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Progressive FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried is dealing with an onslaught of authorized repercussions over his involvement within the collapse of FTX and newfound questions have bubbled to the floor concerning if he paid for favorable protection from the mainstream media. 

Bankman-Fried, 30, turned a billionaire after creating FTX, and have become a subect of media fascination. Moreover, his dedication to philanthropy within the types of donations to causes addressing points like pandemics and local weather change, in addition to his large donations to Democrats and liberal PACs, made him a significant participant in Washington. The one-time cryptocurrency wunderkind was adored by the press alongside the way in which, however it has been revealed that he ponied up massive sums of money to numerous information organizations earlier than his buying and selling platform out of the blue crumpled. 

Fox Information contributor Joe Concha believes liberal media organizations which were on the receiving finish of investments, donations and grants from the embattled FTX founder should be clear. 

“We hear on a regular basis from journalists in regards to the want for complete transparency, however when the shoe is on the opposite foot, some clearly don’t follow what they preach,” Concha informed Fox Information Digital. 

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried is facing an onslaught of legal repercussions over his involvement in the collapse of FTX.

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried is dealing with an onslaught of authorized repercussions over his involvement within the collapse of FTX.
(Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg through Getty Photographs)


Bankman-Fried gave money to media shops together with The Intercept, Vox, ProPublica and former New York Instances media columnist Ben Smith’s new outlet, Semafor. 

Smith and Twitter proprietor Elon Musk have been engulfed in a public feud on social media after Semafor revealed a report indicating the embattled FTX founder was invited by the Tesla mogul to roll a $100 million Twitter funding into privately held model. 

Musk responded by noting the outlet is “owned by SBF” and calling it a “large battle of curiosity in your reporting” earlier than utilizing a trash can emoji to explain journalistic integrity. Smith shot again, “Such as you and plenty of others, we took an funding from him. We’ve lined him aggressively, and disclose it each time we write about him.”

Musk has since requested Smith how a lot Bankman-Fried invested in Semafor, however the former New York Instances columnist declined to reply publicly. 

A Semafor spokesperson didn’t instantly reply to Fox Information Digital’s request for remark. 

“It’s a easy query: how a lot did Sam Bankman Fried put money into publications like Semafor? The publication received’t say even after printing a totally false story on Elon musk excepting cash from SBF — which he didn’t,” Concha mentioned. 

Fourth Watch editor Steve Krakauer seen some media organizations writing in-depth tales within the downfall of Bankman-Fried “weren’t actually very ” in digging into his previous again when he was giving them cash. 

“It’s not precisely bribery. It’s not precisely like, , shopping for them off, however it’s certainty, when he was an investor to them, and he seemed good and the cash appeared prefer it was coming from legit sources, his repute truly helped them, then it was hands-off,” Krakauer mentioned Sunday on “MediaBuzz.”

“They weren’t fascinated by discovering out extra data,” Krakauer continued. “However as quickly as that cash turned poisonous, as quickly as his repute turned unhealthy, then let’s go and discover this investor.”

Purpose’s Robby Soave tackled the problem final week with a bit bluntly headlined, “Did Sam Bankman-Fried’s Tens of millions Purchase the Media’s Loyalty?” 

Soave identified that journalist Teddy Schleifer, who covers Silicon Valley for Puck Information, uncovered that Bankman-Fried additionally made substantial grants to different media shops together with The Regulation and Justice Journalism Mission.


“SBF was closely concerned in Democratic Get together politics: Within the 2022 election cycle, he was the second most prolific funder of Democratic candidates after George Soros. However he wasn’t only a funder of electoral efforts. He funded each progressive and mainstream media organizations,” Soave wrote. 

Brad Myers, an operational chief at Workrise, a talented labor startup based mostly in Austin, Texas, has been carefully following the Bankman-Fried ordeal and feels some have been “projecting a picture” the FTX founder desired.  

“I believe that SBF was attempting to personal as a lot of the narrative and the notion of his repute as attainable. It is stunning how deep the donations and favors seem to go,” Myers informed Fox Information Digital. 

“What’s fascinating is the timing of all of it. It seems that when SBF bailed out BlockFi, the change had already been near bancrupt. On the identical time, [CNBC host] Jim Cramer in contrast him to ‘JP Morgan of this technology,’” Myers continued. “So, both folks merely weren’t doing the work on SBF/FTX or people who have been compromised have been projecting a picture that SBF needed – ‘The Crypto Savior.’”


Soave identified that Bankman-Fried as soon as admitted that ethics is generally a entrance, elevating eyebrows whether or not he was honest about funding progressive media shops. 

“If SBF thought of his beneficiant donations to be a ‘entrance’ for one thing else, one wonders what in regards to the else. Is it maybe the case that SBF thought he was truly shopping for goodwill and favorable protection? He was, because it occurs, the beneficiary of numerous gushing journal profiles and was steadily hailed because the ‘white knight’ of crypto,” Soave wrote.

The cash Bankman-Fried handed out to media organizations was substantial. He made a $4 million grant to The Intercept, however the publication had solely obtained $500,000 on the time his empire started to crumble. 

ProPublica was set to obtain a staggering $5 million grant to assist “ongoing investigative work on pandemic preparedness and biothreats,” however solely obtained the primary of three funds earlier than it was placed on maintain earlier this month, based on an e mail ProPublica president Robin Sparkman despatched to staffers that has been obtained by Fox Information Digital. 

“Our 2023 and 2024 grants are on maintain presently, based on our program officer. Constructing a Stronger Future is assessing its funds and, concurrently, speaking to different funders about taking up a few of its grant portfolio. We count on to have extra readability from our program officer within the subsequent few weeks,” Sparkman informed his workers.

Sam Bankman-Fried, founder and chief executive officer of FTX Cryptocurrency Derivatives Exchange, during an interview on an episode of Bloomberg Wealth with David Rubenstein.

Sam Bankman-Fried, founder and chief government officer of FTX Cryptocurrency Derivatives Trade, throughout an interview on an episode of Bloomberg Wealth with David Rubenstein.
(Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg through Getty Photographs)

Whereas The New York Instances and Washington Publish aren’t recognized beneficiaries, the high-profile newspapers lined Bankman-Fried’s with hushed tones. 

“The New York Instances’ report on this catastrophe makes use of smooth, passive language to disguise blame at each flip. That is the outlet that treats almost each growth within the tech sector as an existential risk to democracy, but its summation lets SBF write his personal verdict. Expanded too quick? Didn’t see warning indicators? He defrauded folks out of tens of millions of {dollars}! The empire did not collapse of its personal accord; it collapsed as a result of its foundations have been fraudulent,” Soave wrote. 

Bankman-Fried is scheduled to talk on the Nov. 30 New York Instances DealBook Summit alongside New York Metropolis Mayor Eric Adams, former Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky and Fb founder Mark Zuckerberg, together with a number of high-powered chief executives. 

Fox Information Digital has discovered that Bankman-Fried is anticipated to talk just about from The Bahamas.  

“We sit up for conducting this necessary and newsworthy interview,” a New York Instances spokesperson mentioned. 


Billionaire Jeff Bezos’ Washington Publish was not too long ago ridiculed on Twitter over a bit lamenting the autumn of Bankman-Fried and the collapse of his plans to cease a second pandemic. As a substitute of specializing in his fraudulent actions, reporter Dan Diamond put a highlight on Bankman-Fried’s philanthropic efforts, together with his “staggering” contributions to analysis initiatives, campaigns, and different initiatives geared toward stopping the subsequent international pandemic. 

The piece additionally touted “Shield Our Future” a political motion committee backed by Bankman-Fried. The group spent almost $30 million within the midterms on Democratic candidates who they imagine might be “champions for pandemic prevention.”

Twitter customers mocked The Publish reporter who shared the article, accusing him of “gaslighting” FTX clients who misplaced their funds, and selling a person in comparison with Bernie Madoff, the person chargeable for the most important Ponzi scheme in U.S. historical past. 


“Do you guys have a guess with the Instances over who may give him the perfect tongue bathtub whereas random Twitter accounts do precise reporting to show regularly deeper chicanery?” lawyer and author Allan Richarz tweeted. 

Some trade insiders imagine shops that didn’t settle for cash from Bankman-Fried supplied favorable protection just because he gave massive quantities of money to Democratic politicians and liberal initiatives, reminiscent of local weather change. 

Bankman-Fried didn’t solely assist bankroll media organizations, the FTX honcho additionally tried to create one, based on liberal Vox co-founder Matthew Yglesias.

Yglesias, who left Vox in 2020 to weblog on Substack, mentioned Bankman-Fried approached him about beginning “a brand new publication that includes writers he preferred.” Yglesias says he declined Bankman-Fried’s provide however praised him for funding “good causes” earlier than his public downfall. 

“It’s believable that with out SBF’s cash, Trump would nonetheless be within the White Home,” Yglesias wrote. 

U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden participate in their second 2020 presidential campaign debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, U.S., October 22, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Segar

U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden take part of their second 2020 presidential marketing campaign debate at Belmont College in Nashville, Tennessee, U.S., October 22, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Segar
(REUTERS/Mike Segar)

Amid FTX’s demise, Bankman-Fried’s estimated web price plummeted from greater than $15 billion to no materials wealth in simply days. The previous billionaire issued a public apology admitting he had “f—ed up” and the brand new FTX CEO said throughout courtroom proceedings that he had by no means earlier than seen “such an entire failure.” As Bankman-Fried’s energy and money evaporated, media shops started explaining themselves. 


Vox famous in its protection of the FTX debacle that Bankman-Fried’s “philanthropic household basis, Constructing a Stronger Future, awarded Vox’s Future Excellent a grant for a 2023 reporting undertaking.” The undertaking is now on pause, based on Vox. 

“In September 2022, The Intercept obtained $500,000 from Sam Bankman-Fried’s basis, Constructing a Stronger Future, as a part of a $4 million grant to fund our pandemic prevention and biosafety protection. We’ve been suggested that the grant is now on maintain. In step with our common follow, The Intercept disclosed the funding in subsequent reporting on Bankman-Fried’s political actions,” a spokesperson for The Intercept informed Fox Information Digital.

“After we signed the grant settlement in February, we made it clear to Constructing a Stronger Future that we might proceed to cowl the cryptocurrency world, and even, presumably, FTX or Sam Bankman-Fried. Our funders haven’t any say in our journalism and solely discover out about our tales when the general public sees them,” a ProPublica spokesperson informed Fox Information Digital. 

The Regulation and Justice Journalism Mission didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark. 

It’s unclear if Bankman-Fried has funded different information operations. 

 Fox Information’ Nikolas Lanum, David Rutz and Fox Enterprise’ Thomas Catenacci contributed to this report. 


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