Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Another example of the famous "fact-checking" that the MSM claim they do

Sixteen-year-old Mohammed Islam wants you to think he's a big shot. On his website, Ettaz Financial, he wears a pair of fogged-over glasses, expression serious, sporting a red tie on a snowy day. The New York high-school junior says he got interested in the financial industry "at the tender age of eight", quickly fell into the third-rate world of penny stocks before graduating to the futures market after finding "a love for risk and volatility". How much has he made? Millions, he said. His net worth has soared into the "high eight figures".

The world is filled with teenagers like Mo Islam, who now says he never made a dime on the stock market. They play fast and loose with facts. But they don't usually get the treatment Islam just got in Sunday's issue of New York Magazine.

The article, reported and written by staff writer Jessica Pressler, begins with a rumour. Someone - it's unspecified who - said Mo had pocketed $US72 million ($87.6 million) by trading penny stocks. "An unbelievable amount of money for anyone, not least a high school student, but as far as rumours go, this one seemed legit," Pressler wrote. The original headline: "A Stuyvesant Senior Made $US72M Trading Stocks on His Lunch Break."

Coming on the heels of Rolling Stone's disastrous story of a University of Virginia gang rape, though nowhere near as serious in its consequences, the story unravelled almost as quickly as it went viral. While the New York Post, the Daily Mail and the Guardian did their versions, New York Magazine's was getting pounded in its comments section: "How dumb do you have to [be] to believe that this kid made $US72 million trading stocks during lunch?"


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

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