Smackdown: Elon Musk refutes phony claims about taking cash from FTX — and exposes his exposers

Did the monied young hipsters of the new media site called Semafor think they were dealing with an idiot?

Seems they've made that mistake with Elon Musk, and Musk exposed their flamin' hot hypocrisy for all to see.

According to RebelNews:

Elon Musk is taking a newly-launched publication, favoured by the elites in Washington D.C., to task for its coverage of Sam Bankman-Fried and its ties to the disgraced crypto mogul.

Semafor, which was launched by former NYT columnist and Buzzfeed's chief Ben Smith, accused Musk of taking funds from Bankman-Fried to finance his purchase of Twitter.

The publication insinuated that Musk took $100 million in funding from Bankman-Fried, who is accused of misappropriating funds from his crypto venture FTX to a sister company called Alameda in a Ponzi scheme to rival that of disgraced financier Bernie Madoff’s.

Ummm, well, no. It seems that a text-message coming from the Bankman-Fried side (see here) showed an exchange between Bankman-Fried (known as SBF) and Musk.

SBF, oozily qualifying his offer as "totally understand" if Musk wanted to say 'no,' asked about joining with Musk in his purchase of Twitter. Bankman-Fried claimed to already invested a $100 million stake in the company that he would "love to roll" in with Musk. Musk, who didn't know the guy, asked who the heck was texting him, After that, he fliply told SBF he was "welcome to roll" -- as a private investor.

That was no big old partnership, as Semafor suggested. If Bankman-Fried wanted to buy Twitter shares before Musk took over, he could if he wanted, same as anyone else. Musk's text signaled a brushoff.

But it wasn't the way Semafor reported it. Now that SBF has gone bankrupt and down in flames, Semafor wanted to spread around the news that Musk was affiliated somehow with Sam Bankman-Fried, whose name these days is mud.

Musk got disgusted and flatly denied that the big-dollar Democrat donor and crypto king had any stake in Twitter, and then turned the tables on Semafor:



Turns out Semafor, led by former Buzzfeed editor Ben Smith, was the one taking cash from Sam Bankman-Fried. 

It was a revelation that calls to mind the totally huge funding Sam Bankman-Fried has made to these hipster new media organizations, nearly all of which are left-wing and promote the Democrat "narrative," and all of which have been dependent for funding on this accused fraudster, who was also the Democrat party's number-two donor after George Soros.

According to this list -- here are the media recipients:



Now they are looking at losing huge chunks of their funding. ProPublica was slated to get $5 million, for one, which is a big deal in the news industry. Puck writer Theodore Schleifer, who has an excellent piece on SBX's philanthropy and entanglements with the press (you can read one story free there), notes that these media organizations are now looking at "a five-alarm fire" with this funding bust. It will be interesting to see what becomes with them, whether George Soros or someone else will pick up the tab, or they themselves will go down with the FTX ship.

Both Reason magazine and Vanity Fair have terrific articles on just how in bed Bankman-Fried was with this biased press. VF quotes a Forbes reporter who noted that SBF got good coverage because he always picked up the phone for reporters, which sounds pretty credible. Reason magazine explores all the kid-glove treatment this Madoff-Cubed, Worse-Than-Enron accused fraudster has gotten from the mainstream press ever since his downfall, as well as all the cover stories and glamour coverage he got before it, writing.

According to the journalist Teddy Schleifer, SBF gave money to Vox, the progressive news web site created by liberal bloggers Ezra Klein and Matt Yglesias. (Vox Media also owns several other outlets, including New York magazine.) SBF made a $3.25 million grant to The Intercept, which at the time of FTX's fall had already received $500,000 and was due to get the rest in the coming years. Acting editor-in-chief Ryan Hodge notes that SBF's bankruptcy will leave The Intercept with a significant hole in its budget.

SBF also gave money to Semafor, a new journalism project created by Ben Smith, formerly the media columnist at The New York Times and, before that, the editor in chief of BuzzFeed. And when FTX crashed, SBF was in the process of giving ProPublica whopping $5 million. This was ostensibly in support of research to better understand the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and to prevent future pandemics. And indeed, ProPublica's reporting on these subjects is well worth reading.

That's a lot of biased press he was paying for, a lot of phony "narratives" promoted at the expense of real journalism, even if some work, as Reason notes, was not bad

And now we know the reason for it:

Seems the press has been in bed with this guy a good long while, and has given him glowing coverage for his "philanthropy" which includes donations to groups like "Election Reformers" whose blog rants incessantly about "election deniers" and whose platform seems to be all about installing "ranked choice voting" which just happens to have brought wretched characters like Lisa Murkowski and Chesa Boudin into office in recent elections.

Musk later told the press that his "bullsh*t meter" had gone off on SBF, which is a very billionaire-y thing to say. Two decades ago, I used to cover billionaires for Forbes -- and often heard this kind of talk.

Well, that didn't stop Semafor to attempt to tar Musk with an SBF association, which when you think about it, is pretty improbable, SBF being the second-biggest donor to the Democrat party before his crypto-currency empire fell apart.

Sound like a guy Musk, with his favorability toward conservatives, who has taken tremendous flak for restoring President Trump's account on Twitter, might want to get involved with? Just the sucky-uppy tone of SBF to Musk in his texts would be enough to make anyone want to get away from this guy. 

The bottom line here which Musk has pointed out, is that the press has a lot to answer for in the buildup of this idiot, who explained his business failures this way: 

“Each individual decision seemed fine and I didn’t realize how big their sum was until the end,” Bankman-Fried wrote at one point. 

Apparently SBF never read the description of how bankruptcy happens, attributed to Ernest Hemingway, who reputedly said it came "gradually, then suddenly." I guess we couldn't expect this guy to be familiar with literature or anything.

But there's no excuse for the press, which ought to have been onto him much earlier like a duck on a june bug, given that the 2008 financial crisis was preceded by lots of hagiographic profiles of mortgage industry investors and building moguls, all of whom went down in flames with that one. Perhaps the reporters are too young to remember that.

One reporter explained himself to Vanity Fair this way:

Bankman-Fried’s swift rise played out through the media—and now the same is happening with his downfall. A few months ago he graced the cover of Fortune alongside the question, “The Next Warren Buffett?” Jeff John Roberts, who wrote that cover storynoted this past week how “it felt odd” to now be writing about the possibility of his subject going to prison. When later asked on Twitter what he would have changed about his approach, Roberts replied: “Always easier in hindsight but…I would have pushed harder for documents. I asked but didn’t insist on them.”

Oh, man, you always ask for the documents, Mr. Roberts. Especially if you are dealing with a self-promoter who always picks up the phone for you, and who claims to be a mega-billionaire at age 29.

Well, he didn't. And now a lot of the press has egg on its faces, especially Semafor. 

Image: Twitter screen shot

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