An ex-Bloomberg editor condemned the company’s editorial decision not to investigate its owner, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, or any other Democratic presidential candidate.
In CNN appearance Sunday, Kathy Kiely, a former Washington news director for Bloomberg Politics, said that “the least-terrible option” would be to cover the former mayor “the way you would cover any other candidate, and you cover every candidate aggressively.”
“The press is a public trust, and I think most people who own news organizations understand that,” she added. “The people who work for these publications aren’t serving the owners. They’re serving the people, the readers, the viewers, the listeners, and so I think if you look at it that way, it’s a very easy call to make.”
Last month, shortly after the 2020 hopeful launched his White House bid, Bloomberg News editor-in-chief John Micklethwait notified staffers in a memo that they were to carry on the outlet’s “tradition of not investigating” the CEO, his foundations or his family.
Micklethwait said the policy would extend to others in the race as the outlet “cannot treat Mike’s Democratic competitors differently from him.”
However, Micklethwait noted that if other credible media organizations publish investigations on Bloomberg and other candidates, “we will either publish those articles in full, or summarize them for our readers ― and we will not hide them.”
Kiely said she couldn’t understand the rationale behind the move.
“It really undermines the credibility of the organization Mike Bloomberg invested so much money in,” she told CNN. “As a business decision, it doesn’t make sense.”
One day after Micklethwait’s announcement, the Guild at Bloomberg Industry Group, a union representing some of the conglomerate’s employees, panned what it called an attempt “to silence journalists.”
“Journalism’s first obligation is to the truth and as journalists, we must maintain an independence from those we cover,” the union said in a statement. “The Guild believes journalists should not only be allowed ― but encouraged ― to thoroughly cover every single candidate as the profession demands in one of the most important elections in modern history.”