The Verbal Elite vs. Landlords
(and other money-grubbing types)

Does media coverage of landlord issues reflect that fact that landlords and media editors and reporters inhabit two different cultures?

Most reporters have graduated from college. Many small landlords have not.

Most reporters (except for freelancers) are on a fixed salary and enjoy prestige in the community. Most landlords live or die by the profits afforded by their properties. Their public image is not the best.

Reporters know how to express their thoughts in written language. Landlords can sometimes be inarticulate in that medium. They know how to fix broken plumbing and leaky roofs but not necessarily bad grammar in a sentence.

Reporters are part of a bureaucracy which has certain values. They try to work by consensus. Landlords are sometimes lone operators who make snap judgments as the need arises. They are boss over their own small world. They don’t care so much about how they are regarded so long as business gets taken care of properly.

Reporters generally reflect the community’s values among which integrity and fidelty to ideas and values are prized more than money. By this standard, landlords often come across as money-grubbing individuals. (But landlords usually pursue money out of a fear that they will run short, not gleeful pride over swollen bank accounts.) Frankly, reporters do not like relatively uneducated or unpolished individuals who have money.

Reporters are continually constructing a morality play that reflects their values. Landlords are suited up to play the stock character of a villain in this play. They come from a different culture than the reporters, who have little sympathy for them.

Reporters much prefer the people who manage housing nonprofits since their expressed purpose is to do good - i.e., they provide affordable housing for the poor. Even though private landlords provide much the same service while working longer hours at a lower rate of pay, they are not respected since their purpose is said to be to earn profits rather than provide a service.

The verbal elite is good at issuing public statements, applying for grants, and communicating with the media. Nobody knows or cares what the small business operators think.

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