The past 18 months have opened my eyes in ways I could not have imagined. I would say I’m taking the red pill, but that has been co-opted as a phrase by the same people who took the word woke – to paraphrase Homer Simpson, that used to be our word.
Regardless, I had always thought I was a cynical man, awake to the corruption of our world and able to see the nature of its dysfunction. It turns out I was wrong. In the words of Bret Weinstein “no matter how cynical I get, it turns out and still naive”.
I always thought that the system was a little broken, in favour of the wealthiest in society and that money and Influence were powerful tools that could be wielded to lean on “journalists” regulators and politicians alike. But over the past 18 months, it has become abundantly clear that most of our national and international bodies have been captured by the very people that they are meant to police.
That means everything from the World Health Organisation and World Bank going to the FDA the FCA and the SEC. Congress has long been bought and paid for (as has Parliament and the House of Commons in the UK) and the unlimited sums of money that continue to pour into politics thanks to Citizens United mean that it is unlikely to change.
The DTCC, the body that oversees insurers and regulates much of the trading of stocks options and derivatives in America is not a federal Agency. Instead, it is run by the heads of the very companies and financial firms it is meant to be overseeing. That is not hyperbolic or a conspiracy theory but the literal fact of how the system is set up. Which brings me to what I know I believe may be the most captured institution of all, the Fourth Estate – the mainstream (read lamestream) Media.
The question that I am posing is how on Earth these truth twisters managed to maintain the level of credibility that they have when they are constantly either lying or wrong?
Before you say anything, I know that producing high-quality content is difficult (trust me I know) and to produce it on a consistent level is even more difficult. Reporting breaking news and attempting to decipher in real-time the facts of an unfolding case can be incredibly difficult and with the amount of trash floating around on the internet, especially thanks to messers Page, Dorsey, and Zuckerberg, it is inevitable that mistakes will be made.
It is easy to look back on a story or opinion with the benefit of hindsight and declare it to have been wrong or say that they should have known better. But with that said, I do not believe that these circumstances took place in any of the examples that I will give here. they are simply a case of either or lazy journalism or worse still institutional capture or shillery.
One, now infamous Tweet from Citron Research (run by activist short seller Andrew Edward Left) declared before the baby squeeze that,
“Tomorrow am at 11:30 EST Citron will livestream the 5 reasons GameStop $GME buyers at these levels are the suckers at this poker game. Stock back to $20 fast. We understand short interest better than you and will explain. Thank you to viewers for pos feedback on last live tweet”
We all know how that played out. It shows you that, in every part of the world, experts are wrong all the time.
Immediately following the baby squeeze to $480 the media was filled with stories about how the hedge funds have covered their short positions and that SLV, not even silver the commodity itself, was being heralded across the board as the new GameStop. This was a real watershed moment for me. I had never seen such a vast chasm between what the media were reporting, and what was actually happening on the ground. To give you just a small indication of how widespread this was, here are a handful of the headlines that were plastered across the internet:
“Retail investors turn attention to silver as GameStop shares retreat” – Reuters (#301)
“GameStop investor battle moves on to silver as prices surge” – BBC (#302)
“WallStreetBets has silver in its sights, but here’s why this speculative rush may be ‘short-lived,’ says analyst” – Market Watch (#304)
“The so-called silver squeeze comes as Reddit traders in recent weeks have been banding together to run up the price of stocks that have been under attack from short-sellers, including GameStop Corp. and AMC Entertainment Group, along with Bed Bath & Beyond and BlackBerry.” – Fox (#305)
“Silver jumps 8%, touches 8 year high as Reddit traders try their squeeze play with the metal” – CNBC (#306)
“Online investors who spurred a trading frenzy in the shares of GameStop Corp. GME 0.06% and AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. have moved onto the global silver market, powering the precious metal to its biggest one-day advance in more than a decade.” – Wall Street Journal (#307)
“The Next GameStop: Silver Bullion?” – The Motley Fool (#308)
“Is Silver the Next GameStop Squeeze? Now it looks like retail traders want to squeeze silver higher. Let’s look at the chart after an explosive open on Monday.” – The Street (#309)
“Move over, GameStop: Reddit traders are targeting silver now” – USA Today (#310)
“Forget GameStop, here’s how to make hay with U.S. farmland” – Yahoo Finance (#64)
Yet, even a cursory glance at the front page of Reddit would have been enough to make you realise how untrue this was. The top post on Reddit, not on any of the investing subreddits, the top across the entire website, warned users that SLV was a distraction from GameStop. r/Wallstreetbets and other associated subreddits were awash with posts telling people not to fall for the “SLV distraction”.
Citadel conveniently the 5th largest stake in the company – this was a newly acquired position, suggesting they may have been trying to offset their losses, or were actively trying to distract the online community to pump their money into SLV instead of holding GME like the diamond hands they claim to be.
Other accusations of media distraction came when there was a lot of hype around a stock called $MVIS, that was being widely discussed on r/WallStreetBets (though the smoothest brained Apes naturally saw it as a distraction) . Numerous posts were pushing the stock, yet CNBC claimed that Reddit was “Short squeezing $SKLZ”.
In conjunction with the rise of SLV posts, the Apes had begun to notice some weird activity in the camp.
When the first SLV post came ‘round few days ago I noticed that all top commenters were dormant accounts resurrected after years of silence. One was inactive for a decade and then began spamming that SLV bullshit. SEC interns, if you are looking for market manipulation, please take a look at those bots resurrecting old accounts.
One user posted after receiving a private message,
“Hi, did you lose money on your GME trade? I can help you recoup your losses. We are looking to pay people to post negative sentiment and posts about selling GME on r/wallstreetbets, r/wallstreetbetsnew, and r/GME.”
He was offered $15 per 1000 word of bearish DD, or $0.50 per bearish comment- comments were deemed to be far more valuable as “comments have the appearance of a group-wide shift in sentiment”. Their algorithm would monitor the account for use of key words or phrases and then paid out the account holders in BTC. The user, after some encouragement from the Apes, then reported the message to the SEC about the potential manipulation of a security.
At one point in early February, CNBC began running paid promo of an article stating that Melvin Capital had closed their short position. xTrends (a company providing real-time market analysis) tweeted – “Just so you know, CNBC is now running ads that claim that Melvin closed its short position. Why would you spend money to convince the public that Melvin has closed its short position. If it is closed, good for them. Why are they running ads?”
The Apes joined xTrends in their suspicions, it is a fair question after all. But in this case it is one with quite a plausible answer. As a news site in a world where mainstream and legacy media is dying, clicks are all that matter, and where GME is generating a major amount of traffic, it is fairly likely that they chose to spend money on boosting any content related to GME. I can relate, my content on GameStop got more traffic than I had ever experienced in my life! It’s part of the reason I decided to write this book.
Some of the media narrative took the tone of caring for the poor and uneducated retail investor who could lose all their money because they don’t know what they are doing. One BBC article entitled “Thrill of investing’ leads young to take risks” read “Young people are investing in high-risk products for the “challenge, competition and novelty” it involves, the City regulator has said… The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) warned they were getting involved in cryptocurrencies and foreign exchange, but could be taking on big risks.” The Guardian went with “Bitcoin and Robinhood will end badly for those who can least afford it”. They claimed that “Millions in precarious jobs are betting scant savings on worthless stocks and cryptocurrencies via share-dealing apps.”
The tone can often be condescending, as if normal people shouldn’t invest in companies they believe in. The overall message of this entire saga from the media and the establishment seemed to be “investing is for rich people, not poor people”. It’s touching when the establishment pretends to care about the rest of us–acting like that what they are saying and doing is to protect us–all whilst they continue to enable the degradation of our institutions and the barefaced corruption that permeates media, business, government, and finance. This was, quite refreshingly, a sentiment I found to be shared by many in the community. In one comment u/butterkips noted the dissonance of the narrative, discouraging people from investing in “risky” trades like GameStop, but to make sure you follow exactly what they are doing next with SLV:
“reddit is buying $GME don’t do what they do”
“reddit is buying silver, dont miss out”
One post that caught my eye echoed the opinion that the media has never cared about the little guy in investing, they didn’t care in 2008 and they are just as unlikely to care now:
No one in the media in my trading history has ever cared or warned me I’m going to lose big money. On the Eve of bear stearns, collapse, they were still telling us to buy. They needed a bag holder. Here, they only tell us to Sell Sell Sell.
No one in my life media, government elitists has ever cared or warned me about being poor. The concern for my mental health and stability is what did it for me. Since when is that a thing. Calling us kids and uneducated was just the cherry on top. I could see the narrative from the beginning. They’re losing. It’s a Psychological war that most of us have already won. I’m not leaving. See you on the moon
u/EasternBearPower took it one step further, suggesting that this might be a way to create the illusion that Redditors were actively collaborating to manipulate markets, rather than just discussing stocks that they like:
This might be a false flag operation.
Step 1: Swarm the place with bots.
Step 2: Start shilling and create conversation.
Step 3: The media picks-up and “blames” the “Reddit Army”.
We are not an army, this is a public forum, everyone says and does whatever it likes.
There is no leader, no group, no common goal besides becoming our wives boyfriend.
Suck a gourd.”
The media were ever-quick to disparage the forums of the internet. The Wall Street Journal commented in an article denigrating a commonly used Ape Discord (a chatroom service used by gamers and apes alike), “The discourse isn’t always positive. An off-Reddit chat room associated with WallStreetBets is filled with obscenity, racism and antigay creeds. Many on the platforms lash out against Wall Street power players, and some express a desire to see the financial pros reel from losses.”
For what it is worth, in my entire time researching and engaging in the community I never came across anyone insulting people based on race, gender, sexuality, the Apes are a diverse and multicultural group brought together by their love of the stock and hatred of the hedgies. The community was largely anonymous and yet mostly kind and supportive. After an article was posted from “The Lily” titled “Women are missing from the GameStop news, Experts blame this ‘fratty’ subreddit.” In the article they alleged “The online forum is ‘not a fun place to be if you’re not a White man’”. The Apes responded in a beautiful way!
“I’m a brown woman in WSB! What the heck is this article talking about?!”
“Thank you all for keeping WSB a hate-free place. I can’t even remember the last time I saw a racist or sexist comment.”
“This is a bullshit article that I addressed last time it was posted.”
“Most media coverage of us has been fair, but this author obviously has an axe to grind.”
“I even reached out to her to fix the errors, and she never answered. Yet she has the audacity to say that the mods did not respond to a request for a comment? Gross.”
“I’m a dreaded “boomer” female (white variety)and WSB is my fave sub in the morning with a coffee and in the evening with a whiskey.”
“As a person of Samoan decent I feel welcome here.”
“Black man here… It’s an absolutely fabulous place for everyone. They need to stop trying to make shit up to get views. They cannot break us.”
“I’ve literally never even seen race even mentioned in this sub.”
“It also helps that this sub’s demographic is 100% idiot, so we have no reason to talk about other races.”
“Because they think we all talk like frat boys. I could be a 74 year old grandmother with a dirty mouth for all they know.”
During the “SLV phase”, there were Apes circulating the idea around camp that someone was tracking the mentions of certain stocks and phrases,
A funny thing about SLV is that a theory that popped up later after that died down was the silver award is one of the most popular in reddit. People usually “thank you for the silver” comment and data scrapers may have accidentally thought it was meant for something else. Fun fact. The fact that citadel is long SLV and the timing however was very sus.
SLV was not the end, it was only the beginning of the road. Next there was RKT. Rocket Companies (another stock conveniently based on a word used widely within the community) was the next hype train that the Apes believed to be a distraction.
Looking at the media happily cheering the “meme” stock RKT while simultaneously shunning GME is FASINATING!
I like watching the narratives the media offers as I believe their entire industry is basically PR for the elites. Watching them celebrate the success of RKT and some even going so far as to recommended it, while those same news outlets are bashing other “meme” stocks like our dear GME is wild. For them to go from the story – Reddit is evil and ruining the market, to Reddit is betting on this, check it out – is very telling in my opinion. I trust the DD, but these daily updates from the news begging me to not buy GME, while at the same time hyping up other meme stocks tell me everything I need to know.
One Ape posted a Trading 212 notification stating “Rocket Companies soars 50% as CNBC says it may be a Reddit short target”. The picture was captioned “Fuck off”.
Paranoia and suspicion were rife:
“The RKT tging is very suspicious
So I warned people about the silver thing last time, but we didn’t fall for it.
Now I want to talk about the current RKT posts and sudden appearance in the news. Well I encourage you to look at the post history of each OP and top commentators, most of them have not been posting in years and first time on here, some also have 2-3 bullshit posts in WSB with a single title like “holding”, and a lot of commentators have 30-35 day old account and first time posting here.”
Essentially they were accusing Hedge Funds (HFs) of using r/WallStreetBets as a pump and dump scheme to raise money. A ‘pump & dump’ describes the financial strategy wherein you hype a stock you hold a position in, based usually on rumours surrounding the stock, in order to pump the price up, then you dump the stock at the top and leave those who bought into the hype taking the massive losses. The person left taking the losses is what is known in the community as a ‘bag holder’ or left ‘bag holding’.
Other Apes were finding it difficult to even post about their suspicions on r/WallStreetBetsNew about RKT,
“Got banned from wsb for calling RKT a decoy. Something is fishy af
I’m just an ordinary retard holding 14 gamestonks and even for me it’s obvious that it’s just another decoy, probably from the hedgies, just like silver. Don’t fuck this up. Apes together strong.
They even pinned the RKT thread to the top today because by the moderator’s own words it would have otherwise been downvoted off the front page. What really constitutes market manipulation?
It’s also likely they are paying botters to downvote discussions on r/wallstreetbets/new”
Another instance where it seemed that comments on investing subreddits were being tracked and influenced was when there was surge in posts a minute apart pushing SSR.
“SSR WILL NOT DISAPPOINT”
Some were fairly sophisticated, using the typing format and slang of the apes.
“SSR LET’S GO (Not a bot). I’ll say something y’all retards say. JiM cRaMeR’s WiFes BoYfRiends CheTeAd on hIM LOOOOLLLL”
But this was not enough to fool the Apes. They discovered that SSR is the trading abbreviation of a silver mining company based in Vancouver, but only when the company is traded in Australia. Seems like a very odd stock to get hyped, but then again you may say, so is GameStop. But, one Ape proposed that the trackers were picking up on the use of the abbreviation SSR, which stands for Short Sale Rule. The SSR was widely discussed amongst the wrinkle-brain apes as part of price manipulation, it restricts short selling shares on a stock for the next day’s trading if the price falls 10% below its opening price.
“WSB shill bots think SSR is a ticker and are spamming it”
If this is actually bots and not idiots, then I suspect that they’ve been coded to hype anything that looks like it might be trending, and then contrast it with GME. Basically, GME is a constant in the code whereas anything else could show up in the variable. SSR is an actual ticker symbol though; it’s a silver-mining company based in Vancouver which owns a mine in Argentina.I’m guessing that there isn’t a way to corrupt the bots which would be safe. They can probably distinguish GME from other stuff. It’s probably got a whole list of ticker symbols that it would find “acceptable” to push to get people off of GME.
One of my favourite parts of these realisations by the apes, was the way in which they responded. Instead of becoming angry that the hedge funds were seemingly trying to spy on their community and using under-hand tactics to distract them (arguably engaging in more market manipulation than the Redditors were ever guilty of), they saw it as vindication and tried to mess up the algorithms further, posting comments all over about made up stock names to see if they could get the bots to push $ASS and $CUM.
“just dumped 10k GME for $ASS! lets go boys! $ASS to the moon!”
“Do I heard MERGER RUMOUR?”
“$CUM to merge with $ASS and form the $YUM consortium!”
“Writing all my tickers in my Handy Dandy Notebook: $CUM $CUM $CUM $CUM $CUM $CUM $CUM $CUM $CUM $CUM $CUM $CUM $CUM $CUM $CUM”
Through every apparent distraction the Apes held the line. Soon it turned to price targets, as the “$100k is not a meme” meme spread like wildfire, bots and shills seemed to be posting more and more about a $10k sell point and the apes declared victory, the HFs were on the run. Did they celebrate this victory? No, instead they started to spread “$500k is not a meme” in the hope of driving the price even higher. One comment read “they’re at bargaining”, not long until acceptance.
GameStop was not the only meme driven hype train that was making people rich this year. Crypto exploded, and none more spectacularly than DogeCoin, the cryptocurrency based on a meme–created to mock cryptocurrency–became one of the most widely traded in the world. This is mainly due to the efforts of Elon Musk’s Twitter account, which I presume has become sentient by now, or is being run by his super computer down at SpaceX. There is more to the Doge story than meets the eye here, and we’ll get to that later on, but needless to say, the apes saw it as a distraction.
“The doge rise is fishy to me. Anyone else?
I’ll just say it, I find the dogecoin price rise to be very curious timing. I’m not saying it has anything to do with GME, but my thought is could pumping doge be another play to divert money from GME? Again not saying it is or isn’t, but Doge is beloved specifically by retail. Could this be a last ditch plan to pump doge really high so that people will dumb GME to get in on Dogecoin? Or am I being a little too paranoid for lack of a better word.”
These are just a few of the games and distractions that the media played that I am discussing in my upcoming book, To The Moon: The GameStop Saga – FIND OUT MORE HERE!
The media are a joke, it is only a matter of time before they lose all credibility.
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