Bloomberg Will Never, Ever Report on Mike Bloomberg

“So a priest, a minister and a rabbi walked into a bar…”

We get the whole “avoiding a conflict of interest” thing, but it’s a little tough to report on business without mentioning one of the world’s biggest businessmen, no?

Since its founding in 1990, the Bloomberg media company has held itself to a policy strictly forbidding any coverage of its owner, soon-to-be-ex New York head honcho Michael Bloomberg, beyond “a limited exception for covering Mike’s official actions as New York’s mayor”. This is the equivalent of Fox News refusing to report anything related to Rupert Murdoch, and it’s quite unique among media entities.

So the company allowed itself to report on things Mike did as mayor but did not editorialize at all; he doesn’t even appear on its annual list of “richest men in the world” despite being one of those fortunate few. In the past, this policy meant skipping coverage of more controversial and, frankly, interesting stories like Bloomberg’s ongoing push for stronger firearm regulations and criticism of his response to the big winter storm of 2011.

Bloomberg does great journalism, but this not-quite revelation comes on the heels of a big story about its editorial staff deciding to squash a story that was critical of the Chinese government in order to avoid losing access to big names within that country. That followed was an even bigger scandal about the company using its ubiquitous news “terminals” to collect data about its own customers.

At any rate, we see this as an interesting starting point for a debate on media ethics.

@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.