With Michael Bloomberg's official entry into the 2020 presidential race, Bloomberg News announced Sunday that it would not investigate its founder or any 2020 Democrats, but will continue investigating President Donald Trump, in addition to suspending its editorial board.
Despite posturing itself as an independent news outlet, John Micklethwait, Bloomberg editorial and research's editor in chief, wrote in a memo to staffers that Bloomberg News will "continue our tradition of not investigating Mike."
On News, we will write about virtually all aspects of this presidential contest in much the same way as we have done so far. We will describe who is winning and who is losing. We will look at policies and their consequences. We will carry polls, we will interview candidates and we will track their campaigns, including Mike's. We have already assigned a reporter to follow his campaign (just as we did when Mike was in City Hall).
That covers the vast majority of what this newsroom does. We will continue our tradition of not investigating Mike (and his family and foundation) and we will extend the same policy to his rivals in the Democratic primaries. We cannot treat Mike's Democratic competitors differently from him.
Micklethwait added, "For the moment, our P&I team will continue to investigate the Trump administration..."
Also revealed in the memo was the admission that Bloomberg News' editorials have always "reflected [Bloomberg's] ideas," which is partially why the organization chose to suspend its editorial board during Bloomberg's campaign.
The memo sent shockwaves throughout the journalism world on Sunday, raising numerous ethical concerns about whether Bloomberg News is truly the independent news entity it claims to be.
Kathy Kiely, the former Bloomberg News politics director who left the organization when Bloomberg explored a presidential campaign in 2016, criticized the new coverage rules, telling the Associated Press that the rules "relegate his political writers to stenography journalism."
"It's not satisfying for journalists and it's not satisfying for readers. I think people will go elsewhere for in-depth political coverage," she said.
Megan Murphy, the former editor of Bloomberg Businessweek, called the new coverage rules "ridiculous."
"This is not journalism," she wrote on Twitter.