Editorial: Mobile Home Journalism is Biased
If you’ve read this blog for any length of time you know I despise the stigma and stereotype that mobile homes have. I feel it is undeserved, unfair and unjust. In my humble opinion, our homes and all the people in them should be celebrated and honored for living an affordable lifestyle. There are so many great benefits and advantages of manufactured homes. One simply has to review an average family balance sheet to see the most significant advantage.
Our Top Priority
Ending the stigma and educating others to understand that our homes are safe, worthy and overall great homes has always been a priority here at Mobile & Manufactured Home Living. By sharing all these beautiful mobile homes I feel we are making significant progress, too. Trying to dispel a well-known stereotype is like trying to stop a forest fire with a single bucket of water though. There has to be something, besides just rumors, causing the problem. Something that keeps making mobile homes seem like the fire, tornado and trash magnets they are ‘supposed’ to be and, well, I think I’ve found it.
I get Google alert emails once a week. Basically, it’s a weekly list of all the online posts and articles that Google finds with particular keywords I have chosen. Two of my keywords are ‘mobile home‘ and ‘manufactured home.’ I always review these lists in hopes of finding beautiful homes to share. After receiving these emailed alerts for more than a year, I have come to a remarkable conclusion.
Journalists are the #1 reason mobile homes have a bad reputation. Yes, journalist, the very people that are supposed to be neutral on all subjects.
Please allow me to explain before you click away or qualify me as a conspiracy nut. First, I should note that I have worked at a weekly newspaper so I understand the process of publishing a small hometown paper. There’s never enough copy to fill all the pages so most editors use fillers. These fillers are often from a free or subscribed service that provides press releases and advertisements disguised as an article. There’s also the public interest stories, cartoons, and non-profit ads.
Apparently, there is also the ever significant, ever-present mobile home story and it’s most likely going to be about a fire, a murder, a break-in or a fight. These stories are easy enough to write. Heck, all the writers have to do is listen to the scanner, take a trip or even just look on Facebook for a photo and put together the article in less than 30 minutes.
Horror, tragedy and scare tactics sell, too. The public eats this stuff up and loves to read and watch murder shows and mysteries. The journalists are simply giving the public what they want, right? Maybe, then again it all seems very biased to me.
It doesn’t matter if 18 stick-built homes caught fire last night, the only one that will get significant coverage will be the one mobile home fire. A murder in the upper end of town may get a small article but you better believe the one in the trailer park is going to get a bigger one.
Out of the 45 articles Google displayed, 6 of them were negative free but of those 6, 2 weren’t even about real mobile homes and 1 was an ad on Craigslist. 34 of those articles were about fires.
The craziest thing about all this is that Foremost Insurance Company shows that site-built homes are more than twice as likely to experience a fire than manufactured homes. According to this study, the number of home fires is 17 per 1,000 for site-built homes, while only 8 per 1,000 for manufactured homes.
Why, then, is mobile homes always associated with fires and negativity? By the way, a Google Alert for stick-built home and house brought up NO fire articles.
Break the Stereotype
I believe this can change. All we have to do is use our voice. Every time you see a local article on FB or on the TV or newspaper about a mobile home fire ask if there were any stick-built home fires the night before and if so, why wasn’t there any coverage on it. Do the same with murders and break-ins.
Related: How the Mobile Home Stigma Began.
Of course, we want to be nice and non-judgmental but make the point, get the conversation started and make others wonder the same. There are 18 million of us living in a mobile home and we deserve to have our homes respected and the truth is known about them. The first step is to end the mobile home journalism bias.
As always, thank you for reading Mobile Home Living.