In a memo to staff, the editor-in-chief of Bloomberg News told the newsroom that the publication will continue its “tradition of not investigating” its CEO and namesake, Michael Bloomberg, or his family and foundations after he declared his candidacy for president on Sunday.
The head of Bloomberg News, John Micklethwait, said the policy not to investigate will be extended to other candidates in the Democratic primary.
“We cannot treat Mike’s Democratic competitors differently from him,” he said. Micklethwait added that Bloomberg News will decide what to do when other publications report on the candidate Bloomberg or his competitors. “If other credible journalistic institutions publish investigative work on Mike or the other Democratic candidates, we will either publish those articles in full, or summarize them for our readers,” he said. “And we will not hide them.”
Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire businessman and former mayor of New York City, formally announced his campaign for president on Sunday. “We cannot afford four more years of President Trump’s reckless and unethical actions,” he wrote in a message on his campaign website. But in an already crowded field of candidates, Bloomberg, a former Republican with outsize wealth, is predicted to struggle to find a constituency in today’s Democratic Party. That inevitable struggle has aroused concern among Bloomberg’s detractors that the candidate could use his wealth and influence as a news publisher to prop up an otherwise-hopeless campaign.
In his memo to staff, Micklethwait, listed some concessions designed to dispel those concerns.
“The place where Mike has had the most contact with Editorial is Bloomberg Opinion: our editorials have reflected his views,” he said. “[Executive editors] David Shipley, Tim O’Brien and some members of the board responsible for those will take a leave of absence to join Mike’s campaign.” Micklethwait said a team will step in to handle operations for Bloomberg Opinion in their absence, but did not explicitly state whether the now-candidate’s views will still be reflected in editorials.
A Bloomberg News spokesperson told HuffPost that the former mayor will have “no influence whatsoever over coverage.”
While Bloomberg News is vowing not to investigate its namesake, it will continue to investigate the president, Micklethwait said.
“For the moment, [we] will continue to investigate the Trump administration, as the government of the day,” he wrote. “If Mike is chosen as the Democratic presidential candidate (and Donald Trump emerges as the Republican one), we will reassess how we do that.”