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New York magazine's 'boy wonder' investor story completely fabricated

Fake news

(NaturalNews) Journalistic integrity appears to be in short supply these days, at least in terms of what the mainstream media is dishing out to the public. First there was the Rolling Stone campus rape story scandal, and then in the past couple of weeks we've been deluged with more and more revelations regarding the numerous fabrications foisted on unsuspecting viewers by NBC News anchorman Brian Williams.

Another recent story, one slightly more trivial in nature that did not receive the same amount of national attention as the above-mentioned scandals but which also underscores the lack of fact-checking among media outlets, concerns false statements made by a New York City high school student regarding an alleged fortune made in the stock market.

Mohammed Islam, a 17-year-old senior at Stuyvesant High School in Queens, was featured in a story published in the December edition of New York magazine in which he claimed that he had earned $72 million through investing in the stock market. The publication included the teen and his spurious story in its annual "Reasons to Love New York" issue.

Although it's a bit unclear exactly how the rumor got started and how it led to Islam's being interviewed and featured, what is now clear is that the story was 100 percent false. Islam has since admitted that he has made absolutely no money whatsoever in the stock market and that the whole thing was a big joke that somehow got out of hand.

In fact, things got so far out of hand that other media outlets also picked up the story -- also without bothering to do any fact-checking -- and the alleged teen "boy wonder" investor also ended up being featured in a New York Post feature before anyone figured out that the story was untrue.

Islam is the leader of an "investment club" at his high school and apparently has had some success in simulated stock trading programs but has admitted that he has never made a single dime in real world trading.

In the interviews, Islam and his friend Damir Tulemaganbetov regaled reporters with tales of caviar dinners and BMWs they are too young to drive, and somehow, incredibly, no one thought it necessary to check the veracity of the statements.

With classic 20/20 hindsight, it now appears that it would have been virtually impossible to make as much money as Islam claimed to have made in the short time he had supposedly been investing -- even if he had started off with $100,000 in money to invest.

It also stands to reason that Jessica Pressler, the "journalist" who originally interviewed Islam and published the story without bothering to find out whether or not it was true, must be completely mortified and red-faced with embarrassment, if she still has a job at all.

In their apology, the magazine claims that it did send a fact-checker to corroborate the story and that Islam "produced a document that appeared to be a Chase bank statement attesting to an eight-figure bank account."

Perhaps New York magazine can be partially forgiven for wanting to publish such an "irresistible" story and for wanting to believe the words of the rather innocent-looking student -- we all love a success story, after all.

But one can't help but feel that, lately, serious journalism has taken a back seat to sensationalism and that much of the mainstream media seems more concerned with ratings than with truth. This state of affairs is really nothing new in the world of journalism, but it does seem as if the mass media have reached a new low in terms of reporting the truth.

Perhaps that's why people are increasingly turning to other sources, such as Natural News, to get their information.




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