NY Times ripped for “softball article” on FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried

The New York Times took a hit over an article in which it was published Sam Bankman Friedwith critics slamming it as a piece of crap to the accused crypto scammer.

The Times quoted Bankman-Fried extensively for a story whose headline reads: “How Sam Bankman-Fried’s Crypto Empire Collapsed.” The item describes Bankman-Fried as “SBF”, He noted that he spoke in an interview with the newspaper on Sunday.

According to Times crypto and fintech reporter David Yaffe-Bellany’s article, Bankman-Fried appeared “surprisingly calm” in the interview, which lasted well past midnight.

“You would have thought I’m not getting any sleep now, and instead I’m getting something,” Bankman-Fried, whose company was worth $32 billion a year ago, told the Times. “It could be worse.”

Matt Novak, media critic at news site Gizmodo, writes that Yaffe-Bellany “states the facts in a way that clearly benefits the SBF version of the story, and leaves many of his highly questionable claims without proper context or even the slightest degree of rebuttal.”

Sam Bankman Fried
Bankman-Fried has seen his fortune dwindle from $17 billion to zero in a matter of days.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

“It reads like the Times interviewed Bernie Madoff after his Ponzi scheme collapsed and ended up claiming he just made a few bad investments,” writes Novak.

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

Bankman-Fried told the Times that Alameda Research, which is operated by Bankman-Fried’s always girlfriend Caroline Ellisonhas accumulated a large margin position on FTX, meaning it has borrowed money from the company.

“It was a lot bigger than I thought it would be,” Bankman-Fried told the Times. “And indeed, the downside risk was very high.”

“If I had been a little more focused on what I’m doing, I could have been more thorough,” Bankman-Fried added in his Times interview. “That would have allowed me to see what was going on on the risk side.”

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

“Shameful @nytimes coverage of FTX,” tweeted one Twitter user.

“It portrays SBF as a charitable entrepreneur gone under and never mentions the words fraud, crime, drug abuse, friends and family Bahamas KYC goons, hack, stolen funds, or wiped servers.”

The Post has reached out to the Times and Yaffe-Bellany for comment.

Novak points out that Bankman-Fried showed little remorse in the interview. The FTX founder told the Times that his crypto exchange company was “expanding too fast” and that he “missed the warning signs.”

At least that’s what Reuters reported $4 billion in FTX funds, including client assets, were used to fund Alameda Research’s operations in a blatant 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 criticized the Times for its “crypto industry-friendly way of talking about FTT,” the digital coin that FTX created to “facilitate trading on their platform.”

FTX’s collapse was accelerated after Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of rival Binance, announced on Twitter earlier this month that he was selling his FTT cache, just three years after Zhao bought a 20 percent stake in FTX .

The token’s price plummeted 80% over the next two days and a spate of outflows from the exchange gathered momentum, blockchain data shows.

FTX logo
FTX filed for bankruptcy protection. Last year it was worth up to $32 billion.
Only Photo via Getty Images

“In reality, FTT was created by SBF for the same reason every other cryptocurrency was created: as a speculative asset, allowing early investors to extract wealth from people who put money into the asset after the price has fallen into the skyrocketed,” writes Gizmodo’s Novak.

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

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

“I was quite frustrated with a lot of what I saw, but I should have understood that it wasn’t a good decision on my part to express it,” Bankman-Fried told the Times.

With postal wires

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