Opinion: Pirate Wires’ Trump token reporting was irresponsible and lazy

Yesterday Pirates Wires, a ‘new new media company’ operated by Michael Solana, CMO of Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, put out a tweet saying it had a scoop.

The scoop? That the Donald Trump team was launching a meme coin on Solana called DJT with Barron Trump (Trump’s youngest son) spearheading the project. Michael Solana even shared a contract address for the coin.

So, what’s wrong with this reporting? For starters, there’s no verifiable evidence that anyone from the Trump team is involved with the coin, Pirate Wires and Solana never explained how they acquired the information, and no other outlet has been able to confirm the statement — including Fox Business, CoinDesk, and Decrypt.

Trump himself, who almost always presents a new project with fanfare, pronouncements, and silly videos on Truth Social has also been silent on the matter.

What Pirate Wires did yesterday is journalism at its very worst and deserves to be scrutinized, criticized, and perhaps even hurt the reputation of the outlet.

Pirate Wires’ venture capitalists aren’t journalists

Most journalists have the benefit of either getting a formal education in journalism or working in a newsroom with professional editors and journalists to learn first-hand. Pirate Wires, on the other hand, is a techno-optimist blog of sorts that was created by a multimillionaire venture capital-loving, Peter Thiel wannabe and is edited by someone who has no LinkedIn profile or public acknowledgment of any editing experience.

There is hardly an ounce of objectivity or fact-checking to be had in Pirate Wires’ ‘newsroom.’

Indeed, what Pirate Wires tweeted was irresponsible and lacked seriousness. “Per conversations,” says the tweet, as though someone from Pirate Wires had spoken to Donald Trump, Barron Trump, or another Trump team member. However, if you (understandably) came to that conclusion, you’d be wrong.

“No, didn’t speak with Trump directly, assumed that was clear,” Solana tweeted roughly an hour after the initial message went out.

Then who exactly did Solana speak to? To cover his bases, Solana also added that Donald Trump “could rug pull, or pivot, say it’s not true. Just reporting what I know via sources.” This isn’t how journalism works.

Worryingly, Pirate Wires is seeing very little backlash over its thoughtless reporting, perhaps because most people in the crypto industry already know better than to trust biased venture capitalists reporting ‘facts.’

Read more: Donald Trump advisor Roger Stone endorses $TRUMP memecoin

We need journalists more than ever

What Pirate Wires unaccountable — and frankly alarming — reporting showed yesterday is that we need journalists — both trained journalists and high-quality citizen journalists — more than ever. Techno-optimism and good news about future tech is fine and I understand why investors, hedge fund managers, and VCs would like more media to engage with their projects this way. But that isn’t the responsibility of the Fourth Estate.

The media and news are valuable because we try to get to the bottom of issues and stories, we fact-check, we edit, and we take time to investigate and learn. What Pirate Wires did yesterday was the opposite of that and likely will end up costing hundreds — if not thousands — of individuals a lot of money. Will there be repercussions for the outlet? Will its poor fact-checking and lack of sharing of any hard evidence cost them anything? Probably not.

But that’s why it’s worth writing about. At the very least this should deal some reputational damage to the pro-tech outlet, and in what can only be described as the best part of this saga, Michael Solana has stated that he’s “not personally enjoyed doing crypto news and do[es] not plan on doing any more crypto news in the future.”

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