Hedge Funds Are Not Immune from Fake News

The current buzzword, fake news, begs the question, how often does one encounter fake news? It must occur with some degree of frequency, because pollsters report that two-thirds of the American public believes the mass media peddles fake news. There are larger questions. Is fake news the result of carelessness or is it done intentionally? How does one identify it? What can Americans do to combat it?

The much-touted information age, which arose in concert with social media and an ever-expanding internet, has given a voice to anyone with the time and inclination to sit at a keyboard. This has not only made fake news possible but, in fact, prevalent.

Fake by Omission

Here is one example that illustrates fake news by omission. This article purports to address the top 15 highest paying jobs in America. Our readers will be stunned to see that the news article makes no mention of any occupation in the hedge fund industry. The highest salary plus bonus is said to be that of an orthopedic surgeon, whose median salary and bonus total $450 thousand.

Anyone that has read the 2017 Hedge Fund Compensation Report is keenly aware that the article in question has major omissions. For example, the compensation report lists the total annual compensation for a legal/compliance officer in the hedge fund industry at $484 thousand, $34 thousand more than the median for an orthopedic surgeon, which the article names as the highest paying job in the land.

Identifying Fake News

Although one can make a credible argument that the Internet is the culprit behind fake news, it must also be said that the Internet offers the best hope of debunking fake news. The problem is that most people tend to take what they read at face value, particularly if what they are reading reflects their personal beliefs.

News articles that rely heavily on statistics and percentages should be viewed with a skeptic’s eye. For example, a small community that suffers one robbery in 2015 suddenly sees a rise of 100 percent in the robbery rate in 2016. While that sounds horrendous and makes for a gripping headline, the fact remains that there were but two robberies in 2016. Statistics are another source of concern. It is entirely possible for one to drown in a lake with a mean average depth of three inches.

Combating Fake News

Sadly, the only way to combat fake news is through independent research. Not everything one reads is deserving of fact checking. One has to choose his battles. If the news affects one personally, in that life-altering decisions are going to be made based on the information, of course, prudence dictates that one research and verify the facts as they are presented. The Internet makes this possible.

What about Hedge Fund Jobs?

The aforementioned Hedge Fund Compensation Report revealed twelve hedge fund jobs that have higher median pay than the fifteen jobs listed in the article. No one is suggesting that the omission of these jobs in the article was intentional. However, this is important information for anyone making a career choice and highlights the importance of doing one’s due diligence when making a life-changing decision such as a career path.

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