Commentary

'Bloomberg News' Hurts Brand With One-Sided Political Coverage

Bloomberg News is damaging its brand with a decision to limit its coverage of Mike Bloomberg, the owner of the news outlet who announced plans to run for president.

John Micklethwait, editor in chief of Bloomberg News, this week described in a memo to staff its plan to continue a "tradition" of not investigating Mr. Bloomberg, his family and charitable foundation. It also will avoid investigating any of his Democratic rivals -- but the Trump administration is still fair game for as much damaging material as Bloomberg News reporters can dig up.

“We will write about virtually all aspects of this presidential contest in much the same way as we have done so far,” Micklethwait wrote. “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.”

advertisement

advertisement

He said the newsroom already assigned a reporter to cover the campaign, as it did when Mr. Bloomberg was mayor of New York City.

The policy is fraught with peril, even if Bloomberg News aims to stick to fact-based reporting.

Bloomberg News will ape the investigative work of other news outlets, but apparently won't bother to break news that’s at the heart of real journalism.

It's also one-sided to permit reporters to investigate a political rival in President Trump -- who deserves scrutiny as a sitting president -- without properly vetting other candidates. That will be the job of other news organizations.

Less consequential is a decision to suspend parts of its opinion section that run unsigned editorials reflecting Mr. Bloomberg's opinions. He will have plenty of opportunity to spout off during the campaign.

I worked for Bloomberg News from 2008 to 2013 and signed a nondisclosure agreement that limits what I can say about the company. As an outside observer, I think the organization is needlessly exposing itself to suspicions about its political coverage and hurting a brand with strong journalism credentials.

Next story loading loading..