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A Fake News Story in the Financial Markets Exposes so Many Problems in the Media

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When ignoring journalism basics is somebody else’s fault.

It was a curiosity yesterday morning in the digital currency exchanges that only lasted a couple of hours. A story surfaced as the markets opened involving the cryptocurrency Litecoin, where it was announced that Wal-Mart would begin accepting the currency in transactions. After an initial announcement, the story was picked up by CNBC, and Reuters, and this led to a spike in interest that saw prices for Litecoin shoot up 25% at one point. The issue: The entire story was not true at all. 

While the entire drama played out in the somewhat insular realm of financial news, it is no less illustrative of the conditions in the media complex as a whole. An industry that was incensed anytime former PresidentTrump would accuse them of trafficking in fake news has shown numerous times of late how it operates exactly in that fashion. To get into the latest example, here, first, is the story.

A press release went out that declared Wal-Mart would begin accepting Litecoin as an acceptable payment for purchases in its online portals. This would be accepted globally for any internet-based shopping. Reuters even reprinted the press release.

Press release on Walmart’s litecoin partnership is fake – CNBC https://t.co/ZVX0gXmcTk pic.twitter.com/cpDDel6rwF

— Reuters (@Reuters) September 13, 2021

The origin of this press release was the GlobeNewswire service, a syndicate that sends out PR notices to news outlets. It originated in its network from an account and was sent out at 9:30 am. Minutes later, the notification was retweeted on the Litecoin official Twitter account, and soon thereafter, a number of news outlets picked up on the headline and repeated the news. The price of Litecoin rose by over 27%, before dropping back down to its normal trading level after an hour when the falsification was reported.

So how did this happen? Well, a number of red flags were ignored in the rush to repeat the news. The first is that the press release originated from a new user account in the GlobeNewswire network. The second would be that Wal-Mart does

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