Two stories – one fake, one painfully real – aired in dotted lines on Monday morning. Two stories, so bafflingly stupid in their content, that it’s hard to tell which one would win (or lose?) In a contest to decide which is the dumbest story of the day.
In one corner, fake news was accidentally picked up by serious news outlets and created a crypto mini-bubble in the process. In another, a group of policy consultants turned to a highly specialized, trendy business consulting brand that feels ripped off Veep. We just can’t resist diving into both.
Dumb and even dumber
Let’s set the scene. Early Monday morning, GlobeNewswire sent out a press release announcing that Walmart had entered into a partnership with litecoin, a little-known cryptocurrency. Soon after, legitimate news sources told the story as well, and Litecoin’s value rose. But there’s a catch: the press release was bogus, the partnership was fictional, and now all the journalists look foolish.
- Reuters, Yahoo Finance and CNBC all took the thread’s comments seriously and published the article without further verification; the Financial Times, however, could not find a corresponding press release on Walmart’s website or Form 8-K on its SEC page.
- Litecoin, which had a brief spike to $ 300 during the great crypto boom of May 2021, has mostly been trading around $ 175 per coin for most of the summer and opened at $ 183 on Wednesday; after the success of the fake news, that number jumped to $ 233.75, followed by a sharp drop after a series of retractions.
Walmart quickly denied the story, bringing the embarrassing episode to an end.
Speaking of embarrassing episodes: a group of former Kamala Harris campaign advisers have started a new strategy firm to help CEOs avoid embarrassing episodes. The group, dubbed C Street, is working to prevent CEOs from being “canceled” and hopes to help companies navigate the difficult waters of so-called “waking capitalism.”
The general merits, pitfalls, and realities of cancellation culture are all in the eye of the beholder. But one thing’s for sure: is there an easier way to get the hang of it than to call the anti-cancellation crisis management company?