Major outlets mislead viewers about nature of spike in silver stock price
Publishers note: This story is not financial advice. The information following is fact-checked information regarding stories published by major media outlets on Monday morning that raised red flags of caution. We remain obligated to introduce true information to our readers — so they can consult their trusted financial advisors — in making informed decisions.
Monday morning, a slew of news outlets — The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Business Insider, USA Today, Bloomberg, Daily Mail, and CNBC — posted articles claiming “Reddit” users moved the investment action from GameStop (NYSE: GME) to silver.
The news rallied silver to an eight-year high, but the stories from the trusted financial news sources conflicted with the actual subreddit r/wallstreetbets — the source of discussions that prompted the GameStop stock surge.
For those unfamiliar with the sources in reference from Reddit, see:
While CNN and others report “Reddit investors target precious metals” to their viewers on live television, the front page of reddit.com shows the trending posts tell a much different story — in fact calling out CNN for outright lying to their viewers.
“CNN BACK. OFF. This is a LIE. Literally a 5 second scroll of our board would inform this to be untrue. EDUCATE yourselves!!!!!” was posted to r/wallstreetbets at 8 a.m. on Monday, with a picture of the television of CNN’s reporting. The post was upvoted more than 180,000 times as Wall Street Bets users continue to promote focus on GME and AMC stocks.
CNN BACK. OFF. This is a LIE. Literally a 5 second scroll of our board would inform this to be untrue. EDUCATE yourselves!!!!! from r/wallstreetbets
Reviewing reddit.com’s front page shows the top trending posts from the Wall Street Bets readers holding on AMC or buying into GME, but nothing in support of buying silver — in fact, quite the opposite.
The subreddit r/wallstreetbets increased membership from 1.8 million users in early January to more than 8 million users as of Feb. 1. On Monday alone, the group gained another 100,000 members.
Many viewers of CNN, Bloomberg, or CNBC may not be Reddit users and not know that the information those media companies are distributing nationwide was entirely debunked by the Reddit users they are referencing.
The controversy over GameStop and the Reddit users that have boosted GME stock at a significant cost to hedge fund managers who had shorted the stock has made international news. Melvin Capital — the hedge fund shorting the GameStop stock — lost billions of dollars, amounting to 53 percent of its value, in January, and the “short squeeze” is not over as Wall Street Bets continues to hold on GME.
Citadel Advisors LLC bailed out Melvin Capital with $2.75 billion for a non-controlling revenue share in Melvin to help Melvin cover the losses on their short bets.
Citadel is a major investor in silver and stands to benefit from the silver price surge. Business Insider reported Citadel owned 6 million shares in silver as of Sept. 30, 2020.
Some have made the connection that the rise in silver costs helps Citadel cover the losses ongoing in the battle over GME stock prices.
The Reddit users in Wall Street Bets subreddit warned its readers on Monday morning that the news coming out of CNN, Bloomberg, and CNBC is “Fake news” as those outlets continue to claim “retail traders lose interest in GameStop.” The warning on Reddit was upvoted 65,000 times.
Popular YouTube commentator Tim Pool, has covered the GameStop story since it exploded. Pool is a loud critic of media dishonesty who gets millions of views on his YouTube channels every month. His analysis of the news on Monday was that “The veil is shattered, the lies are obvious, and the desperation is clear … it’s amazing right now, how obvious it is … no better example of ‘fake news.'”
Pool visited the Wall Street Bets site to check himself. He found top posts on the page contradict information distributed by major media outlets — largely and loudly, Reddit users warned against any purchases of silver — yet the media spent the morning making claims that “Reddit users” were surging on the silver stock.
“These people at these news outlets don’t fact-check,” Pool said. “They report what they are told, because people in finance desperately want silver to spike. Citadel, one of the primary companies being negatively impacted by the short squeeze owns a ton of silver. They will sell it at a high price to cover their losses and make their money back.”
Pool continued to explain how the media is targeting “[Baby] Boomers and Gen Xers — who don’t know a whole lot about Reddit, and are just going to open up CNBC, and see that silver is jumping — and they are hoping that these people without paying attention will jump on board as well.”
The price of silver jumped as much as 12 percent, to more than $29 on Monday morning, generating profits for those already holding silver.
“They are trying to create a silver rush so people who are not on Wall Street Bets start pumping money into silver,” Pool said. “They will then sell out at a great position, make a ton of money — billions and billions of dollars — and then when silver crashes they will say ‘See, we warned you this Reddit stuff was going to be bad.'”
Pool gave an empathetic plea to his listeners and viewers on Monday morning, as his fear was that the stock would tumble once major holders sold off.
“Please, tell your parents, tell your friends, tell your family, tell the people who are not actively paying attention to what is going on about this manipulation,” Pool said. “The media is the primary tool with which they manipulate you with lies, and now as though it was a gift bestowed upon me — thank you Wall Street, thank you NBC, thank you all these outlets putting out this garbage fake news, thank you Bloomberg — because I’ve been trying to warn people for a long time about how the media manipulates and lies … now you have the proof better than ever.”
Pool continued his highly critical rant on media and the establishment.
“They will lie, they will cheat, and they will steal,” Pool said, “and they will wield the powers of the establishment to make sure you don’t win.”
For now, the crisis is impacting those billionaire hedge fund managers and the major Wall Street tycoons, and the media has taken up to broadcast accusations that day traders are akin to the insurgents that stormed the capitol building on Jan. 6 or possibly “foreign agents” inflicting a crisis on Wall Street — a claim even CNBC Mad Money host Jim Cramer mocked.
Over the past two weeks, the financial news cycle buzzed with activity surrounding the GameStop stock as the online community Reddit organized millions of users to invest in the GameStop stock. The activity boosted GameStop stock prices more than 11,000 percent from its stock price six months ago, from $4.11 per share to more than $469 per share at its peak.
The surge began to pick up speed by the first of the new year — up 400 percent at $18.84 — then surging straight up over the month of January as one of the most volatile stocks on the New York Stock Exchange.
The phenomenon put a lot of money into the pockets of individual investors at the expense of billionaire hedge funds. As analyzed by former NBC and CNBC news anchor and commentator Dylan Ratigan, the activity was all perfectly legal and appropriate — that the market will iron out over- or under-priced stocks and some will win and some will lose.
Billionaire hedge fund managers are currently paying the cost and the gains are being made by Reddit users and common day traders, but the battle continues. The damage to silver investors from the misinformation broadcast by CNN, CNBC, Wall Street Journal, and Bloomberg, among others may already be done.
Update Feb. 2, 2021:
Silver plummets and CNBC continues false claims
Approximately 24 hours after an evidently coordinated promotion of silver created a 13 percent surge to peak silver at an eight-year high, the price of the precious metal plummeted below pre-surge price on a downward trajectory. CNBC continues a debunked claim that the surge was a result of Reddit users, claiming “Reddit trades besides GameStop also crater — AMC, silver take big hits” when silver has been widely criticized by the popular trading subreddit r/wallstreetbets as well as the less-speculative subreddit r/stocks.
The explosive national story of GameStop brought widespread attention and subsequent education about the nature of shorting stocks, which is in essence a borrowing of stock, selling at market price then buying back at a lower cost later and returning the borrowed stock to the original owner.
The stocks in discussion on Wall Street Bets — mainly GameStop (GME) and AMC Entertainment Holdings (AMC) — have lost around 50 percent during Tuesday’s trading on the NYSE as of 11 a.m. PT, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average posted midday gains of 542.9 points (1.80 percent) to 30,754.81. Midday Tuesday, silver erased all gains from the previous day spike with continued volatility on a downward trajectory as of 11 a.m. PT.