Vittert: Media drops the ball on FTX collapse

On Balance with Leland Vittert

(NewsNation) — People don’t often advertise that they lost their life savings, but that’s all over the internet now, thanks to the collapse of cryptocurrency exchange FTX.

Take this Reddit post: “All my money is stuck in FTX, and I am insolvent. Hi guys, allow me to share my story. I’m 37. Asian male. Single. This is scary. All the sudden, things just went to 0. Everything I had worked for suddenly came crumbling down.”

By all accounts, this guy did nothing wrong, yet he’s among many FTX customers who can’t access their accounts and have likely lost everything.

Yet read the coverage these days. “A Bad Year for Tom Brady and Gisele Continues as the Cryptocurrency Firm They Got in on Collapses Spectacularly,” Barstool writes.

“Tom Brady Likely Lost Big With FTX Crypto Collapse,” says Gizmodo.

“Why Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen could get burned in the FTX crypto collapse,” comes from the Boston Globe.

Maybe they should get burned. Who cares if Tom Brady loses his stock? Is there any accountability for his endorsement of Sam Bankman-Fried?

Quick recap. Bankman-Fried owned FTX and a company called Alemeda. He loaned the money in customer’s accounts to Alemeda to bet on more crypto investments that are risky by even crypto standards.

What about all the pro sports teams, leagues and stadiums that partnered with Bankman-Fried and took his money and allowed him to rope in unsuspecting fans?

Whether or not it’s criminal is to be decided, but on the face of it, this is just plain wrong.

Now, millions of customers lost everything even though they didn’t make the bets. They literally deposited their money in FTX like a bank. They trusted him.

Why would people trust Bankman-Fried with their money? Well, he was on the cover of Forbes. Besides Bankman-Fried, only Mark Zuckerberg had $23 billion to his name at the age of 29.

He told Forbes he “got involved in crypto without any idea what crypto was.”

Forbes also put Elizabeth Holmes, Adam Newman and Travis Kalanick on the cover. Things aren’t looking good for any of them. Maybe Holmes and company could have a reunion in prison and talk about their cover photos.

But who can blame the little guy for believing the press? CNBC’s Kevin O’Leary isn’t worried about getting let go for hawking a flawed product with a morally flawed CEO.

Surely The New York Times will look out for the little guy, right? Nope. Mr. Bankman-Fried said in an interview that he had expanded too fast and failed to see warning signs, but he shared few details about his handling of FTX customers’ funds.

“You would’ve thought that I’d be getting no sleep right now, and instead I’m getting some,” he told the Times. “It could be worse.”

Really? The only details that matter in this story are what he did with his customers’ money. That’s what journalism is about: standing up for the people who got crushed.

You know, comfort the afflicted and affect the comforted? Bankman-Fried’s sleep schedule is laughable.

But then, there is the Times. The hero worship continues. They can’t have been wrong all this time, so they’ll never hold anybody accountable.

What about Forbes? When is their cover of Bankman-Fried’s victims? That won’t happen. Then they won’t get interviews with the next guy who’s starting something, well, questionable.

So it’s all of us on our own, as we always are.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author, and not of NewsNation.

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