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Citing policy, Bloomberg says it won’t investigate Democratic presidential candidates

A screen capture from the television program “Bloomberg Surveillance.”

Bloomberg News will no longer conduct investigative journalism into Democratic candidates running for President of the United States after the company’s founder, Michael Bloomberg, announced his intention to run for the position.

In a note to employees on Sunday, Bloomberg News Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait said the company would continue its policy of not investigating its owner and would extend that policy to all candidates running for the Democratic nomination.

Bloomberg News has long held a policy of not investigating its owner, including his wealth, private life and political ideology. It also routinely declines to cover dealings within its own company and often does not cover matters involving rival companies CNBC and Thomson Reuters, with few exceptions.

The policy extends to the Bloomberg News website, its financial terminal and subsidiary policies like the print magazine Bloomberg Businessweek, according to a news editor who spoke to The Desk on background.

Micklethwait did not say the company would avoid all reporting on Bloomberg or his presidential campaign, noting that Bloomberg News has a full-time reporter assigned to cover Bloomberg’s political movements as it does with other candidates. But complicating matters was an additional announcement that the news division’s editorial board would suspend, with members of the former board joining Bloomberg’s campaign team.

Micklethwait also did not say how the company would continue to investigate President Donald Trump, his finances and the ongoing impeachment hearings should Bloomberg clinch the Democratic nomination. On Monday, Trump’s campaign manager Bradley Parscale said Bloomberg News reporters would be prohibited from obtaining official credentials to cover Trump’s campaign events and rallies, saying the group felt the news division’s move to not investigate Democratic candidates showed “preferential reporting.”

“As President Trump’s campaign, we are accustomed to unfair reporting practices, but most news organizations don’t announce their biases so publicly,” Parscale said, according to a report by Axios. “Presented with this new policy from Bloomberg News, our campaign was forced to determine how to proceed.”

Parscale said Bloomberg News as a whole was prohibited from obtaining credentials, but the campaign was open to “individual reporters or answer inquiries from Bloomberg News on a case-by-case basis.” Parscale said the policy of banning Bloomberg News reporters en masse from campaign events would stand until the company rescinded its policy of not investigating Democratic candidates.

Micklethwait said accusations of bias against the company “couldn’t be further from the truth,” adding that Bloomberg News would find ways to cover Trump’s re-election campaign in spite of the ban.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).