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Is "Fake News" Hurting The Manufactured Industry?


I always make a point of focusing on the positive side of things, but after the recent personal attacks that were made about industry people and consistent, negative, biting stories being published about the manufactured housing industry, I decided it was time to speak up.

One of the best things that ever happened to me was meeting Bruce Savage, then Communications Director for The Manufactured Housing Institute at The International Builders Show some 20 years ago (Where does the time go!). Champion Homes had a spectacular modular home on display, and as soon as I toured it, I knew this type of construction was the future, and I wanted to be a part of it. I called, wrote, even showed up on the MHI doorstep in Washington DC, begging to have a way to get involved and to learn more. They let me volunteer to do the styling and decor for the Homes for Homeless Veterans that MHI was involved with in Houston, it happened to be a Patriot home, and the rest is history.

Patriot provided me with the knowledge and hands-on experience that made my love for the industry and the people who live in our homes and build these quality driven homes grow, and now everywhere I go I share the factory built housing story and encourage people to revisit what factory built housing now offers.

That being said, I have never understood what anyone has to gain by hurting others and an industry that has always been so supportive to so many. Especially in this new world with social media and everyone being able to portray themselves as an "expert" when you put something out there, no matter if it is fake or true facts, it's going to be out there forever, and your name will be with it.

Alternative facts may work in politics, but there is no place for them if you are putting yourself out there as legitimate media, editorial, and news sources. If you deceive consumers and your readers, you have lost their trust forever.

What got me started on this is that there's someone out there who wants to be taken seriously and trusted, but what is talked about and shared are the "alternative facts" that they share instead and the repetition of fake news. We have started a new resource - Manufactured Housing Life - that shares articles that others have written about the manufactured housing industry. I've been feeling like I'm playing Whack a Mole because this person is using so many different domains and dubious pages to share negative stories about our industry I can't keep up! He's using these resources as his "bully pulpit" to attack initiatives that he has no first-hand knowledge of and using sensationalized headlines that often have no relevance to the story.

I would like to propose that it's time to move forward and to look ahead at all of the great opportunities in front of us. The Manufactured Housing Institute continues to be THE voice for the manufactured industry that represents our industry to Washington and to consumers. I've recently been watching what Patti Boerger, the new Vice President of Communications for MHI has been able to accomplish and it's impressive. If you haven't visited the newly revised MHI website recently you should - it is a wealth of information and a great representation of what our industry is all about.

Clayton Homes is starting a new campaign that I'm hearing rave reviews about, and Cavco Industries really did all of us proud at the recent International Builders Show - I almost feel like things have come full circle in a good way. Let's support those that support us and continue to share all of the good news about manufactured housing!