Bankrupted crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried is the talk of the town thanks to the implosion of his heavily celebrity- and lawmaker-endorsed digital currency platform, FTX. SBF cleverly disguised his shaky financial schemes behind an awkward personality and philosophy labeled as “Effective Altruism,” meaning giving away massive amounts of wealth in the name of simply doing good.

It’s a popular philosophical fad that has caught on among progressive global elites in the philanthropy arena and seems to be quite popular among media elites as well. Amazon and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos announced a plan to donate...

Bankrupted crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried is the talk of the town thanks to the implosion of his heavily celebrity- and lawmaker-endorsed digital currency platform, FTX. SBF cleverly disguised his shaky financial schemes behind an awkward personality and philosophy labeled as “Effective Altruism,” meaning giving away massive amounts of wealth in the name of simply doing good.

It’s a popular philosophical fad that has caught on among progressive global elites in the philanthropy arena and seems to be quite popular among media elites as well. Amazon and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos announced a plan to donate most of his wealth, on the same day that 10,000 jobs were to be eliminated at Amazon.

Bankman-Fried is also drawing attention from the amount of money he donated to Democratic Party causes and politicians. He was Joe Biden’s second largest donor in 2020 and came in right behind George Soros in 2022, having donated roughly $39 million to Democratic candidates and platforms. And SBF bankrolled several corporate media outlets through grant foundations. He started the Building a Stronger Future Foundation, which was created to support journalism and investigative research under the guise of pandemic preparedness and climate.

The media outlets he buoyed with FTX investor money include a list of popular titles that lean to the left when it comes to covering issues like those Bankman-Fried is passionate about: Vox, the Intercept, ProPublica, the Law and Justice Journalism Project and the recently launched Semafor, a much-hyped news outlet cofounded by former BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith. Smith has brought several known names from the world of Beltway media onboard, including Politico’s Max Tani and the Washington Post’s Dave Weigel, the latter of whom it’s fair to assume was looking for an exit after being suspended for retweeting a joke earlier this year. Semafor and Vox have disclosed Bankman-Fried as a financial backer in their recent reporting on the FTX collapse, but that’s about it.

Yet since the scandal broke, Bankman-Fried has been treated to two relative puff pieces on his philanthropic efforts in the Washington Post and the New York Times. Both drew severe backlash on social media for seeming to handle him with kid gloves.

The coverage of Bankman-Fried and the FTX collapse, which has resulted in the disappearance of millions of dollars invested into FTX and crypto currencies, must be called into question, given his connections and donations to corporate media outlets. A media storyline is forming that while Bankman-Fried did lose billions almost overnight of FTX user and investment money, his heart is still in the right place when it comes to fighting for the same global causes that liberal editorial boards agree with.

Putting it bluntly — every media organization that accepted funding from Bankman-Fried should come clean and offer full transparency as to the nature of their agreement with him and their financial arrangements. As Semafor’s Max Tani reported, these grants and their funding mechanisms have been put on hold. ProPublica announced that they had received “the first tranche of the $5 million grant in February of 2022. The remaining two-thirds of the grant are due, respectively by April 1, 2023 and by April 1, 2024.” Happy April Fools’ Day indeed.

Bankman-Fried confessed to a Vox reporter that several aspects of Effective Altruism were effectively a scam. SBF later tweeted that he believed himself to simply be chatting with a friend, at an outlet, that he himself was funding through grants.

SBF-funded publications have an obligation to their readers to clear up the exact nature of their financial relationship with him, if they ever want their stories on this beat to be trusted again. Questions remain around what kind of influence came with accepting Bankman-Fried’s money — which, as it turns out, wasn’t actually his and is now gone. Otherwise, I foresee a future where reporters at these outlets are left jobless, wishing they’d learned to code.