Editorial, Opinion

EDITORIAL: Mike Bloomberg needs to choose between publication ownership and presidential candidacy

When Mike Bloomberg announced he was running for president and using his own multi-billion dollar fortune to fund the endeavor, the public and media were quick to raise important questions. The former mayor of New York City now owns Bloomberg, Inc., which includes a finance news publication and is the recent main cause for concern regarding Bloomberg’s campaign.

Bloomberg had foreseen this conflict of interest, however, and made policy changes for the publication in order to address it. Bloomberg will no longer be able to pursue or publish investigative stories on the presidential campaigns of Bloomberg or any of his opponents.

The goal of this action is to prevent any potential bias in reporting and not present any information that may seem to sway one way or another regarding the 2020 Democratic field, according to a memo by John Micklethwait, the publication’s editor in chief.

But these restrictions are not enough. Bloomberg cannot expect to own and influence a major media company while also running to be the president of the U.S.

Bloomberg should give up control of his media conglomerate immediately, or otherwise end his candidacy for president. He even said he would do this on a radio show last year, saying “The company would either go into a blind trust or I would sell it.”

Instead, Bloomberg is restricting his journalists and taking away their ability to thoroughly and completely report on news. Regardless of whether Bloomberg is a politically-focused publication, they report on politics regardless, as is obvious in the fact that Bloomberg felt restrictions were necessary in the first place.

After the fuss the U.S. has made over presidential assets, from Trump Hotels to Jimmy Carter’s peanut farm, Bloomberg should know and understand why this would not go smoothly.

President Donald Trump’s profits as president have been the subject of a lot of controversy and his relationship with the media has been more than questionable. Somehow, what Bloomberg is attempting is worse.

People may argue that, as the owner, Bloomberg has no legitimate power over what is published, but not only is that terribly misinformed, it is disproven in the very fact that Bloomberg himself is taking credit for this change.

This is better than if Bloomberg had not taken any steps at all and allowed all coverage of presidential campaigns, but the true solution is for Bloomberg to pick a side. No one deserves the best of both worlds when having so would infringe upon the legitimacy of an objective news outlet.

In addition to restrictions on objective news, the editorial board has not published an editorial, whether about the presidential election or not, since Nov. 8, almost a month before Bloomberg announced his campaign. The publication is no longer accepting outside op-ed submissions about any campaigns.

Bloomberg is choking the voice of a publication and it’s not acceptable whether he owns it or not. If he wishes to be a legitimate president or respectable owner of a publication, he needs to make a tough decision. Otherwise, he cannot be either.

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