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With Michael Bloomberg Running For President, What Happens To The Bloomberg Newsroom?

Elizabeth Balboa

Michael Bloomberg threw his hat in the ring for the Democratic presidential nomination. The businessman and former New York City mayor who's worth $53 billion brings the number of candidates seeking the party's nomination to 18.

“I know how to win, because I’ve done it time and time again,” Bloomberg said at his campaign launch.

How has he been so successful? Money.

Bloomberg has already invested $35 million in national TV ads. He owns the eponymous Bloomberg News, which runs operations in TV, radio and print media. He already uses the editorials of Bloomberg Opinion as a personal platform, and he seems to have taken steps to further leverage his assets.

Bloomberg Editor Forbids Investigation Of Publication's Namesake 

Since Sunday, Bloomberg News Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait has barred journalists and analysts from investigating Bloomberg or other Democratic candidates throughout the election, although he permitted coverage of polls, policies and campaign progress. All investigative power will be directed toward the Trump administration, Micklethwait said in a memo. 

Micklethwait also eliminated editorials under Bloomberg Opinion, which will only run pieces by columnists and independent submissions on non-campaign-related topics.

“This is a structure that can cope with many eventualities,“ Micklethwait wrote in a message to his employees. 

"No doubt, many of you are already thinking of possible complexities that may raise. My response is: let’s get back to work. We can spend a long time debating ‘what ifs.’ I would rather that we got on with the journalism and let the work speak for itself."

Retired Bloomberg journalists have criticized the rules and said they expect consumers to turn to other sources for political coverage. Former Bloomberg politics news director Kathy Kiely said Bloomberg should distance himself from the news organization rather than compromise its mission.

“There is no point in trying to claim that covering this presidential campaign will be easy for a newsroom that has built up its reputation for independence in part by not writing about ourselves,” Micklethwait wrote.

Sirota: 'It's A Very Tough Situation For Journalists' 

If Bloomberg happens to advance through the primary and general elections, the news agency may face more challenges. President Donald Trump faced pressure to divest his assets upon taking the presidency.

Bloomberg said earlier this year that he would “separate” himself from his charitable foundation and businesses to prevent conflicts of interest. Some are demanding that he do so sooner rather than later. Until he divests of Bloomberg News, consumer fears of media bias could be reinforced.

Trump's 2020 campaign announced on Dec. 2 it will no longer allow reporters from Bloomberg News to obtain credentials to cover Trump campaign events.

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Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg addresses the NAACP 110th National Convention on Wednesday, July 24 in Detroit. Photo by Dustin Blitchok.

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