NEW YORK (AP) – Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg says employees at his news organization need to accept restrictions with their paycheck, including the ban on investigating their boss.
Bloomberg, billionaire founder of Bloomberg News, was asked in a CBS News interview about rules put in place when he announced his candidacy: The organization’s reporters are not allowed to probe him and his finances, or any of his Democratic rivals.
Bloomberg News says the restriction does not apply to President Donald Trump as the government’s leader. That prompted Trump’s campaign to say it would not allow Bloomberg reporters to cover its events.
“We just have to learn to live with some things,” Bloomberg told CBS. His reporters “get a paycheck. But with your paycheck comes some restrictions and responsibilities.”
He said that people have said to him, “’how can you investigate yourself?’ And I said, Ï don’t think you can.’” He noted that Bloomberg News subscribers also get access to campaign news from The New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal.
With his comments, the former New York mayor “puts the journalists who work for him in an extremely uncomfortable, tenuous position,” said Lynne Adrine, a Washington-based journalism professor for Syracuse University.
As the owner of Bloomberg News, which started in 1990, Bloomberg has the right to do as he wants, she said.
“Yet, I don’t think that’s the take-away journalism consumers need at this time,” Adrine said.
Bloomberg reporter Mark Niquette is covering Bloomberg’s campaign. On Friday, he posted a story about remarks Bloomberg made in the CBS interview, including about the news organization’s policy. Earlier this week, he wrote about Bloomberg’s campaign stop in Mississippi, where the candidate talked about his apology for New York City’s stop-and-frisk policing tactics when he was mayor.
The Bloomberg company had no comment Friday on what the candidate said.
Kathleen Culver, a professor of journalism ethics at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, said she’s concerned about the extent to which Bloomberg reporters feel intimidated about their boss’ remarks.
Culver said she understands Bloomberg’s reluctance to step fully away from the company he created, but he might want to look at ways to completely disassociate himself with Bloomberg News at this time.
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