Veteran reporter Michael Forsythe confirmed on Twitter that he has left Bloomberg News. Last week, the New York Post reported that Forsythe was fired for talking to the New York Times about a lengthy investigation into Chinese leaders. That story was killed because Bloomberg feared losing terminal sales in China.
If you are an influential user of a Bloomberg terminal—the $24,000-per-year glorified computers that the company sells to Wall Street trading firms, politicians, and banks—there's a chance the company's news division has a file on you that's chock full of personal information about your family, your predilections, and your 24-hour contact information. And it's accessible to all 2,400 journalists at Bloomberg News.
A high-ranking newsroom official for Bloomberg News was ordered last year to cut off reporters' access to information about how clients used the company's information terminals, according to a former Bloomberg reporter, but the spying continued anyway. The order followed complaints from JPMorgan Chase that Bloomberg reporters had used JPMorgan's terminal-use records to break stories about the "London Whale” trading debacle, which led to more than $6 billion in losses for the company.
We're hearing from inside Bloomberg News that the newswire is chopping up the Bloomberg Way, the cultish journalism guide assembled by tyrannical editor Matthew Winkler. Winkler believed in the manifesto so deeply he used it to raise his teenaged sons, and its rigid prescriptions became gospel. But what was once a rulebook has now reportedly been demoted to a set of guidelines. Said to be out is the proscription against the word "but" along with the 850-word cap on stories. Pressure to produce "Greet The Week" features (whatever those are) has abated. The changes, long anticipated, should come as no shock, but Matthews' closest underlings may be getting nervous over the continuing accumulation of power by Winkler's internal rival Norman Pearlstine. Said a tipster:
Yesterday the stock market destruction of United Airlines looked like just another case of bumbling by the Bloomberg news wire. That still appears to be very much correct, but new details tell a larger and more sinister story — a conspiracy of robots to nuke United Airlines by duping one or two humans into acting as pawns. The robot cabal involves aggressive, autonomous bots at Google, Tribune Company and on Wall Street which, despite extensive safeguards, turned swiftly against the wishes of their creators. The whole thing was triggered by some seemingly innocent Google searches and only God knows who it will kill next!
Journalists have long pitied those colleagues who suffer under the yoke of Michael Bloomberg henchman Matthew Winkler. A style guide put together by the wire service boss-a program to reeducate journalists by the cultish name of the 'Bloomberg Way'-forbids the use of but and pretty much any other word which might convey meaning and opinion. But Bloomberg News' battered reporters and editors do at least have one escape: defection from the wire service is punished by excommunication but it is notionally possible. Editor-in-chief Winkler's offspring don't have that option, however. An unwise publicist has allowed the notorious style nazi to give an interview to the Columbia Journalism Review. It's clear why he's allowed out in public so rarely: the famously shouty Winkler has not mellowed; and he reveals that he inflicted the Bloomberg Way on his two unfortunate sons.
The days of the "autopsy"—what former employees describe as "Maoist self-criticism" sessions in which reporters explained to a roomful of people what the fuck was so wrong with their article that it didn't get picked up for syndication—are over at Bloomberg News. Screamy bow-tied Bloomberg EIC Matt Winkler instituted the rule, and now, to mark the new regime of "chief content officer" and Time veteran Norman Pearlstine, it has been done away with. [Talking Biz]