Jessica Pressler of New York magazine was the first to mention the $72 million net worth figure in connection with a New York high school student who allegedly earned a fortune trading stocks during his lunch break. The widely-circulated story came under fire from Twitchy early today, and is now widely acknowledged to be false. The student, Mohammed Islam, says he has invested no money whatsoever in the stock market.
New York Observer: Is there ANY figure? Have you invested and made returns at all?
Mohammed Islam: No.
New York Observer: So it’s total fiction?
Mohammed Islam: Yes.
Today, several reporters took to Twitter to argue over who deserves credit for the debunking.
First, CNBC’s Kevin Krim tried to give credit to his colleague Scott Wapner:
Next, Business Insider’s Julia La Roche noted her role:
Then another reporter who feels that she deserves credit weighed in:
That is Jessica Pressler, the author of the debunked story. Is she trying to argue that she deserves credit for debunking herself? It appears so.
This despite having tweeted the $72 million figure:
Pressler says she is comfortable with what’s in her piece:
Others aren’t so sure:
Though the headline was quietly altered earlier today, Pressler’s article still is factually inaccurate. The current version of the headline: “Because a Stuyvesant Senior Made Millions Picking Stocks. His Hedge Fund Opens as Soon As He Turns 18.” An earlier version of the headline: “Because a Stuyvesant Senior Made $72 Million Trading Stocks on His Lunch Break.” Both are wrong. As noted above, Islam reportedly told the New York Observer that he has neither invested nor earned any money in the stock market.
Here is an excerpt from the current version of Pressler’s article:
Mo started with penny stocks. A cousin showed him how to trade. He loved the feeling of risk—the way his hand shook making the trade—but he swore it off after losing a chunk of the money he’d made tutoring. “I didn’t have the balls for it,” he said. He was 9.
It was a while before he was ready to try again. In the meantime, he became a scholar of modern finance, studying up on hedge-fund managers. He was particularly enamored of Paul Tudor Jones. “I had been paralyzed by my loss,” Mo said. “But he was able to go back to it, even after losing thousands of dollars over and over. Paul Tudor Jones says, ‘You learn more from your losses than from your gains.’ ” Mo got into trading oil and gold, and his bank account grew. Though he is shy about the $72 million number, he confirmed his net worth is in the “high eight figures.”
Is Pressler really comfortable with that? Is New York magazine? Well, OK then.
Bottom line: it’s all your fault:
An interesting side note: Pressler recently criticized the lack of fact checking in the Rolling Stones’ article about an alleged rape at the University of Virginia:
The MSM is truly fortunate to have someone so committed to factual accuracy among its ranks. Give this woman a Pulitzer!
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Update: New York magazine has added an editor’s note to Pressler’s article:
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