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.
Bloomberg LP is an incredibly successful media company. It is famous for tight security, tyrannical, controlling editors, plush offices which act like a luxurious cage to ensure that employees never leave the building. It's a place built to engender paranoia. That's probably why employees feel the need to write their tips to us on company stationery, and mail them to us.
Matthew Winkler was down under last week, and on top of the world. The Bloomberg co-founder interviewed the Aussie prime minister, and gushed in a laudatory Australian profile that "it's really an extraordinary time to be around, to be alive, to be a journalist — to be at Bloomberg News.'' One of his reporters very much disagreed. (Or not — see her statement in the update below.)
We've all heard the horror stories about uber-strict, bow tie-wearing Bloomberg News editor in chief Matthew Winkler instilling fear in his reporters over their use of the words "but" and "announce", or screaming at them for making mistakes, as he did in the infamous "The enemy is the human!" incident.
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!
We heard fourth-hand that Matthew Winkler, the bow-tied tyrant who leads Bloomberg News' editorial side, announced internally this morning that he is "stepping away from day-to-day management of the news operations." Another source said he's not stepping away—"it's more like he's spreading the wealth around a little bit." This would probably be a planned evolution of management rather than a result of the newswire's recent monumental fuckups, but employees would be happy for less of Winkler either way. Any Bloomberg people who can provide some info on this, please email us ASAP. UPDATE: Talking Biz News has the fuzzy, but possibly horrifying details of Winkler's move:
Wow, those scoop artists at Bloomberg are really on a roll! First they got the exclusive on Apple CEO Steve Jobs's obituary. Sure, Jobs wasn't actually dead, but the report generated all sorts of interesting attention and buzz. Now the financial wire's editors have become the first in the world to report that John McCain's running mate Sarah Palin was arrested 22 years ago on a drunken-driving charge. Bloomberg arrived at this conclusion after misreading the Times, which reported that Palin's husband was arrested 22 years ago on a drunk-driving charge. Compounding the mistake, a tipster told us, is that the error was silently fixed, with no correction issued — "a verboten act under the Bloomberg way." Perhaps the DC bureau, headed by old Wall Street Journal hand Al Hunt, conspired to guard against anyone's summary dismissal from the unforgiving high-pressure news organization. Click the thumbnail to see Bloomberg's original mistake.
Bloomberg News' rather embarrassing faux pas—posting Apple chief Steve Jobs' obituary before he's actually dead—has now been chuckled at by just about everyone. It's not the sort of publicity that Bloomberg's bow-tied editorial boss Matthew Winkler, a notorious tyrant, wanker, and stickler for detail, is fond of. This is a man who threw a legendary tantrum (listen to it here!) while firing a reporter for making a far less egregious error. So the immediate reaction among those familiar with him to news of the Jobs obit was, "Heads will roll." Our question: whose heads? Email us if you have any information on the fallout. Though we personally encourage restraint and forgiveness.
We really really want this: a video from the roadshow for Bloomberg's Plan B, a much-needed revamping of the financial news service. Writes a tipster: "They had a typically condescending presentation in NY, with actors wearing fish-heads interviewing Matt Winkler and other psychopaths." If you have a clip, email please!
Bloomberg News has failed to win an award, and that is obvious proof of fraud! So goes the logic of Bloomberg boss Matthew Winkler, the bow-tied tyrant and enemy of humans. Bloomberg ran an epic investigative piece on the insurance industry that generated both acclaim and a lot of pushback. The industry said the piece was full of errors; an investigation found no errors; the Deadline Club of New York eventually named the story as a finalist for several awards, but it didn't win any. Right that second, Matthew Winkler's bow tie perked up. He knows a setup when he sees it!:
Lex Fenwick, purple-suited CEO-in-name-only of Bloomberg, did once put his finger on the greatest threat to the financial information service: "ourselves," he told Fortune, referring to the company's potentially complacent management. Behind the superficially charming self-deprecation, Fenwick hit upon a truth. For a highly profitable company founded by a supposed paragon of competence, Bloomberg is an astonishingly unhappy place run by bad-tempered cronies of the New York mayor. We wouldn't normally run the ravings of a disgruntled former employee. But Jerel Smith's farewell email captures some of the data terminal company's poisonous atmosphere; and his parting words for "loud mouth family size bag o'douche" Fenwick are particularly unfettered.