Today Was the Day Michael Bloomberg Finally Became a Mainstream Media Tycoon

November 25, 2019

Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has, for reasons that remain unclear, announced his candidacy for president in the 2020 Democratic primary, a move that will allow him to pay reduced candidates' rates on political advertising. Meanwhile, the multi-billionaire's media empire—which employs more than 2,500 journalists—has taken steps to ensure its acceptance into the cabal of "mainstream" journalistic institutions.

Bloomberg News editor in chief John Micklethwait announced Sunday that several members of the site's opinion section will be taking a leave of absence to join Bloomberg's presidential campaign. Micklethwait also announced that Bloomberg News "will continue our tradition of not investigating Mike (and his family and foundation) and we will extend the same policy to his rivals in the Democratic primaries." Bloomberg's journalists, however, "will continue to investigate the Trump administration."

In lieu of investigating the Democratic presidential candidates, Bloomberg journalists tasked with covering the primary will simply "describe who is winning and who is losing," as well as "interview candidates" and "track their campaigns, including Mike's," according to the memo Micklethwait sent to Bloomberg staff.

The departure of Bloomberg's editorial staff is just the most recent example of the revolving door connecting the Democratic Party and the U.S. media establishment. At least 24 journalists, for example, went to work for the Obama administration in Barack Obama's first term. Most notably, Obama press secretary Jay Carney was the Washington bureau chief for Time magazine before becoming the president's chief spokesman.

Sometimes, this pipeline runs the other way, as was the case with ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos, who previously served as White House communications director under President Bill Clinton.

Bloomberg's choice to not investigate Democrats will align the newsroom's priorities with those of the mainstream networks and publications that, for example, declined to publish negative stories about Democratic donors Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Epstein. Epstein's history of sexual deviancy only received renewed public scrutiny thanks to reporting by a local newspaper (the Miami Herald), which investigated the involvement of former Trump labor secretary Alex Acosta in the negotiations over Epstein's notoriously lenient plea deal.

It is not yet known if Bloomberg News will seek to emulate CNN's Brian Stelter by devoting more resources to spell-checking Trump's Twitter feed and discussing matters of "truth" and journalistic integrity with disgraced news anchor Dan Rather.

In any event, today is the day Michael Bloomberg finally became a mainstream media tycoon.