Jail Can't Stop This Innovator From Dreaming Big
Mainstream media coverage of the FTX scandal has left many scratching their heads. What's the game here, fellas?
As the story of the collapse of FTX has unfolded, it has quickly become clear that Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) and his cronies were engaged in egregious fraud that permeated every aspect of their business and public persona. I am comfortable saying this, because they have admitted to it publicly. For example, in a text coversation with a journalist from Vox, SBF admitted that Alameda “borrowed” customer funds to trade:
This was in direct contradiction to FTX’s user agreement, which clearly stated that funds would not be lent out. Others, including Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison, have admitted they knew customer funds were misappropriated by Alameda. Recent reporting has also shown that SBF and other insiders, including his law professor parents, spent hundreds of millions of company money on personal real estate investments.
SBF has also admitted publicly, again to Vox, that his posturing as an “effective altruist” was, in reality, just another ruse:
So at this point, it has been well-established that nearly everything SBF said and did was to obfuscate and advance his web of fraud and lies.
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Despite all of the coverage demonstrating FTX was nothing more than an elaborate shell game and piggy bank of fraud, we still are seeing articles like today’s head scratcher from the Wall Street Journal:
This article highlights on the various groups who had applied for handouts from SBF’s philanthropic endeavors. We get treated to various perspectives like this, from an MIT professor who was supposed to receive $1.6 million to fund his research on “preventing deliberate pandemics:”
“This is something of a tragedy for people who were hoping philanthropy could step up and fill the gap in addressing the catastrophic risks that government isn’t nimble enough to deal with,” Dr. Esvelt said.
Let’s not forget that Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison’s father is a professor and the department head of economics at MIT. As noted on several Twitter posts, this would have meant Ellison was a colleague of SEC chair Gary Gensler at MIT.
It includes egregious references to SBF’s supposed altruism, including highlighting his vegan diet and legitimizing his supposed interest in this philanthropic outlets:
Mr. Bankman-Fried has said his law-professor parents instilled in him an interest in utilitarianism, the philosophy of trying to do the greatest good for the greatest number of people. He started putting those ideals into practice while majoring in physics at MIT. Concerned with the suffering of animals on factory farms, he stopped eating meat.
At a July meeting of the foundation, Mr. Bankman-Fried became deeply engaged in a discussion on how lightbulbs equipped with a particular frequency of ultraviolet light could eradicate airborne pathogens, Mr. MacAskill told the Journal this summer.
Despite SBF publicly admitting to misappropriating customer funds, this WSJ piece fails to make any mention of this or of other WSJ reporting to that effect! The article mentions the fact that “the company’s lawyers said this week that a ‘substantial amount’ of assets were missing or stolen,” but beyond that the majority of the piece focuses on extraneous details about FTX’s supposed philanthropy.
This doesn’t look good, guys.
Trust in the MSM has been falling for several years. The recent treatment of the FTX collapse continues to strain this trust, as shocked investors and onlookers watch as it appears key figures attempt to whitewash aspects of this crisis.
It doesn’t matter if this guy was giving money away to good causes, because the funds were stolen. Period! It was not his money to give, and the damage from this massive fraud is only starting to be felt.
And for every dollar he spent on philanthropy, he likely spent several times that amount on Superbowl ads, stadium naming rights, political contributions, and buying Tom Brady’s soul.
What gives? Instead of highlighting SBF’s political contributions and how key Congressmen attempted to stop the SEC from investigating FTX, for example, we are fed nonsense about the negative effects of SBF’s fall from grace. These puff pieces are only adding to the chorus of concern that SBF’s largesse in ad spending and political contributions has compromised both the media and our government. Is it possible that Sam’s connections through his donations, his parents are contributing to this equivocal coverage? Are powerful actors trying to mitigate their own reputational damage by making out Sam to be a thief with a heart of gold?
I guess we will see.
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