The Internet is Like The Game of Telephone on Speed

Do you guys remember playing “telephone” as a kid?  10 kids would line up, and the first one would whisper a word into the ear of the person next to him.  Maybe, “Hippopotamus.”  That kid would in turn turn to her right and whisper what she heard into the ear of the child next to her.  Maybe she mishears it, and repeats “There’s a lot of us.”  Each kid hears the word a little bit different, until by the time the word is passed down the line, it comes out the other end as something completely different, like “Let’s go mop with Russ.”
Well, on the internet, the phenomenon goes viral, and can get bastardized much more quickly, and the very repetition of the accumulated mistakes results in a “truthification” phenomenon where people assume it’s true just because they read it and someone else repeated it.   This is kinda what I was trying to get at last night in the postscript of my “Silver is going to $475Trillion an ounce,” post.  Not that I wanted to convince people that silver was going to $475T, but rather, how the mania spread like wildfire from what was probably a non-story.  Let me explain.
The Financial Times went out with a story that, according to “a person familiar with the matter,” JP Morgan would be reducing it’s silver position to deflect public criticism.  However, a few paragraphs later, they also informed the reader that JP Morgan had “no comment on whether it had reduced its position in the silver market.”
Perhaps the “person familiar with the matter” was a trader on the COMEX, who pointed out, as did an anonymous commenter from one of my prior threads, that the % of silver futures short positions held by US Banks declined slightly in the most recent month’s data.  Combine that with the knowledge that JP Morgan is a large participant in the COMEX silver market (we know that from the Commitment of Trader reports and the OCC data), and one might draw the reasonable conclusion that JP Morgan was not short as many COMEX silver futures as of early December as they were in early November.
Then we add the shot of adrenaline and the manic mob to the story:  aka, Zero Hedge.  Zero Hedge takes this Financial Times story, and “telephones” it into the headline, and I’m not making this up, this is from ZeroHedge, not The Onion: “JP Morgan Admits To, Reduces, Massive Silver Position, Proving Millions of Conspiracy Theorists Correct.”  Immediately, Business Insider gets wind, and retorts with their headline: “JP Morgan Caves and Unwinds Massive Controversial Short Position.”
By this time, forget about it – it’s already become “truth,” despite the fact that there is no evidence anywhere that JP Morgan did anything of the sort.   
There are few things less rewarding in life than trying to discuss things like this with the ZeroHedge audience, or even the BusinessInsider audience.  Combine that with the precious metals cult, and forget it – I’m throwing rocks at a hornets nest.  What makes me most sad, though, is when people write comments like this one on Business Insider’s post: “Hey Kid, please advise which other “conspiracy” theory you are refuting next, days ahead of its official admission,” referring of course to my post questioning the existence of a massive JP Morgan net short position.
It makes me sad because I know that the internet misinformation terrorists have won.  They’ve turned this story, somehow, into the Official Admission, by merely shouting it loudly to a rabid fanbase.  If anyone actually has a copy of JP Morgan’s official admission that they have and are reducing a sizable net silver short, please forward it to me ASAP, and I will post a correction.

There’s a quote in the movie A Few Good Men where Tom Cruise’s character is asked if he believes his client is guilty.  He responds loudly: “It doesn’t matter what I believe, it only matters what I can prove!”  On the internet, sadly, it’s the opposite.  It doesn’t matter what you can prove, it only matters what you believe.

-KD 

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