As the budgets are continuously cut in most newspapers, the use of unverified syndicated stories becomes the norm. The problem is that very few understand if what they read is the truth, a mild variation of the truth or just plain good old-fashioned bullshit. Here are two recent examples. I do need to call out that in no way am I implying that Chinese are bullshitters, per se. Every country/culture has a fair amount of their own. It’s just the two following examples relate to Chinese businessmen.
In July Lu Qiang, the founder of an outlet mall in China told a Chinese newspaper that he had indirectly acquired 13% of Prada and was planning to buy a further 20% to become the largest single shareholder. This made headlines all around the world until Prada themselves pointed out that 95% of all shares are held by the family and the other 5% by an Italian bank and no one had ever heard of Mr Lu.
Then in August it was reported globally that QSL Sports an obscure Hong Kong registered company was planning on buying Liverpool FC. The offices in HK, don’t actually exist and the company employ’s a small number of people in China to promote baseball. As one person involved in this fiasco said, “I’ve never seen anything like this before with statements being printed as fact that were absolute rubbish and attributed in most cases to unnamed sources”.
It is comforting to know that we live in such informed times.