Report: Bloomberg News Spikes Stories That Could Anger China

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Nov. 9 2013 12:08 PM

Report: Bloomberg News Spikes Stories That Could Anger China

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Brazilian journalist Mauri König, (left) accepts the International Press Freedom Award from Matthew Winkler (r), editor-in-chief of Bloomberg News, at the Committee to Protect Journalists' International Freedom Awards Dinner on November 20, 2012 in New York City

Photo by Michael Nagle/Getty Images for Committee to Protect Journalists

Bloomberg News editors are telling reporters that cover Chinese news that they have to tread carefully, and are reportedly spiking stories deemed too sensitive out of fear that Beijing will make it impossible for the company to continue operating in the world’s second-largest economy, reports the New York Times. In a conference call last month, longtime Bloomberg editor Matthew Winkler reportedly compared the decision to kill sensitive stories that could anger Beijing to the self-censorship foreign reporters had to deal with when they reported inside Nazi-era Germany. Winkler denies the stories in question were nixed. “The stories are active and not spiked,” he said in an e-mail.

Reporters, however, say that Winkler has made it clear that the company wants to be less aggressive in covering China after the news organization angered the government last year by publishing articles that detailed the personal wealth of Chinese leaders. “Bloomberg’s operations in China have suffered since,” reports the Times, as new journalists have been denied residency and sales of its financial terminals to state enterprises have slowed.”

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Now a system has been put in place that allegedly lets editors add a code to some pieces to make sure they don’t appear in terminals in China, according to Bloomberg employees who spoke to the Times.

The story of potential self-censorship at Bloomberg was not a Times scoop. In fact, Next Media Animation, which is critical of the Chinese Communist Party, released an online video Friday making fun of the company for the alleged self-censorship.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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