Same Energy: CNN, FNC Rip Bloomberg News Covering for Boss in 2020

Listen to the Article!

Following former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg throwing his hat into the 2020 Democratic presidential race, Bloomberg News was rightly dragged when they announced they would be hands-off with their founder and his Democratic rivals, while continuing to grill President Trump. The move was almost universally panned, with the media beat Sunday shows on both CNN and Fox News criticizing the Bloomberg News. Although, some tougher than others.

On Fox News Channel’s MediaBuzz, host Howard Kurtz began the segment by declaring: “With a single memo, the global media giant with 2,700 journalists around the world, handcuffed its staff in covering Michael Bloomberg's White House bid and undermined, fairly or unfairly, its reputation for independence.

Kurtz reminded viewers that this wasn’t the first time Bloomberg News took an unethical stance when covering their boss. They did the same thing back in 2016 when he was only thinking about running. And in response, politics editor Kathy Kiely left Bloomberg News in protest. At the time, she told Kurtz:

KATHY KIELY: I think that when you're running a political operation as we were, that you should follow every story aggressively and I felt that we weren't able to follow this story aggressively and that I thought compromised us as an organization. I certainly felt it compromised me as an editor.

After reading from the memo editor-in-chief John Micklethwait sent to Bloomberg News staffers describing how the news organization would be hands-off with Democrats and not Trump, Kurtz exclaimed: “On what planet is that fair?

He also quoted former Bloomberg Washington Beuaru chief Megan Murphy, who described the policy as “ridiculous” and “not journalism.” “And she's right,” Kurtz said before explaining how he and other news outlets had managed to cover their billionaire owners seriously. “I do it with Fox. It comes with the territory.”

 

 

Over on CNN’s Reliable Sources, host Brian Stelter seemed dismayed after reading Micklethwait’s memo to the Bloomberg News staff. “So, in other words, the Bloomberg newsroom will investigate President Trump but not the men and women running to take him out of office. This is fascinating.”

Adding: “Well, the Bloomberg newsroom is, as you can imagine, pretty stressed out about this. My story is on cnnbusiness.com. One reporter there told me the campaign – the Bloomberg campaign, is ‘everybody's nightmare come true.’ Other reporters are a little more optimistic, hoping that this won’t be too much of a headache. But honestly, it is a headache for these reporters.”

In an interview with Stelter, Kiely told him that it was like living through Groundhog Day because she’d seen it before. “I felt that that wasn't ethical, and it was just an untenable situation for me as the assigning editor to be in. Unfortunately, they've had four years to think about this, and they haven't come up with a better solution. I'm really sorry to see this,” she lamented.

“When newsrooms show autonomy and show independence, newsrooms gain credibility as a result. That's hopefully the idea behind shows like this one. But Mike Bloomberg has never seemed to want that. He’s always had an issue with this,” Stelter declared near the end of the interview, seemingly taking a shot at Bloomberg himself.

While Stelter largely said most of the right things, he did claim (perhaps unwittingly) that “this has never happened before. It's unprecedented.” But as Kurtz did accurately pointed out, this situation had happened before. “This isn't without precedent. William Randolph Hearst used his newspapers to blatantly promote his 1904 presidential run. But his enterprise is dwarfed by Bloomberg News,” he reminded viewers.

The transcripts are below, click "expand" to read:

CNN’s Reliable Sources
December 1, 2019
11:26:32 a.m. Eastern

BRIAN STELTER: Michael Bloomberg's campaign launch is everywhere. That is thanks to his deep pockets. He is spending all across the country on local stations and television networks. Tens of millions of dollars in television ads to introduce himself as a 2020 contender.

But Michael Bloomberg is also a media mogul. The founder of Bloomberg News and this is an unprecedented situation. How is a media company with a political journalism team going to cover the owner running for president?

Well, the Bloomberg News room is, as you can imagine, pretty stressed out about this. My story is on cnnbusiness.com. One reporter there told me the campaign – the Bloomberg campaign, is “everybody's nightmare come true.” Others reporters are a little more optimistic, hoping that this won’t be too much of a headache. But honestly, it is a headache for these reporters.

I mean, the Bloomberg News editor-and-chief came out with a memo explain how this is going to go, how this is going to work for Bloomberg News. He said: “We will continue our tradition of not investigating Bloomberg and we will extend the same policy to his rivals in the Democratic primaries. We cannot treat Mike’s Democratic competitors differently from him.”

So, in other words, the Bloomberg newsroom will investigate President Trump but not the men and women running to take him out of office. This is fascinating. Like I said, this has never happened before. It's unprecedented. And my next guest has personal experience with this. Kathy Kiely was the former Washington news director for Bloomberg Politics. She quit in 2016 back when he was thinking about running for office. So Kathy, just remind us what happened then. Why did you decide you couldn't stay at Bloomberg back then?

KATHY KIELY: Well, I feel a little bit like I'm living in Groundhog Day, the movie. Because this is very similar to what happened and what really precipitated my decision to leave Bloomberg. The same sort of directions were given, and only it was not yet an official campaign.

But I felt that that wasn't ethical, and it was just an untenable situation for me as the assigning editor to be in. Unfortunately, they've had four years to think about this, and they haven't come up with a better solution. I'm really sorry to see this.

STELTER: But is it possible that they've come up with the least terrible option, the least terrible route by saying, “we are going to cover Mike Bloomberg's campaign?” They've assigned a reporter to the beat and they're not going to investigate other Democrats because they don't want to appear biased in that way. Is that maybe the least terrible option?

KIELY: No. I think the least terrible option is the obvious option which is, you cover Mike Bloomberg the way you would cover any other candidate, and you cover every candidate aggressively.

(…)

STELTER: When newsrooms show autonomy and show independence, newsrooms gain credibility as a result. That's hopefully the idea behind shows like this one. But Mike Bloomberg has never seemed to want that. He’s always had an issue with this.

(…)

 

Fox News Channel’s MediaBuzz
December 1, 2019
11:24:36 a.m. Eastern

HOWIE KURTZ: Bloomberg News has been getting absolutely pummeled, and rightly so, after a crucial decision when its boss launched his presidential campaign. With a single memo, the global media giant with 2,700 journalists around the world, handcuffed its staff in covering Michael Bloomberg's White House bid and undermined, fairly or unfairly, its reputation for independence.

Now, Bloomberg News has always had a relatively hands-off attitude toward its founder, including during his 12 years as New York's mayor. When Mike Bloomberg flirted with running for president in 2016, and the news service was forced to restrict its coverage, Kathy Kiely resigned as political editor. Here’s what she told me.

[Cuts to video]

KATHY KIELY: I think that when you're running a political operation as we were, that you should follow every story aggressively and I felt that we weren't able to follow this story aggressively and that I thought compromised us as an organization. I certainly felt it compromised me as an editor.

[Cuts back to live]

KURTZ: Now, editor-in-chief John Micklethwait has told the staff, “we will continue our tradition of not investigating Mike and his family and foundation.” “That prohibition extends to Bloomberg's rivals because we not treat Mike’s Democratic competitors differently,” says the memo. But the company will continue to investigate President Trump as head of the government.

On what planet is that fair?

The company will largely limit its coverage to Bloomberg’s speeches, policies, and overall polls. If another outlet runs an investigative piece, Bloomberg News would summarize it.

There’s more. Tim O’Brian and David Shipley, top editors at Bloomberg Opinion, are taking leaves to join his campaign and the section is barring any op-eds at all about the 2020 campaign.

Former Bloomberg Washington Beuaru chief Megan Murphy says the policy is “ridiculous” and “not journalism.” And she's right. Other media companies routinely cover billionaires owners, such as The Washingotn Post examining Jeff Bezos and Amazon, or their corporate owners, ABC and Disney, CNN and Time Warner, now AT&T. I do it with Fox. It comes with the territory.

This isn't without precedent. William Randolph Hearst used his newspapers to blatantly promote his 1904 presidential run. But his enterprise is dwarfed by Bloomberg News.

Look at it this way: What is Mike Bloomberg afraid of? So what if his company does a couple of investigative pieces on him? He’s going to have to withstand a lot more than that to win the nomination.

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2020 Presidential Bias by Omission Double Standards Political Groups Liberals & Democrats Wire Services/Media Companies Bloomberg Cable Television Fox News Channel MediaBuzz CNN Reliable Sources Video Howard Kurtz Brian Stelter Michael Bloomberg

Sponsored Links