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TheStreet Open House

The 5 Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Week

5. Soros Screwup

George Soros is alive and well. You can quote us on that.

Upon further thought, it's probably best not to quote us about the 82-year-old hedge fund manager not being dead. Maybe you should take it directly from the billionaire's mouth instead, or at least his mouthpiece, who thoroughly confused us last Thursday night with a letter confirming his boss's pulse was indeed beating.

"Dear Friends and Colleagues, There was an erroneous report on Reuters newswire this evening stating that George Soros had died. Let me assure you that this is incorrect. George Soros is alive and well. Best regards, Michael Vachon."

Yes Dumbest fans, we may be jaded, but we were still struck dumb upon finding that little oddity in our inbox. It's not the usual bit of spam, now is it? Nevertheless, after a bit of digging we soon discovered the report to which Soros' spokesman was referring, and boy was it a doozy.

"George Soros, who died XXX at age XXX, was a predatory and hugely successful financier and investor, who argued paradoxically for years against the same sort of free-wheeling capitalism that made him billions," started Reuters Todd Eastham in the obituary that stayed up on Reuters site for a mind-boggling 30 minutes.

And it didn't get much better from there with Eastham going on to call Soros "an enigma, wrapped in intellect, contradiction and money." He also highlighted economist Paul Krugman's allegation that good old George generated much of his massive wealth by triggering crises like the Asian currency collapse in 1997.

Perhaps the most puzzling aspect of all was Eastham's decision to close the piece with a reminder that Soros "was a minority partner in a group that failed to acquire the Washington Nationals Major League baseball team."

Take that George! You can break the Bank of England but you can't even land Stephen Strasburg. What kind of wuss are you anyway? Or should we say, were you?


Of all the prematurely published obituaries we've read -- and we've read a lot, let us tell you -- this one may have been the harshest. Seriously, Soros right-wing nemeses probably could not pen anything less endearing.

All that said, in a week where journalists across the board were tripping all over themselves covering to scoop each other in Boston -- from CNN's Wolf Blitzer repeatedly crying his own name to the New York Post publishing death tolls like it was giving out numbers in a bakery -- the Reuters screw-up may have topped them all in our admittedly Dumb opinion.

How could it not?

The only thing that got hurt in this silly storyline was George's feelings. And we're not even sure that's the case. Trust us, he's read far, far worse about himself.

And even if George did feel a bit forlorn over the piece, he's also smart enough to realize that the person who reads his own obituary gets the last laugh.

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