As news goes, 2000 was kind of a dud.

Oh sure, we had the dangling chads in Florida and the Subway Series in New York. But beyond that, nothing much sticks out in my mind. In our industry, the news was even less, well, “exciting.”

But does it have to be?

In the past we’ve been enchanted with the CFC issues, consolidation, and deregulation. We attached quite a bit of importance to these “controversies.” Although they still remain a large part of our world, their stars have faded somewhat. To put it bluntly, the hvacr industry isn’t making “big news” right now.

But, I ask again, does it have to? After all, why call attention to an industry that seems to hum along at a steady pace, providing the basics of comfort and safety to millions of people with little fanfare? If it isn’t broken, there’s no need to fix it, right?

Plenty of News

If you take a journalist’s point of view, which I am paid to do, you look under every rock and behind every closed door to find some shred of news that is of value to your readers. It doesn’t have to be controversial or overbearing, either.

With news events such as the International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition later this month in Atlanta and the annual ACCA Conference in Las Vegas next month, there will be no shortage of useful information that The News staff will package up, nice and neat, and disseminate to our readers.

We’ll come away with an abundance of articles on new products, equipment, and news that will carry us through the winter. What I’m trying to say is, even though the industry may not be exciting right now, there’s no need to “wag the dog,” so to speak.

Just in case you did not see the movie Wag the Dog, Robert DeNiro and Dustin Hoffman invented a fake war to divert attention from a scandal involving the president. Their goal was to boost the president’s popularity in the weeks before the election and make voters forget about negative issues surrounding the White House.

Using the power of the media and an array of specially edited news clips, the two pulled it off and Americans were convinced that the U.S. was at war with Albania — when no war existed.

I’m not advocating a war between the hvacr community and some other outside industry. No way. We have enough to think about in our daily lives without dealing with some trumped-up figment of this journalist’s imagination. But, I confess, I do have an imagination.

Little Green Men?

Therefore, if Icouldmanufacture a story this year, it would center around a group of extraterrestrials who visit the planet in mid-July and begin dying because they can’t handle the heat (à laWar of the Worlds). They seek refuge in a building that is properly air conditioned to revive themselves, but a brownout causes a system failure. In the middle of the busiest season of the year, an a/c contractor diverts one of its service trucks to the sweltering building and the service tech saves the aliens —which ultimately saves the planet. (It seems our visitors were planning to destroy Earth in retaliation for their “warm” reception.)

I told you I had an imagination, didn’t I?

But back to reality. And the reality is there’s no need to wag the dog in our industry.

I am currently working on a news story that will embrace some of the many newsy events of the past few years. This story won’t be a fabrication — it will be news. It is an issue that I believe affects most of us in the hvacr business and one that has many positive aspects (and possibly some not-so-positive ones, too).

No manufactured stories will be rolling off my fingertips, especially the negative type as seen in Wag the Dog. We don’t need to magnify the bad things in our industry — there are enough people outside of our industry who are capable of doing that.

Hall is business management editor. He can be reached at 734-542-6214; 734-542-6215 (fax); (e-mail).

Publication date: 01/08/2001