Bloomberg News Hypes Balance in New Opinion Section, But Staff Suggests Leftward Tilt
Bloomberg News has taken an unorthodox step in the world of wire services, and created an opinion section that it says "will embrace a diversity and variety of opinion."
But early signs suggest a liberal tilt to"Bloomberg View", as it's called. It will be edited by David Shipley, former deputy editor of the New York Times opinion page, and James Rubin, who was an Assistant Secretary of State under President Clinton.
Furthermore, Bloomberg employees are quite open about the fact that the views of the company's president, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, will be reflected prominently in its content.
The New York Times reported on Thursday:
“I think it’s very important that everyone understands that our editorial page is going to be, for sure, consistent with the values and beliefs of the founder — even if he happens to be mayor of New York City,” said Matthew Winkler, the editor in chief of Bloomberg News. “I fully expect us in our Bloomberg View always to reflect those values. In fact, I want people to come away from reading the Bloomberg View infused with those beliefs and values.”…
Though Mr. Bloomberg will not have a hand in conceiving and writing the editorials, he is likely to offer feedback from time to time before they are published, Mr. Winkler said.
Bloomberg is hardly a bleeding-heart liberal - during his political career he has belonged to both major political parties, and in 2007 abandoned the GOP to become and independent.
But Bloomberg is, after all, the chief executive of one of the largest bastions of leftism in the nation. And lately he has been injecting himself into some contentious political debates, most often toeing the liberal line on major issues. His campaigns against tobacco and trans fats bolster his record as a nanny statist, and he had some of the harshest words of any politician for opponents of the so-called Ground Zero mosque.
Mayor Bloomberg's political identity is actually codified in the new opinion section's stylebook, according to Forbes media reporter Jeff Bercovici. Addressing claims that Bloomberg View will offer "ideology-free, empirically-based editorial positions," as Rubin claimed, Bercovici wrote:
But doesn’t every editorial writer think that his arguments are rooted in impartial truth while the other guy’s are nothing but wishful thinking? I asked that question of Bloomberg News editor in chief Matt Winkler. He told me that Bloomberg View will be “based on a sensibility that attempts at least to understand what are all the facts that we’re dealing with when we bring our wisdom to an issue…to look at things as they are and then to come up with a solution to make them better. It’s a realistic approach.”
To the extent that Bloomberg View has — let’s say “preferences” rather than “biases,” shall we? — they will be those of the company’s founder, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. In January of this year, Winkler, mindful that the company was soon to embark on a major expansion of its opinion operation, attempted to codify some of those preferences in the latest edition of “The Bloomberg Way,” the best-practices guidebook issued to every employee. “As moral force makes journalism a calling for those who embrace it,” reads the new edition, “the Bloomberg Way necessitates a respect for life, peace and harmony, education, family stability, social responsibility, transparency, free trade and free markets.”
That sounds great, but this would not be the first publication to claim total impartial truth on its editorial page. With Mayor Bloomberg at the helm and Shipley and Rubin as editors, it's a bit difficult to see the Bloomberg View's opinions running right down the center. In all likelihood, it will be left-leaning.