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Bloomberg's Bloomberg problem





Back in July '07, when I broached the question of how Bloomberg L.P. would cover a Michael Bloomberg presidential run, the company didn't seem too worried. “Bloomberg News, which has won hundreds of awards and honors from its peers for its fair and objective reporting and its investigative reporting, adheres to the strictest standards of attribution and objectivity,” Bloomberg L.P. PR head Judith Czelusniak told me by email. “We cover every issue according to these standards.”

Now, though, Bloomberg L.P. seems to be realizing that it won't be that simple. From today's Newsday story on the same subject (via Romenesko):
"It would be novel, to say the least," said Matt Winkler, Bloomberg News' editor in chief. "It would limit some of the things that we would do about him and as a result limit some of the things we do about others, because we couldn't play favorites in this, and we couldn't skew coverage in one way and not another way.

For instance, Winkler said, Bloomberg News would be unlikely to do an investigation into some aspect of Michael Bloomberg, which would then keep it from doing such stories about other candidates (emph. added).
Reread that last paragraph. If the reporter paraphrased Winkler correctly--and Bloomberg News probably wouldn't do anything investigative on Bloomberg or the other candidates--could it really cover the race at all? (Like Bloomberg Radio and Bloomberg Television, Bloomberg News is part of Bloomberg L.P.)

Allow me to suggest the same solution I proposed last year: hire a dedicated ombudsman from outside Bloomberg L.P. to aggressively monitor all Bloomberg's presidential coverage, and regularly publish his or her findings. Here's an useful precedent.

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