Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Michael Bloomberg’s obnoxious suppression of his own journalists would shame even Putin, proves Trump is right about fake news, and makes him unfit to be President

Piers Morgan

Thirty years ago this month, New York financial data tycoon Michael Bloomberg telephoned Wall Street Journal writer Matthew Winkler and asked: ‘What would it take to get into the news business?’

Knowing that Bloomberg had no experience in journalism, Winkler presented him with a hypothetical ethical dilemma:

‘You have just published a story that says the chairman of your biggest customer has taken $5 million from the corporate till,’ he said. ‘He is with his secretary at a Rio de Janeiro resort, and the secretary’s spurned boyfriend calls to tip you off. You get an independent verification that the story is true. Then the phone rings. The customer’s public-relations person says, “Kill the story or we will return all the terminals we currently rent from you.’”

Winkler then asked Bloomberg a simple question: ‘What would you do?”

Bloomberg didn’t hesitate. ‘Go with the story!’ he replied.

Winkler later cited this as the ‘deciding moment’ he chose to help Bloomberg build a news organization.

It was an inspired decision. Bloomberg News is now one of the biggest and most powerful news agencies on the planet.

It boasts 2,300 journalists in 72 countries and 146 bureaus worldwide and has developed a reputation for important impartial journalism.

In the past four years, it has intensively reported on, and aggressively investigated, first Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and now his presidency – the vast majority of its Trump coverage being negative.

Like many US mainstream media organizations, Bloomberg News quickly realized that relentless Trump-bashing is a big money-spinner.

But behind this clear editorial strategy lies an intriguing personal back-story. Until Trump ran for president in 2015, he and Michael Bloomberg were good friends.

The two most famous billionaires in New York played golf together, frequently rubbed shoulders on the same elite Manhattan social scene, and worked professionally on common projects – most notably when Trump delivered a luxury golf course on a discarded municipal waste site in the Bronx, enabling Bloomberg to take credit for it just before he left office as New York mayor.

‘If there is anybody who has changed this city, it is Donald Trump,’ said Mayor Bloomberg, delightedly. ‘He has done an amazing thing and this is another part of it!’

Then Trump announced he was running for the White House, and Bloomberg very quickly turned against his friend – enraged by his views on everything from guns to climate change, and what he saw as Trump’s ‘offensive’ lack of civility.

He later described Trump’s run as ‘the most divisive and demagogic presidential campaign I can remember, preying on people’s prejudices and fears.’

Trump, predictably, responded in kind, tweeting: ‘Little Michael Bloomberg, who never had the guts to run for president, knows nothing about me. His last term as Mayor was a disaster!’

At the heart of their relationship lies billionaire ego.

As their mutual friend, Republican congressman Peter King, told the New York Times: ‘One New York billionaire thinks he is better than another New York billionaire. I can see Mike resenting the fact he is not getting the recognition Donald Trump gets. Each guy thinks he is smarter than the other.’

I met them both together when I was a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice in 2008 and Bloomberg turned up with Trump in midtown Manhattan to assess my hotdog selling skills.

The swaggering rivalry between them, albeit cordial at the time, was palpable. In a city of big dogs, pun intended, these were arguably the two biggest, though Bloomberg is substantially richer than Trump.

Now, if Bloomberg wins the Democrat nomination – and it’s a very big ‘if’ - they may be pitted against each other in the 2020 Election.

In announcing his decision to enter the race, Bloomberg said: ‘I’m running for president to defeat Donald Trump and rebuild America. We cannot afford four more years of President Trump’s reckless and unethical actions. He represents an existential threat to our country and our values. If he wins another term, we may never recover from the damage.’

Bloomberg is thus positioning himself as the ‘good billionaire’ on a mission to save America from the bad billionaire.

Yet, just how good IS he?

For example, Bloomberg has a history of making unsavory comments denigrating women. A 1990 booklet of quotations attributed to him included this observation: ‘If women wanted to be appreciated for their brains, they’d go to the library instead of Bloomingdale’s.’

And a suggestion, during a pitch to sell Bloomberg terminals, that his computers could ‘do anything’ including the ability to perform oral sex on the user, which, he said, would ‘put…a lot of you girls out of business.’

At a Christmas party in 2012, he pointed to a woman in a tight dress and said, ‘look at the ass on her.’

He was also reported to have said in a 1998 deposition, taken during a case where a saleswoman accused a Bloomberg manager of raping her, that he would only believe a rape claim if there was an ‘unimpeachable third-party witness.’

And he was accused by a Bloomberg female employee of saying ‘kill it’ when she told him she was pregnant, a claim he denied.

Bloomberg has also been accused of racism. He recently issued a grovelling apology for his controversial ‘stop-and-search’ policy as New York Mayor that a federal judge determined in 2013 violated the constitutional rights of racial minorities.

He operated a very contentious policy of surveillance of Muslim Americans, a dictatorial crackdown of Occupy Wall Street protestors, and he presided over a huge spike in homelessness, sparked by massively increased income inequality and lack of affordable housing. So Bloomberg’s critics, led by Trump, will have plenty of ammunition against the self-styled savior.

And that’s before we get to the fact that he’s changed his party allegiance when it’s suited him, switching from Democrat to Republican to Independent.

But it’s what Bloomberg did yesterday that should give most serious cause for concern.

In this era of ‘FAKE NEWS!’, and hyper-partisan media coverage, many were curious to see how Bloomberg News would handle the confirmation that their owner was running for president.

The answer is absolutely atrociously. In an astonishing email to staff, Bloomberg Editor-in-Chief John Mickelthwait, revealed the news agency won’t ‘investigate’ Bloomberg, or any of his Democratic rivals. But it WILL continue to obsessively investigate President Trump.

‘We will continue our tradition of not investigating Mike (and his family and foundation),’ said Mickelthwait, ‘and we will extend the same policy to his rivals in the Democratic primaries. We cannot treat Mike’s democratic competitors differently to him.’

Yet they will treat President Trump differently. He alone will be exposed to the full investigative scrutiny of Bloomberg’s 2,700 journalists.

I had to read this memo several times to ensure I hadn’t misunderstood it. I hadn’t.

Bloomberg News is also suspending its opinion section’s editorial board, because most of them are joining his campaign!

It’s hard to imagine a more egregious abuse of a major news organization owner’s power than for the owner to ban his own journalists from investigating him as he runs for president but continues to dig dirt on his opponent.

As former Bloomberg Businessweek editor and Washington bureau chief Megan Murphy said on Twitter: ‘It is truly staggering that *any* editor would put their name on a memo that bars an army of unbelievably talented reporters and editors from covering massive, crucial aspects of one of the defining aspects of our time.’

She added: ‘I was presented with a near identical “memo” during his 2016 flirtation and I was very clear that I would quit the second it ever saw the light of day.’

Murphy also cited comparisons to Amazon chief Jeff Bezos who owns the Washington Post. ‘Can you imagine if Bezos decided to run, the Washington Post telling reporters it a) wouldn’t do hard reporting on Bezos and b) wouldn’t do hard reporting on any other candidates either. It’s absolutely unimaginable (thank god).'

Exactly. It’s an absolute disgrace that Michael Bloomberg’s very first act as presidential candidate is to order a blanket ban on ANY investigative reporting on him or any Democrat candidate. It’s even more of a disgrace that he’s ordered his journalists to ONLY carry on digging for dirt on President Trump.

Ironically, this is just the kind of extreme media bias that Trump has persistently ranted about since winning the White House, and will creature a ‘fake’ picture of news in this 2020 campaign.

Bloomberg’s shameful self-protective censorship is also the exact opposite of the pledge he made to Matthew Winkler when he persuaded him to launch Bloomberg News.

It means that if Bloomberg journalists discover their boss has taken $5m from the corporate till and is with his secretary at a Rio de Janeiro resort, the response from Bloomberg to their request to publish it will be: ‘DON’T go with the story!’

Michael Bloomberg’s been very vocal about the need to stop Vladimir Putin interfering with US elections, yet here is the same Michael Bloomberg pulling a disgustingly cynical stunt to suppress journalism that even Putin might hesitate to pull, and that frankly should disqualify him from becoming President.

Bloomberg News just ceased to be a news organization and became a dictator’s puppet. Shame on him for doing this, and shame on any of his journalists who accept it.



H.R. 3: The "No New Cures Ever" Act

In the coming weeks, Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) priority drug pricing bill, H.R. 3, is expected to come up for a vote in the House of Representatives. Make no mistake -- this is a socialist piece of legislation. Unfortunately, with the way the Democratic Party is trending and its major candidates for the presidency in 2020 endorsing increasingly big-government policies, H.R. 3 is almost guaranteed to pass the chamber.

For example, Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) recently-released plan for Medicare for All includes price controls based on those in H.R. 3, by creating a maximum price based on prices in foreign countries, and, in turn, bringing the inefficiencies of those foreign countries’ healthcare systems to the United States.

While it is dubbed the “Lower Drug Costs Now" Act, H.R. 3 would be more aptly named the “No New Cures Ever" Act. By imposing government-mandated price controls in the drug marketplace, companies that invest in creating life-saving drugs would be largely unable to make any type of profit required to continue such investment.

The bill is so extreme in its socialistic price controls that even proponents of single-payer healthcare recognize the disastrous effects that policies like those in H.R. 3 would have on our healthcare system. In an interview about Sen. Warren’s plan, Emory University’s health expert Kenneth Thorpe said that such drug pricing policies “would be the end of any type of research and development and innovation in this country.”

This would be tragic for patients in America. Studies have shown that if lung cancer patients in the United States had the same level of access to treatment as patients in the defined reference nations for pricing, the survival rate in the U.S. would be significantly lower than it is now. It is foolish to think that we can seek to copy the prices of other nations and not take on any of the risks or downfalls associated with them.

As Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, put it so well, “The government price controls that she is proposing will make drugs scarce, limiting Americans’ access to the medicine they need. But the most alarming effect of Speaker Pelosi’s legislation is that it will destroy the incentives that make America the center of drug innovation for the world. By destroying the incentives for future investment in research and development, Speaker Pelosi’s plan will slow down the search for future cures.”

Interestingly enough, he is in full agreement with House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), who said of Pelosi’s proposal, “Her latest socialist plan wouldn’t help lower the cost of prescription drugs and would hurt patients in the process.”

It isn’t often that the House Freedom Caucus and Republican leadership are as fully in agreement on something as they are on the harmful effects of H.R. 3, and certainly, these two almost never agree together with somebody who actually supports single-payer healthcare like Thorpe.

The warning signs are aplenty. When H.R. 3 hits the floor, members must not forget that they represent the American people, who only stand to be severely harmed by this latest socialist scheme.



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1 comment:

C. S. P. Schofield said...

Bloomberg is disqualified to be President on so many counts. What's one more?