Bloomberg has a very simple conflict in China. Report stories that are critical of the government and get kicked out the country, or keep reports nice and mellow and sell terminals in a growing market.
For New York Times CEO Mark Thompson, though, that’s not a free pass and he implicitly slammed Bloomberg for it at the Financial Times Digital Media Conference in London yesterday, according to The Drum.
“The continued moral commitment and economic viability of journalists who do still hold to the original vision and are prepared to stand up to opponents of press freedom at home and abroad matters more than ever. The New York Times remains such an institution,” he said.
The Chinese government has come down on Bloomberg for stories on Communist Party elites before. Both it and the New York Times have faced an all-out ban in the country.
That’s what prompted Bloomberg Chairman Peter Grauer to say the following last week:
“We have to be there. We have about 50 journalists in the market, primarily writing stories about the local business and economic environment.
“You’re all aware that every once in a while we wander a little bit away from that and write stories that we probably may have kind of rethought — should have rethought.”
And it seemed like Bloomberg was rethinking those stories last year when Hong Kong-based reporter Michael Forsythe left the firm in a fight over negative stories he’d published about China’s elite.
The New York Times hired him shortly after. It was also NYT that sounded the alarm when China wanted to “effectively shut down the organisations’ China news bureaus.”
And back in December Vice President Biden warned China not to throw out American journalists, or it would face consequences. What those consequences would be, though, is unclear.
Here are more of Thompson’s comments, as reported by The Drum:
“Soon after the New York Times was bought in 1896, a set of principles were published. Famously, the vision was to give the news impartially without fear or favour, regardless of party, sect or interest involved.”In 2014, 118 years later, those principles, and even the right of a free, fearless press to exist are under attack from powerful foreign governments and those companies who put commercial interests ahead of journalism, and from our own government.
“The UK authorities’ intimidation of the Guardian over the Edward Snowden story and in the US the ongoing judicial hounding of the New York Times journalist James Risen stands as witness to that.”