The NY Times ripped a “softball article” about FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried

The New York Times has gotten backlash over an article it published about Sam Bankman-Fried, with critics slamming it as a slapstick piece about the accused cryptocurrency scammer.

The Times heavily cited Bankman-Fried for a story whose headline reads, “How Sam Bankman-Fried’s Crypto Empire Collapsed.” The article describes Bankman-Fried as “SBF,” noting that he spoke to the paper in an interview on Sunday.

According to the article by Times crypto and fintech reporter David Yaffe-Bellany, Bankman-Fried seemed “surprisingly calm” in the interview, which lasted until after midnight.

“You would have thought I wasn’t sleeping right now, and instead I’m getting some,” Bankman-Fried, whose company was worth as much as $32 billion a year ago, told the Times. “It could be worse.”

Matt Novak, a media critic with news site Gizmodo, writes that Yaffe-Bellany “states the facts in ways that are clearly beneficial to SBF’s side of the story and leaves many of his highly questionable claims without proper context or even the least amount of pushback.”

Bankman-Fried saw his fortune go from $17 billion to zero in a matter of days.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

“The Times appears to have conducted an interview with Bernie Madoff after his ponzi scheme failed and ultimately suggested he was just making some bad investments,” writes Novak.

In the Times interview, Bankman-Fried declined to go into details about FTX’s handling of client assets, which were apparently used to make risky bets through a subsidiary, Alameda Research.

Bankman-Fried told the Times that Alameda Research, which was run by Bankman-Fried’s girlfriend Caroline Ellison, built up a large margin position in FTX, meaning it had been borrowing money from the company.

“It was substantially bigger than I thought,” Bankman-Fried told the Times. “And indeed the downside risk was very significant.”

“If I had been a little more focused on what I was doing, I would have been able to be more thorough,” Bankman-Fried added during his interview with the Times. “That would have allowed me to understand what was happening on the risk side.”

On Twitter, the reaction to the Times story was scathing.

“Shameful reporting by @nytimes on FTX,” tweeted one Twitter user.

“It portrays SBF as a charity contractor who has gone under and does not mention the words fraud, criminal, substance abuse, friends and family Bahamas KYC racketeering, hacks, stolen funds or deleted servers anywhere.”

The Post asked the Times and Yaffe-Bellany for comments.

Novak points out that Bankman-Fried expressed little remorse in the interview. The FTX founder told the Times that his cryptocurrency exchange firm has “expanded too rapidly” and that it has “missed the warning signs”.

Reuters reported that at least $4 billion of FTX funds, including client assets, were used to fund Alameda Research’s businesses, an apparent violation of US securities laws.

The New York Times building
The New York Times has been accused of being too lenient with Bankman-Fried.
AFP via Getty Images

Gizmodo also slammed the Times for its “crypto-industry-friendly talk” about FTT, the digital currency that FTX created to “facilitate trading on its platform.”

FTX’s collapse was precipitated after Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of rival Binance, announced on Twitter earlier this month that it was selling its cache of FTT – just three years after Zhao bought a 20 % to FTX.

The price of the token plunged 80% over the next two days and a torrent of outflows from the exchange picked up pace, blockchain data shows.

FTX logo
FTX has filed for bankruptcy protection. It was worth up to $32 billion last year.
NurPhoto via Getty Images

“In reality, FTT was created by SBF for the same reason that any other cryptocurrency was created: as a speculative asset that allows early investors to extract wealth from people who invest money in the asset after the price has skyrocketed “writes Novak of Gizmodo. .

Zhao’s tweet, which was posted after learning that Bankman-Fried had urged US regulators to target Binance, alarmed FTX clients who rushed to withdraw their deposits from the exchange.

Bankman-Fried told the Times he regretted targeting Zhao, saying it was “not a good strategic move on my part.”

“I was pretty frustrated with a lot of what I was seeing happening, but I should have realized it wasn’t a good decision of me to express it,” Bankman-Fried told the Times.

With postal wires

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