A government watchdog group shared exclusive documents with MRC Business exposing an apparently incestuous relationship between Bloomberg News and President Joe Biden’s Treasury Department.
The Functional Government Initiative obtained documents through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. According to FGI’s press release shared with MRC Business, Bloomberg reporters gave Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen such favorable “coverage that they chafed under Treasury’s censorship of their stories, and weren’t shy about letting the Treasury Department know their displeasure.” This reeks of quid pro quo journalism.
One July 16, 2021 email caught in the FGI’s FOIA net involved correspondence between Bloomberg News Senior Washington Correspondent Saleha Mohsin and Treasury Department Assistant Secretaries for Public Affairs Calvin Mitchell and Lily Adams. Mohsin appeared to be fired up over the Treasury censoring Yellen quotes obtained by Bloomberg News despite the outlet’s “commitment” to her. “Bloomberg reporters show enough commitment to Yellen that we travel far and wide to cover her,” Mohsin wrote, “only to have you [sic] quotes killed. Yellen made the same comments live to the networks and its no big deal.” The "Subject" line suggests the correspondence was in regards to Mohsin's July 15, 2021, story headlined: "Yellen Demurs on Second Powell Term, Saying She’ll Talk to Biden." [Emphasis added.]
MRC Free Speech America & MRC Business Vice President Dan Schneider ripped the incestuous relationship between Bloomberg News and the Treasury Department apart. “It’s obvious that Janet Yellen thinks that she ought to be able to write the stories and that Bloomberg is simply the avenue through which she spreads her propaganda,” Schneider rebuked. “This is a clear violation of journalistic ethics and Bloomberg News should be ashamed of itself.”
Appearing to act as the Treasury Department’s personal PR firm in order to get special privileges is a very naughty move and a gross affront to journalistic integrity, but that was apparently lost on Bloomberg News. FGI Communications Director Peter McGinnis blasted Bloomberg News in a statement. “If Treasury officials were censoring Bloomberg’s reporters, that’s unethical. If Bloomberg reporters allowed it to happen, it’s unethical and unprofessional,” McGinnis stated. “Trading access for message control is an old game in Washington, but rarely do you see evidence this blatant. We know the media takes the Biden administration’s side. Now it seems that Bloomberg reporters take its dictation too.”
The Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics states that not only should journalists avoid any appearance of a “conflicts of interest,” but should also “[r]efuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and avoid political and other outside activities that may compromise integrity or impartiality, or may damage credibility.” In retrospect, the objectivity of the glowing profiles that Mohsin in particular has written on Yellen for Bloomberg News now have to be called into question.
For example, in October 2021, Mohsin ran a pro-Yellen story headlined: “Janet Yellen’s Above-the-Fray Approach Is Put to a Political Test.” Mohsin fawned how Biden appointed Yellen to lead the Treasury Department for “her gravitas, quiet consensus building, and attention to data—qualities that served her well during a decades-long central banking career. Democrats and Republicans alike laud her judgment.” In September 2022, Mohsin also heralded how Yellen reportedly agreed to stay on as Treasury Secretary through the midterm elections. Mohsin’s reporting cast Yellen as a heroine ready to steady Biden’s economic ship that was being severely rattled by an ongoing inflation crisis:
If she stays through next year, the ex-Federal Reserve chair would provide stability to Biden’s economic agenda should turmoil across energy and financial markets morph into a broader crisis, or if slowdowns in the US, Europe and China result in a global recession.
When America’s inflation crisis was in full swing in June 2022, Mohsin attempted to paint Yellen as some kind of a victim amidst the Biden administration’s repeated assertions that the inflation phenomenon would only be transitory. The story, headlined “Janet Yellen Is Struggling at the Treasury Job She Never Wanted,” praised the Treasury Secretary’s admission on CNN that she had gotten her temporary inflation calls wrong: “With her statement, Yellen broke ranks with Biden’s inner circle—which doesn’t include her—and exposed the dysfunction at the heart of an administration that’s botched its communications around the country’s economic problems.”
That story just happened to include comments from Adams celebrating Yellen:
Treasury spokesperson Lily Adams says, ‘Secretary Yellen’s first 17 months at the Treasury have featured a series of highly consequential achievements, including negotiating a global deal on international tax, resolving a debt ceiling impasse, leveling unprecedented sanctions against Russia, and helping shepherd one of the fastest economic recoveries in our nation’s history.’
Bloomberg News and the Treasury Department have some explaining to do.
Conservatives are under attack. Contact Bloomberg News at email@example.com and demand the outlet respond to Mohsin’s admission of the outlet’s “commitment” to Biden’s Treasury Secretary.