So, what’s the problem with running for president when one owns a media empire? Michael Bloomberg is about to find out. Oops, I mean Mike, as in “I Like Mike.” Either way, it seems Bloomberg’s guild of journalists does not like Mike. At all.
A media controversy is brewing over at Bloomberg because of an edict from management not to dig up dirt on its fearless leader, his businesses, his family, his charitable activities, and — if he owns one – his dog. Sorry for the hyperbole, but it’s not that far off. In addition, Bloomberg “journalists” will need to keep their hands off all the Democratic candidates as well.
Left unsaid is that it’s probably open season on President Donald Trump.
Wonder of wonders, the union that represents Bloomberg’s scribes fired back. “We are extremely alarmed by management’s decision to silence the journalists we represent at Bloomberg Industry Group, as well as the unrepresented journalists at Bloomberg News,” union officials tweeted. Then they dug their heels firmly into the muck: “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.”
Ordering journalists what to write and what to ignore used to be the modus operandi of the communists. Controlling the media message began in earnest when Mr. Trump unexpectedly won the presidency. Not that things weren’t headed down this road already.
‘Tis a slippery slope that began with groupthink and distorted coverage of the opposition, but an American mega-media entity had yet to go this far. Silencing journalists on as major an issue as a presidential election is unprecedented as far as we know. The Guild’s retort waxed poetic about the position they find themselves in:
“Journalism’s first obligation is to the truth, and as journalists, we must maintain an independence from those we cover.”
Could these fighting words be too little, too late? It’s apparent the big boys and girls at Bloomberg HQ have thought this through because there’s more to the story. The voice of the organization known as Bloomberg Opinion will cease operation, and its big names, such as Tim O’Brien and David Shipley, will forgo journalism altogether to work for the Bloomberg campaign.
Well, at least these folks are open about it all, even if the rank and file do not seem to be taking their muzzling lying down. Mr. Mike’s run for the Oval Office appears to be a bit of a Sudoku puzzle – no matter where you put the numbers, nothing seems to fit.
Political pundits know that Mike doesn’t have a snowball’s chance at winning the Democratic nomination, but the ethical questions raised for those in the news business may have awakened a sleeping giant. Will the Bloomberg Guild have enough moxie to halt the massive erosion of public trust in mainstream media outlets, or will it be a silencing of the lambs?
Read more from Leesa K. Donner.