For my money Bullwinkle is one of the top five cartoons of all time. Subversive is a pretty apt description of the show in those way-way-way back pre-cable days. One of Bullwinkle Moose’s favorite expressions: “If it’s in the newspaper, it must be true,”(though to do it justice you really have to hear him say it).
It was satirical then and it’s satirical now, when newspapers are online. “If it’s on the Internet, it must be true,” would be Bullwinkle’s new catchphrase. Most people would laugh, shake their heads and agree – even the ones who repost photos of Obama and the aliens from Roswell drinking beer on Facebook.
But that doesn’t stop anyone from finding and believing exactly what they wanted to find and believe . . . and sharing. This seems to particularly apply to legal matters. Let’s face it, there have been some insane court decisions over the past few hundred years of our common law, there’s bound to be one floating around out there for virtually any ‘no hope’ scenario.
There have been a few real outliers when it comes to foreclosures – homeowners who through a long series of tortuous litigation(is that redundant?) end up with a ‘free house’. In the time it took to get the free house there were probably thousands of modifications, negotiated short sales, all manner of not-so-horrible outcomes for other homeowners . . . yet the once-in-a-lifetime, all the planets perfectly aligned, outcome hits the Internet with all the subtlety of a Floyd Mayweather news conference.
This is the bane of my lawyerly existence. Unlike Bullwinkle’s newspapers, news of
‘A Resounding Victory for Homeowners’
doesn’t stay in the Business section – it spreads like wildfire and the more it spreads the more the magic of SEO kicks in and the higher it pops up in searches and the more . . .
Well, you know how it goes. It ends with homeowners under threat of foreclosure searching the net for help and having to scroll through dozens and dozens of ‘I got my home for free‘, ‘I got my client a house for free‘, ‘you can get your house for free‘, articles, blog posts, outright solicitations, before they get to the real world of foreclosure defense.
Not great for realistic expectations. It makes my job harder… though it can be even worse, as we’ll discuss in the next blog post.