Bloomberg and China, TL;DR Version

By James Fallows

A little while ago I put up an extended Q-and-A with Ben Richardson, the latest member of the Bloomberg news team who has resigned in protest of the company's approach to stories that might offend the leadership in China.

I hope you read it; its main payoff are Richardson's answers to the questions, and a timeline of how this story has evolved through the past four months.

But here is the central point: fundamental questions about Bloomberg's integrity as a news organization have been raised by its own employees over these past few months. Its responsible leaders have -- so far -- refused to say anything in detail (apart from "it's not true"), or to entertain on-the-record questions about these allegations. And one of the rare on-the-record comments, by its chairman, has seemed to confirm assumptions that Bloomberg has decided to place its journalistic operation second to its financial-terminal business.

On All Things Considered today, David Folkenflik said that ex-mayor Michael Bloomberg had told his staff that they should think of themselves as journalists first. Great! If so, how about saying that in public, and taking questions on it?

I think I know what Bloomberg's best reporters would make of an institution that refused to answer questions about its decisions and relied on the stonewall policy.

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This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/03/bloomberg-and-china-tl-dr-version/359594/