, dues-paying members, and eventually lead to association insolvency. At least, that’s the way it looks to me.”

      “So–keep judicial foreclosure with limits, including that the action must be over a certain amount of unpaid assessments (say, $1000), not including attorney fees. If the unpaid assessments are below the jurisdictional amount of assessments, the action is dismissed. If the owner pays the assessments, the action is dismissed and the lawyer’s claim is no longer part of a foreclosure action.

      “January 22, 2012 11:13:00 AM CST”

  3. I cannot over stress the importance of the time and effort you have exerted on behalf of homeowners and the dangers that the HOA’s present to home buyers. Retirees beware.

    We purchased a home in Arizona retirement community and did not spend enough time reading the contract. We later found that we has committed to a health plan which promised a nurse practitioner who could diagnosis and treat. Later this nurse practitioner left and was replaced with a nurseRN..

    Now we must travel 50 miles round trip for medical care,
    but still pay(105/month) for the promised service. Also we must contribute to a charity $150.00 a month controled by a outside board.(and it is not tax deductable).

  4. Media has become useless, reporting the sad social stories and tugging at the emotiions, like a soap opera. But avoiding any real issues. That’s why Americans are so poorly informed and pooorly equipped. Very sad.

    • That’s all too true. The really sad part is that some of these youngsters actually believe that they are doing a public service – – as long as the applause continues.

  5. I use to wonder how bright, energetic and educated civilizations could go completely off the rails (20th century Germany, Japan and Italy to name a few)
    That the press does not recognize what is going on in HOA land, and how innocent homeowners are being fleeced in staggering numbers….
    It truly is a concern that we hear next to nothing about it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: