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Two stories—one fake, one achingly real—dotted news feeds Monday morning. Two stories, so bafflingly silly in their content, it's difficult to discern which would win (or lose?) in a contest deciding which is the dumbest story of the day.

In one corner, a fake news story accidentally got picked up by serious news outlets, and created a mini-crypto bubble in the process. In another, a group of political consultants pivoted to a very niche, zeitgeist-chasing brand of corporate consultancy that feels ripped right out of Veep. We simply can't resist diving into both.

Dumb And Dumber

Let's set the stage. On early Monday morning, GlobeNewswire sent out a press release announcing Walmart had entered into a partnership with little-known cryptocurrency litecoin. Soon after, legitimate news sources ran with the story as well, and the value of Litecoin spiked. But there's one problem: the press release was fake, the partnership was fiction, and now all the newsmakers look like fools.

  • Reuters, Yahoo Finance, and CNBC all took the wire's words seriously, and ran the story without further verification; the Financial Times, however, found neither a corresponding press release on Walmart's website nor an 8-K form on its SEC page.
  • Litecoin, which saw a brief spike to $300 during the great crypto boom of May 2021, has been mostly toiling around $175 per coin for most of the summer, and opened Wednesday at $183; after the fake news hit, that number spiked to $233.75, followed by a rapid tumble after a round of retractions.

Walmart quickly denied the story, putting a capper on the embarrassing episode.

Speaking Of Embarrassing Episodes: a cadre of former Kamala Harris campaign advisors have launched a new strategy firm to help CEOs avoid embarrassing episodes. The group, dubbed C Street, is focusing on preventing CEOs from getting "canceled" and hopes to help companies navigate the tricky waters of so-called "woke capitalism."

The general merits, pitfalls, and realities of cancel culture are all in the eye of the beholder. But one thing may be for certain: is there an easier way to paint a bullseye on your back than hiring the anti-cancel crisis management firm?