I've written many times over the years, and still believe, that the news out of China is more good than bad. (For details: here, here, and here by me, plus this nice photo feature yesterday from Matt Schiavenza.) But the bad news is real, and needs to be reported -- and shakiness on this point is what has gotten the Bloomberg organization into what appears to be big trouble.
If the front page story today in the NYT is right, Bloomberg has made a craven decision that calls its larger credibility into question. According to the Times article, Bloomberg managers in New York decided to squash stories by their (aggressive) China-based reporters for fear of angering the Chinese government. The less-damaging rationale for this decision is Bloomberg's concern that its reporters might be kicked out of China. The more-damaging suspicion is that the company was worried that it would lose subscribers in China for its cash-cow Bloomberg financial terminals. You can see the whole thing dramatized by our friends from NMA in Taiwan, above.
Maybe this NYT story is off -- though in the 24 hours since it's appeared there has been no substantive response from Bloomberg (other than "it's not so"), and the NYT account from Beijing is by the reputable Edward Wong (whom I know and trust). But at face value this is a really depressing illustration of a "news" organization knuckling under in the face of economic pressure. That's how Bloomberg's China reporters must feel as well: otherwise how would this case ever have gotten out? A nice way for Bloomberg to counter these suspicions would be to run the controversial stories in question -- as it has done in the past with strong China stories.