Is Bloomberg News Preventing Its Reporters from Reporting on Their Owner?

November 15th, 2019 12:47 PM

Bloomberg News has relatively ignored reporting on their owner. Could that be because of a self-imposed gag rule on Bloomberg reporters?

The New York Times reported a November 14 story detailing liberal billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s history of negative statements about women. The Times said that “the comments revealed a cruder side of Mr. Bloomberg, now 77 and a potential presidential candidate.” Bloomberg, in a comment, stated that “If women wanted to be appreciated for their brains, they’d go to the library instead of to Bloomingdale’s.”

The Times continued its exposé on the billionaire: “Lawsuits portrayed the early days of his company as a frat house, with employees bragging about sexual exploits.” The Times also said that even after entering politics, “Mr. Bloomberg’s cavalier attitude caused trouble: In 2012, the mayor, while admiring a woman at a party, urged two guests to ‘look at the ass on her.’”

But the fact that Bloomberg News isn’t reporting this story is not surprising. Given that the billionaire is exploring a 2020 presidential run for the White House, The Washington Post noted November 12 that Bloomberg News’ “reporting and style guide, called ‘The Bloomberg Way,’ has long banned Bloomberg reporters from covering the founder’s ‘wealth or personal life,’ two obvious areas of interest for any presidential candidate.” Is that why Bloomberg News has relatively ignored any negative reporting on its founder?

Bloomberg News did run a story November 7, however, on Mayor Bloomberg’s exploration of a 2020 bid for the White House, but has since ignored reporting about their founder’s history of negative comments about women. Bloomberg News also ran a story November 15, detailing Michael Bloomberg’s plan to spend $100 million pushing anti-Trump ads.

One 1997 lawsuit alleged that “Sexual harassment and sexual degr[a]dation of women at Bloomberg [company] was pervasive,” The National Review reported November 14. “The suit accused Bloomberg of making racist remarks as well, including calling Mexican clients ‘jumping beans’ and telling a female employee who needed a nanny, ‘all you need is some black who doesn’t even have to speak English to rescue it from a burning building.’”

The lawsuit even alleged that Bloomberg had told a pregnant female employee to “kill it,” after she had informed him of her pregnancy, National Review added.

Bloomberg reportedly stated in a radio interview that “Quite honestly, I don’t want the reporters I’m paying to write a bad story about me,” former Bloomberg News politics editor Kathy Niely noted for The Post on December 10, 2018. “‘I don’t want them to be independent,’” the billionaire said.

If this is what Michael Bloomberg expects from his news organization, what can readers of Bloomberg News expect in the way of journalism?

A Bloomberg spokesman issued a response to inquiries from The Times:

“‘Mike has come to see that some of what he has said is disrespectful and wrong,’” said Bloomberg spokesman, Stu Loeser. “He believes his words have not always aligned with his values and the way he has led his life.”