Sunday, February 08, 2009

HeraldTrib Today Feb. 8, 2009

Ashton Heights’ Bilich May Enter the Fight for the 47th…

In a story about Alan Howze’s entry into the race for the 47th legislative district (he’s the fifth to enter), the Arlington Connection’s David Schultz also mentioned that Ashton Heights Civic Association President Ted Bilich was considering a run. I’ll admit this was news to me. Read David’s full story here.

I was a bit snarky, but it wasn’t a joke…

Scott McCaffrey, editor of the “Big Dog” newspaper, Arlington's Sun Gazette, wondered on his blog if my rather snarky comment on the Jan. 25 HeraldTrib Today was in jest. I wrote:

“A Jan. 12 article in the Wall Street Journal reports that David Lereah, a chief economist with the National Association of Realtors, was asked to make his predictions rosier than they really were, especially just before the housing market hit crisis levels.

“The Journal wrote: ‘[Mr. Lereah] says he was pressured by executives to issue optimistic forecasts -- then was left to shoulder the blame when things went sour. ‘I was there for seven years doing everything they wanted me to,’ he said, looking out his window to his tree-filled yard in this Washington suburb.’

“Funny that Scott McCaffrey has not written about any of this in the Sun Gazette.”

A bit snarky, I’ll admit, but my point is this:

The Sun Gazette covers the real estate market more than any other news source in Arlington. If the chief economist for the National Association of Realtors says he was pressured to make his analysis of the numbers rosier, perhaps the Sun Gazette should give a call to the economist and others in the industry and find out for itself if the Sun Gazette has been misled.

The sort of reporting the WSJ ran makes me wonder if the Sun Gazette’s coverage is accurate. A note from the editor saying that he has looked at the issue and has made adjustments as needed would go a long way to making me trust the paper. If no adjustments are needed, then explain why not and write that.

Newspapers do this sort of thing whenever they find out a source has gone sour, even if it is just sour grapes.

Had Scott McCaffrey done this, he would have also found the correction and clarification the WSJ ran which says Mr. Lereah was not asked really to cook the books when projecting, but just to make the current numbers look nicer than they were. All of that is worth a phone call or two, I think.

Instead of running a story about this, however, the “Big Dog” talked about how far he can reach when he urinates (read the blog post here). That is both gross and off-topic.

Generally, when newspapers talk about being dogs, they talk about being watchdogs protecting their readership. When you’re a watchdog, nobody cares how far you piddle, just that you’re guarding the house.

The Week’s Headlines…
As always, you can scroll down to see all the recent stories, or simply click the links below (if the link doesn't work, scroll down to find the story, and email to tell me what's busted: --Steve Thurston).

Headlines Since the Last HeraldTrib Today:

  • Mosaic Park Upgrade Includes Water, Other Elements (Feb. 7)
  • Mosaic Park Public Meetings (There is still time to get your point made; see the story).
  • Additions and Basement Apartments for Buckingham Village 3 (Feb. 2).
  • BCCA to Meet with Developer (Jan. 26)
  • Police Notes Jan. 29 to Feb. 5 (None!)
  • Police Notes
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