26 November 2019

I don’t want them to be independent”

Fantastic piece by Margaret Sullivan, on the Washington Post — although strangely categorised in Lifestyle and Perspective, and not Media or Opinions — about how the presidential candidacy of Michael Bloomberg stabbed the journalistic heart of his news organisation.” She writes:

Built into good journalism is independence. It’s a requirement, the very foundation — the sine qua non, since we seem to like three-word Latin phrases these days. Without which, not”: the essential element.

Making a crucially important area of coverage off-limits saws away at that foundation, leaving everything that remains in an unstable state.

This isn’t entirely new at Bloomberg. The long-held policy is that the organisation doesn’t investigate its owner’s wealth, personal life, family and so on.

That was true during his three terms as New York mayor; it wasn’t good then either, but the stakes are far higher now.

Who would still want to read Bloomberg News after this? But maybe you already stopped reading after last year’s circus. Of course, people working at Bloomberg do not seem happy about this new policy, and this whole situation is a bit weird to say the least.

On media independence and the roles billionaires are playing in the newspaper landscape in France, I highly recommend Frédéric Filloux’s two-part column on Monday Note, from a couple of weeks ago.

I now wonder when French billionaires will want more power than what they already have from owning the main media organisations, and if they too will start to run for president of the country. This. Is. Fine.


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