Bloomberg’s Media Company Will Not Investigate Boss, Democrats in 2020 Run-Up

Michael Bloomberg owns the company, but chances are he will not command many of its headlines over the next several months

Bloomberg L.P., the financial-data and news company founded by the longtime entrepreneur and former New York City mayor, said Sunday it will not do in-depth reporting on him or other Democratic candidates for the White House in the run-up to the 2020 election, a move that puts the journalism organization in a curious position – sitting out on one of the major strands of a political story that has and will continue to grip the nation. Bloomberg said on Sunday that he would enter the race for the Democratic nomination.

“We will describe who is winning and who is losing. We will look at policies and their consequences. We will carry polls, we will interview candidates and we will track their campaigns, including Mike’s. We have already assigned a reporter to follow his campaign (just as we did when Mike was in City Hall). And in the stories we write on the presidential contest, we will make clear that our owner is now a candidate,” said John Micklethwait, editor in chief of Bloomberg’s news operations, in a memo to staff sent Sunday. But, Micklethwait told employees, “we will continue our tradition of not investigating Mike (and his family and foundation and we will extend the same policy to his rivals in the Democratic primaries.” The company follows similar policies about its own direct competitors.

The news organization is simply carrying out a long-held policy of not originating investigations into its own workings, and not covering Bloomberg’s wealth or personal life. At the same time, enterprise reporting is the lifeblood of many newsrooms at a time when press announcements and incremental developments represent commodity product that is often indistinguishable from one news outlet to the next.

Micklethwait said Bloomberg would continue to do in-depth reporting on President Donald Trump, and would publish accounts of other news organizations’ investigative reports on its founder and his Democratic rivals. But, if Bloomberg emerges as the Democratic candidate, “we will reassess how to do that,” Micklethwait said.

Bloomberg will also suspend its editorial board, where its top executive had the most influence, and for the time being cease publishing unsigned editorials. David Shipley and Tim O’Brien, both of whom work as executive editor of Bloomberg Opinion, will join Michael Bloomberg’s campaign operations, taking a leave of absence from their editorial duties. Columnists will continue to work as they normally would, and the section will continue to run opinion from outside contributors, but likely not on the elections.

“There is no point in trying to claim that covering this presidential campaign will be easy for a newsroom that has built up its reputation for independence in part by not writing about ourselves (and very rarely about our direct competitors,” Micklethwait said. ” No previous presidential candidate has owned a journalistic organization of this size.”




More Biz

  • EFM 1st European Film Politics Seminar

    Berlin: 1st European Film Politics Seminar - Protecting Independent Film Production

    Leading industry reps gathered on the opening day of Berlin’s European Film Market for what is certain to be a continuing discussion about leveling the playing field for independent producers across Europe and demanding greater engagement in the sector from global players. The 1st European Film Politics Seminar aims to set the political agenda of [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein (C) arrives to New

    Harvey Weinstein Jury Note Stirs Frenzied Speculation on Verdict

    A note from the jury in the Harvey Weinstein trial on Friday afternoon set the media and legal worlds abuzz with speculation about the verdict. The note suggested that the jurors were deadlocked on the two most serious charges — predatory sexual assault — but had reached a unanimous consensus on three other counts, of [...]

  • Naim McNair Named Def Jam Senior

    Naim McNair Named Def Jam Senior VP of A&R

    In what may be the first signal of the next era of Def Jam Recordings, Naim McNair has been named senior VP of A&R at the company. The move comes just hours after it was confirmed that Paul Rosenberg, chairman and CEO of the label since January of 2018, is leaving his post at the [...]

  • Paul Rosenberg

    Paul Rosenberg Stepping Down as Head of Def Jam

    UPDATED: Paul Rosenberg, chairman and CEO of Def Jam Recordings since January of 2018, is leaving his post at the company, a source close to the situation confirms to Variety. Jeff Harleston, general counsel for Def Jam parent company Universal Music Group, will serve as interim chief until a new CEO is appointed; he will [...]

  • Baby Yoda - The Child Animatronic

    Hasbro's Adorable Baby Yoda Animatronic Toy Is Already Sold Out on Disney's Online Store

    The Force remains strong for toys based on Baby Yoda, the breakout star of Disney Plus original series “The Mandalorian.” Less than a day after becoming available for pre-order, Hasbro’s new $59.99 Baby Yoda animatronic toy is no longer available on Disney’s official online store: As of Friday morning, Shop Disney listed it as “sold [...]

  • BTS Leads Spotify’s New Music Friday

    BTS Leads Spotify’s New Music Friday Playlist Rebrand

    Spotify has launched a global rebrand of its popular New Music Friday playlist, which this week features BTS, The Weeknd, Noah Cyrus, Trippie Redd, Kenny Chesney, Rei Ami and others. The revamped playlist, which has 43 versions worldwide, has more than 3.5 million followers in the US and eight million globally. New elements include a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content