Former billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) has confirmed he will speak virtually at New York Times’ (NYT) DealBook Summit event next week, resulting in major backlash online.
The last time crypto Twitter’s criticism for the NYT approached this caliber was back in January, when the outlet released a piece on Pudgy Penguins — an NFT project that soared to an all-time high floor price after the piece was released.
The project’s founders soon after proceeded to rug-pull, emptying the company’s wallet and then attempting to sell the company for 888 ether to an investor.
The author, Kevin Roose, had been gifted two NFTs prior to publishing, but claimed they would be returned due to journalistic ethics. But crypto Twitter was quick to criticize NYT for shining a huge spotlight on a less than honest project.
Indeed, the outlet is often censured for failing to understand the complexities of the industry on which it’s reporting — a common occurrence among many larger outlets. However, the community has arguably never been so riled up as now.
NYT <3 SBF
On Wednesday, SBF confirmed the interview would still take place on Twitter. It came as quite a surprise — replies poured in, many angrily asking why someone suspected of the biggest fraud in the industry to-date is still walking around, let alone welcomed to speak at an event selling tickets for over $2,000 a pop.
NYT’s speaker lineup is an interesting group of people to throw together. It includes Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky, as well as Mark Zuckerberg, former prime minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu, former US vice president Mike Pence, and Ben Affleck.
At the event, NYT columnist and editor Andrew Sorkin claims he will “bring together today’s most vital minds on a single stage.” DealBook Summit says it will reveal “hidden complexities, unexpected relationships, and the wide-ranging ripple effects of change.”
It wouldn’t be surprising if even Mike Pence didn’t want to be rubbing (virtual) shoulders with SBF right now. However, NYT has decided to take an opportunity any media outlet would pounce on. There are, of course, several ways to go about it on-stage.
As a bit of content marketing for the event, NYT released an interview with SBF, smack dab in the middle of the FTX and Alameda Research meltdown.
The article focused on SBF’s philanthropic and political endeavours (for another take, Protos has reported on both). While informative, public sentiment found that it “tip-toed” around the elephant in the room and labelled it a “puff-piece.” Even Twitter’s chief nightmare Elon Musk took the time to reply:
“This is one the biggest failures in US journalistic integrity of the 21st century.”
A protest outside the NYT DealBook Summit event against SBF’s speaker deal has been proposed, but Protos has been unable to confirm if this will take place.
Sorkin has responded to concerns about the interview going forward. “There are a lot of important questions to be asked and answered. Nothing is off limits.”
Indeed, while crypto Twitter is outraged that SBF is not in prison, that’s hardly the fault of the NYT. Not to mention, the public might be able to hear the most thorough first-hand account from SBF to date, since things fell apart.
Let’s just hope we get something a bit more enlightening than “F*** regulators.”