The 17-year-old wizard of Wall Street, Mohammed Islam, is a complete hoax.
Almost as soon as the story was out, it was viewed with raised eyebrows. None of it sounded right. It turns out that the kid and his friends did some simulated trading and made some brags that got out of hand. New York Magazine and the NY Post ate it up.
Hoaxed journalists, and for that matter, journalistic hoaxes, are nothing new. However, this story coming after the implosion of the Rolling Stone fraternity gang-rape story points to a problem with post-modern journalism. The desire to create "buzz" and sell papers or advertising it corrosive enough. Add to that a collectivist mindset and an agenda of destroying traditional values and you have a recipe for journalistic malfeasance across the board.
I do not expect the press to be objective. I do not expect them to be completely honest, and I know they lack the capacity to be intelligent. Nevertheless, they do have an obligation to the public not to, in effect, scream "Fire!" in a crowded theater -- which is, figuratively, what happened in the case of the University of Virginia rape allegations.
Public damage in the teenage trader story is minimal. No one, except a journalist, would be dumb enough to believe it. However, it's another torpedo at the water line of public trust in the
PS -- Since I can't get the comment box to work there, I'll say it here: Brendan does some great analysis of the Sydney attack. If you haven't read it yet, please do.