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The New York Times is in the tank for crypto

In a recent post, I casually noted the oddly soft reporting of Sam Bankman-Fried in’s breakdown The New York Times. That Times managed to compare FTX’s woes to a bank run, blame Bankman-Fried’s competitors for undermining its credibility, and take its stated charitable intentions at face value.

Since I wrote that Times The coverage has only gotten worse.

An article detailing the ties between Bankman-Fried’s stock exchange (FTX) and the investment company it controls (Alameda) has softened the utter illegality of its dealings in client funds. to hear the Times Tell him, “Alameda’s need for funding to operate its trading business was a major reason Mr. Bankman-Fried founded FTX in 2019. But the way the two companies were formed meant that problems in one entity rocked the other when crypto prices started falling in the spring.”

But that didn’t happen. When customers demanded their money, Fried didn’t have it because he had used it illegally in his own businesses and lost it.

And this: “Alameda’s methods have borrowed many aspects of traditional high finance. It was a quantitative trading company, similar to Wall Street hedge funds that use mathematical models and data to make decisions. It used ‘leverage’ – or borrowed money – to power its trades and generate larger returns.”

Note the alibis and the passive. The subtitle tells the reader, “things got out of hand,” as in Nixon’s infamous “mistakes were made.” The comparable Wall Street Journal piece ran rings around the Times Version explaining the lockdowns and sheer illegality.

More from Robert Kuttner

But the most appalling youngest Times Play was her rendition of SEC Chairman Gary Gensler, the only true hero of this whole mess. Gensler was early aware of crypto’s scams and risks, and was smart about Bankman-Fried. He was repeatedly urged by Bankman-Fried and his allies to calm down, but to no avail. As our colleague David Dayen wrote on Wednesday, a bipartisan group of members of the House of Representatives sought to interfere in Gensler’s ongoing investigation.

But to hear that Times say it, the problem is Gensler. According to the track, which collects and repeats a medley of conflicting complaints, Gensler was both too aggressive and too soft. (“But the collapse of FTX has raised questions about Mr. Gensler’s effectiveness.”) The piece also incorrectly characterizes Gensler as a former crypto enthusiast, when in reality he was an early skeptic.

The article even gullibly quotes one of the congressmen who tried to interfere in Gensler’s investigation: “‘Reports to my office claim he helped SBF and FTX work on loopholes,’ Rep. Tom Emmer, a Republican from Minnesota, who serves on the House Treasury Committee, tweeted on Nov. 10 by Mr. Gensler. ‘We’re looking into that.’”

Emmer, who was just elected House Majority Whip, number three in the GOP leadership, led the letter attempting to actually get Gensler to resign. He personally raised $11,600 from FTX employees for his campaign, and his work as head of the National Republican Congressional Committee, the Republican electoral arm of the House of Representatives, was supported by $2.75 million in donations from FTX- Heavily funded by co-CEO Ryan Salame and the company’s PAC. Emmer who whined on Twitter about the outlook‘s piece praised Bankman-Fried a year ago in public statements, saying, “Sounds like you’re doing a lot to make sure there’s no fraud or other manipulation.”

All of this could have been mentioned in the Times history to give the right context. None of that was.

If you read the lines of text in these several offensive articles, you will see that a major source of charity towards Bankman-Fried and hostility towards Gensler is a young man Times Tech writer and crypto cheerleader named David Yaffe-Bellany. The worst Times Pieces are his, although the cover was generally too soft.

Yaffe-Bellany wrote the Gensler takedown. Last January, he wrote an article titled “The Rise of Crypto Mayors,” which should be a major embarrassment for crypto mayors Times. In it, he touted crypto as a smart way to pay municipal workers. He cited a cocky mayor, Francis Suarez of Miami, who blasted Gensler for not getting on with the program.

Yaffe-Bellany is just one writer on a big business team. Like many tech enthusiasts, he’s only a few years away from school. He was editor-in-chief of Yale Daily Newsand graduated in 2018.

But writers probably have editors. Why wasn’t there an adult? Times pay attention to the spin?

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