Unionized employees at one of Michael Bloomberg’s media properties are demanding that management reverse an editorial decision not to investigate Democratic presidential candidates, calling it an effort “to silence journalists.”
The Guild at Bloomberg Industry Group, which represents staffers at the legal and policy news publishing group, released a statement Monday night saying it was “extremely alarmed” by the move, announced by Bloomberg News after the billionaire former New York City mayor announced he was running for the 2020 Democratic nomination. (The guild does not represent journalists at Bloomberg News, a separate entity.)
“Journalism’s first obligation is to the truth and as journalists, we must maintain an independence from those we cover,” it read. “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.”
On Sunday, shortly after Bloomberg ― who owns the sprawling media empire that bears his name ― announced his White House bid, Bloomberg News editor-in-chief John Micklethwait told staffers in a memo that the outlet would continue its “tradition of not investigating” the candidate, his family or his foundation, and will extend that policy to his Democratic primary rivals.
“We cannot treat Mike’s Democratic competitors differently from him,” Micklethwait added. “If other credible journalistic institutions publish investigative work on Mike or the other Democratic candidates, we will either publish those articles in full, or summarize them for our readers ― and we will not hide them.”
In a statement sent to HuffPost on Tuesday, Bloomberg Industry Group editor-in-chief Cesca Antonelli gave no indication that the the publication would break from the guidance.
“For nine decades, our subscribers have relied on us to cover the policy implications of elections at the state and national level ― and that’s our plan for 2020,” Antonelli said. “As we planned long before Mike entered the race, our focus will be principally on the key congressional and gubernatorial races impacting legal, tax, and government professionals.”