Does trying to convince people unsure about the shaky economy and plunging home values to sign mortgages seem like a good idea, right now? Pollster Grifter Mark Penn thinks so!

Here is another example of the famous "microtrend" of Penn's PR firm Burson-Marsteller doing really scummy work for really scummy clients, all the time.

Even as the public has grown more skeptical of real estate industry boosterism, the National Association of Realtors, with the help of public relations giant Burson-Marsteller, has been training brokers nationwide to more effectively talk up market positives. Since February 2008, their "Surround Sound" public relations program has taught 3,500 brokers to counter negative news reports about the housing market, according to Liz Giovaniello, who directs the program for NAR.

"We really aren't in the business of turning people into cheerleaders," she said. "And for some people, buying a home isn't the right thing. We're just trying to tell the other side of the story, that every market is different, and some markets didn't have high foreclosures. . . . We didn't feel that it was always being told."

Finally, someone is getting the "other side" of the story of the collapse of the housing bubble: that everyone should still buy lots of houses. That'll be eleventy billion dollars, National Association of Realtors, just make the check out to Mark.

Do any of Burson-Marsteller's clients have even a marginally decent reputation? Are any of them even considered "not evil"? He is so bad at everything, this Mark Penn person!