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The New York Times Sets the Stage for Fear Mongering
This week's spotlight: New York Times
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EOW closing Bitcoin price: $27,186
Date range: October 9 - October 15, 2023
Bitcoin Perception Index (BPI): 40/100 - leaning towards fearful
Main Topics: SEC's Stance on Bitcoin ETFs, Chinese Bitcoin Mines Draw National Security Scrutiny, Argentina's Economic Crisis and Bitcoin, Israel/Palestine Conflict
This week's spotlight: New York Times
Main Topics Of The Week
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has decided not to challenge a court ruling in favor of Grayscale Investments, bringing the possibility of the first Bitcoin ETF closer to reality.
New York Times reporter Gabriel Dance has penned another misguided article on Bitcoin mining that has triggered a unified rebuttal from several leading Bitcoin thinkers. Find out more in this week's spotlight section.
Javier Milei, a presidential candidate in Argentina, has proposed abolishing the country's central bank and switching to the U.S. dollar, a move that could have implications for Bitcoin adoption in the country.
The Israel/Palestine conflict has seen an increase in the use of cryptocurrencies for fundraising. Israel has taken steps to freeze accounts suspected of funneling donations to Hamas.
This Week's Spotlight: New York Times
The New York Times led the charge in sounding the alarm on Bitcoin mining, painting a sensationalist picture of Chinese Bitcoin mines as potential Trojan Horses for intelligence gathering and grid attacks. The Daily Mail simply followed suit, amplifying the Times' narrative without adding much substance.
The message was alarmingly one-sided: Bitcoin mining is a national security risk, and we should all be concerned.
Daniel Batten, Co-founder of CH4 Capital, was quick to dismantle this narrative, tweeting, "This is FUD. Bitcoin is a global, decentralized network. It's not a tool for state-sponsored anything." Batten's point highlights the glaring oversight in the media's portrayal: the decentralized nature of Bitcoin makes it an unlikely vehicle for state-sponsored espionage or sabotage.
Sam Callahan, Lead Market Analyst at Swan, took issue with the media's portrayal of Bitcoin as an energy hog, tweeting, "What about the energy consumption of the entire global financial system? Banks, ATMs, armored trucks, etc.?"
Callahan's tweet underscores the media's selective focus and lack of context when discussing energy consumption, a tactic that not only misleads but also fuels unwarranted fears.
A Breach of Trust, Or Predictable Behaviour?
The New York Times has done more than just misinform with this piece; it has slowly eroded public trust over time with many articles like this one.
The critical voices from Bitcoin thought leaders like Pierre Rochard, VP of Research at Riot, and Troy Cross, Professor of Philosophy and Humanities at Reed College, are not just offering counterpoints; they're highlighting a systemic issue with how complex topics like Bitcoin mining are covered in the New York Times.
But this also begs the question for the entire media industry: Why is the media so quick to publish alarmist articles without thorough research? Is it the allure of sensational headlines over nuanced discussion? And why is there such a glaring lack of voices from the Bitcoin industry in these pieces?
These questions answer themselves, really. If you’ve been following some mainstream media outlets’ coverage of Bitcoin long enough, you know what to expect. My open letter to Michael del Castillo stated how the media, in a quest for sensationalism, perpetuates the dubious narrative of Craig Wright as Bitcoin's creator, Satoshi Nakamoto.
That’s why it’s instrumental for the industry to keep track of the mainstream media coverage of Bitcoin and respond when articles like these are published.
A Journalistic Failure
The media's recent coverage of Bitcoin mining, spearheaded by the New York Times and parroted by the Daily Mail, is a textbook example of how not to facilitate public discourse.
The lack of depth, understanding, and balance is not just disappointing; it's a journalistic failure.
We can’t only hope for a more informed and less biased discussion in the future, we have to shape it through pushback.