On Feb 8, 2019, Managing Partner and Head of Research at Fundstrat Thomas Lee responded to an article written by Yashu Gola and published by CCN, a website which discusses cryptoassets. He stated that the article was “fake news.”
An analysis of Gola’s article shows that much of the information was gathered from a piece written by Joanna Ossinger for Bloomberg the day prior.
There are four areas of CCN’s article that could be construed as fake news:
- It falsely reported goals set by the company.
- It falsely reported on the medium of communication between Robert Sluymer and Bloomberg.
- It misquoted source material.
- It reported on what Robert Sluymer said but claims she is reporting on statements from the firm itself.
No Goals Set
In the headline of Gola’s article for CCN, it claimed that Fundstrat had set a price target for Bitcoin (BTC) for the first quarter of 2019 at $2,270. Lee, however, stated that the firm was no longer providing time frames for price targets on Dec 13, 2018. Furthermore, the cited information is presented in the article by Ossinger.
Ossinger did not cite a price target for Bitcoin. She cited Robert Sluymer, Fundstrat’s Managing and Technical Director, as saying that $2,270 was an implied decline — given a break below $3,100 for BTC in the fourth quarter of 2018. This is not a price target.
Furthermore, Sluymer does not offer any time frame at which this decline might be reached. While the numbers are properly cited, everything else about CCN’s claims seems invented.
Fake news. This is not what our firm said https://t.co/KvwlpwvIHs
— Thomas Lee (@fundstrat) February 8, 2019
Email vs. Note
Though less significant, the author also assumes the communication method between Sluymer and Bloomberg. Gola states that Sluymer emailed Bloomberg the information Ossinger reports on in her article. However, Ossinger’s article merely states that the information was gathered from a note.
While it is possible that this was an emailed note, there are many other methods by which a note can be given from one party to another. There is no mention of the word ’email’ in the article by Ossinger.
Misquoting Source Material
Perhaps the most worrisome aspect of the fake news is that the author directly misquoted source material. Ossinger reports on a supposed quote given by Sluymer. She writes:
“The price structure for most cryptocurrencies remains weak and appears vulnerable to a pending breakdown to lower lows,” Sluymer wrote. Fundstrat’s advance/decline indicator, which measures market breath for 250 small-cap cryptocurrencies, “is at risk of breaking to new lows.”
Gola, however, copies this section of the article but quotes it entirely to Sluymer. She writes:
The price structure for most cryptocurrencies remains weak and appears vulnerable to a pending breakdown to lower lows. Fundstrat’s advance/decline indicator is at risk of breaking to new lows.
What appears most strange is that there is a deletion of punctuation in CCN’s rendition of Ossinger’s text. There are commas and parenthesis which had been removed in order for the quote to read as it does.
Bloomberg in the Wrong?
Ossinger’s piece, however, does contain an error in the title. She writes that the remarks made by Sluymer in the text of the article were actually made by Fundstrat as a company. While this error is corrected in the article where Sluymer is cited as a person, this mistake became fake news in CCN’s article. First, her title alleges that the false price target was set by Sluymer. This sets the tone for the rest of the piece where she states that at least some of Sluymer’s remarks were from Fundstrat.
This is false according to Ossinger’s source material to which CCN links these comments. All the comments were Sluymer’s and should not necessarily represent the company or anyone else associated with it. An individual person is capable of making comments of their own volition free from the company or companies which they are associated.
In short, there are many examples of what might be considered fake news in Gola’s article for CCN on Tom Lee. Nonetheless, these could just be construed as errors or mistakes. In any case, Lee certainly appears validated in calling out CCN for their publication of this piece.
How do you think people should respond to fake news such as that published by CCN? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
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