Despite Being Called the Madoff of Crypto, New York Times Features Sam Bankman-Fried at $2500 a Person Event Today

Gunnar Larson g at
Wed Nov 30 07:56:51 PST 2022

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens
<>: November 30, 2022 ~
[image: Sam Bankman-Fried]

Sam Bankman-Fried, Co-Founder and Ousted CEO, FTX

You can’t make this stuff up. After promoting the false story that there
were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and pushing the U.S. into a deadly
and costly war through its reporter, Judith Miller
and using its editorial board to shill for the repeal of the Glass-Steagall
advance the greedy Wall Street ambitions of Citigroup kingpin Sandy Weill,
which ended up taking down the U.S. economy in 2008; the New York Times now
appears determined to rehabilitate the reputation of the disgraced Sam
Bankman-Fried, Co-Founder and recently ousted CEO of the bankrupt crypto
exchange, FTX.  Bankman-Fried is being investigated on multiple continents,
including North America, for stealing customer assets and looting his
private investors. He has been compared, in headlines around the globe, to
Bernie Madoff and his Ponzi scheme.

Reuters reported
Bankman-Fried had moved as much as $10 billion of FTX customers’ money to
his hedge fund, Alameda Research, through a “backdoor” in its software. The
Financial Times reported that FTX held just $900 million “in easily
sellable assets” against $9 billion “of liabilities the day before it
collapsed into bankruptcy.”

Much of the FTX/Alameda money went into buying luxury properties in the
to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars – while hundreds of millions
more went into obtaining celebrity endorsements
tv commercials and a super bowl ad
 padding the campaign coffers of politicians in Washington
and billions of dollars in loans to Sam Bankman-Fried and other top

Against that backdrop, it is unfathomable that a large circulation, daily
newspaper in America would lend its name to a conference featuring Sam
Bankman-Fried as a speaker. But that is what is expected to unfold today,
according to an email we received yesterday from a press contact at the New
York Times, who wrote: “At this time, we expect Mr. Bankman-Fried will be
participating in the DealBook Summit interview tomorrow from the Bahamas.”

As of yesterday afternoon, Bankman-Fried was featured on the New York Times
web site for this summit in the very top row of speakers listed. His photo
appeared near that of Eric Adams, the crypto-loving Mayor of New York City
Another speaker at the same event is Janet Yellen, Secretary of the U.S.
Department of the Treasury, who serves in the dual role of Chair of the
Financial Stability Oversight Council – who might be expected to comment on
how crypto is destabilizing and putting at risk the reputation of U.S.
financial markets – while Bankman-Fried listens in from his $40 million
penthouse condo in the Bahamas.

We are not the first to notice that the New York Times has soft-pedaled its
coverage of Sam Bankman-Fried. On November 15, Gizmodo reporter Matt Novak
wrote this

“…the interview with SBF, as he’s often called, is presented with such a
gauzy lens that you have to start wondering what the hell is going on with
crypto reporting at the Times.

“The new article in the New York Times by David Yaffe-Bellany lays out the
facts in ways that are clearly beneficial to SBF’s version of the story and
leaves many of his highly questionable assertions without proper context or
even the most minimal amount of pushback. The result isn’t to illuminate
the shadowy world of crypto. It reads like if the Times had conducted an
interview with Bernie Madoff after his ponzi scheme collapsed and
ultimately suggested he just made some bad investments.”

The New York Times reporting on FTX and Sam Bankman-Fried has also
attracted the attention of the eagle-eyed Robert Kuttner at *American
Prospect*. Under the headline “The New York Times Is in the Tank for Crypto
Kuttner writes:

“A [New York Times] piece on the interconnections
<> between
Bankman-Fried’s exchange (FTX) and the investment company he controlled
(Alameda) soft-pedaled the outright illegality of his making trades with
customer funds. To hear the Times tell it, ‘Alameda’s need for funds to run
its trading business was a big reason Mr. Bankman-Fried created FTX in
2019. But the way the two entities were set up meant that trouble in one
unit shook up the other as crypto prices began to drop in the spring.’

“But that’s not what happened. When customers demanded their money, Fried
didn’t have it, because he had been using it and losing it, illegally, for
his own trades.

“And this: ‘Alameda’s methods borrowed many aspects from traditional high
finance. It was a quantitative trading firm, similar to Wall Street hedge
funds that use mathematical models and data to inform decisions. It used
‘leverage’—or borrowed money—to fuel its trades and make bigger returns.’

“Note the alibis, and the passive voice. The subhead tells the reader
‘things got out of control,’ as in Nixon’s infamous ‘mistakes were made.’
The comparable Wall Street Journal piece
rings around the Times version, explaining the interlocks and the sheer

Kuttner also singles out New York Times reporter David Yaffe-Bellany for
the “worst Times pieces” on crypto and points to an article Yaffe-Bellany
bylined in January of this year, titled: “The Rise of the Crypto Mayors
<>.” We took
a very careful look at that article, which provided no pushback to
misinformation embedded in quotes. For example, Yaffe-Bellany quotes Scott
Conger, the Mayor of Jackson, Tennessee as follows: “Bitcoin is a great
financial equalizer. It’s a hedge against inflation. It can bridge that
wealth gap.”

In fact, Bitcoin and other major cryptocurrencies have collapsed in price
this year simultaneously with inflation reaching 40-year highs. Crypto has
been the *opposite* of a hedge against inflation. Why has that happened?
Because as the Fed tightened interest rates to combat the rise in
inflation, it made the highly-leveraged bets in crypto more expensive and
margin loans harder to come by.

As for crypto “bridging the wealth gap,” millions of retail customers
around the world have been locked out of access to their crypto accounts
this year, with every likelihood that they will see only pennies on the
dollar – if anything – when the bankruptcy cases are settled.

The New York Times DealBook Summit, where Bankman-Fried is scheduled to
appear today from the Bahamas, is the brainchild of Andrew Ross Sorkin, who
wears a strange number of hats. His profile at CNBC reads as follows:
“Andrew Ross Sorkin is co-anchor of ‘Squawk Box,’ CNBC’s signature morning
program. Sorkin is also a financial columnist for The New York Times and
the editor-at-large of DealBook, a news site he founded that is published
by The Times.”

The promotional page at the New York Times for the DealBook Summit leads
off with this:

“This fall, Andrew Ross Sorkin brings together today’s most vital minds on
a single stage, live in the heart of New York City. Be there as the
conversation unfolds, revealing hidden complexities, unexpected
relationships and the wide-ranging ripple effects of change. Catch every
word, and let the rest of the world catch up.”

The Summit is to take place today at the Appel Room at Jazz at Lincoln
Center. Tickets are no longer on sale but were originally priced at $2,499
per person.

Andrew Ross Sorkin apparently has some unusual clout at the New York
Times. *Wall
Street On Parade* attempted for years to get the New York Times to correct
an egregiously error-packed article by Ross Sorkin that attempted to
whitewash the culpability of the mega banks on Wall Street – like Citigroup
– for the financial collapse in 2008. (See our report: How the New York
Times Hides the Truth About Wall Street’s Catastrophic Misdeeds
Also see: Readers Pummel New York Times Writer Over His Big Bank Stance

Ross Sorkin’s “inaugural” DealBook Summit (then called the DealBook
Conference) took place on December 12, 2012 at the New York Times Center.
Headlining the event were Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase,
and Lloyd Blankfein, then CEO of Goldman Sachs. Since that time, JPMorgan
Chase has racked up five felony counts
 and Goldman Sachs settled the largest criminal bribery and kickback scheme
in its history
$2.9 billion.
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