Firestorm over report Bloomberg News kowtowed to CCP, allegedly tried to ‘silence’ wife of fired reporter

Screengrab CBS

Bloomberg News is in the spotlight this week after a report from NPR that the news organization killed a 2013 investigation into the wealth of Communist Party elites in China and fired one of the reporters involved in the story.

Even more compelling, Bloomberg tried to silence the wife of the fired journalist with a nondisclosure.

This coming after it was revealed during billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s ill-fated presidential bid that his company often used nondisclosure agreements “to conceal allegations and silence complaints from employees of sexual harassment or a hostile work environment,” NPR reported.

More from NPR:

Six years ago, Bloomberg News killed an investigation into the wealth of Communist Party elites in China, fearful of repercussions by the Chinese government.The company successfully silenced the reporters involved. And it sought to keep the spouse of one of the reporters quiet, too.

“They assumed that because I was the wife of their employee, I was the wife,” the author and journalist Leta Hong Fincher tells NPR. “I was just an appendage of their employee. I was not a human being.”

Fincher is married to the journalist Mike Forsythe, a former Beijing correspondent for Bloomberg News who now works at The New York Times.

 

After the initial article was published, the Chinese ambassador warned Bloomberg executives not to pursue the story. The next chapter was reportedly included a focus on the family of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

NPR obtained audio of a conference call from Bloomberg’s founding editor-in-chief, Matthew Winkler, to senior news executives in New York and the investigative team.

“It is for sure going to, you know, invite the Communist Party to, you know, completely shut us down and kick us out of the country,” Winkler said. “So, I just don’t see that as a story that is justified.”

“The inference is going to be interpreted by the government there as we are judging them,” Winkler would add. “And they will probably kick us out of the country. They’ll probably shut us down, is my guess.”

Readers are informed that Bloomberg was vocal about his aspirations for growth in China.

Bloomberg News suspended Forsythe in late 2013, after accusing the journalist of leaking information. He would then be fired and signed an NDA on his way out, but his wife did not.

“There was no reason why I should have to sign a nondisclosure agreement… because I didn’t possess any damaging material about the company,” she told NPR.

Perhaps, the most succinct summary of the troubling story was offered by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., to include a twist on the November election.

Taking to Twitter, the lawmaker shared an uncomfortable truth about China — that being that both Democrats and Republicans kowtowed to China.

…until Donald Trump was elected president.

“The Democrats (by virtue of their donors) are the Pro-Communist China Party. The Republicans used to be Pro-China too,” Gaetz tweeted. “@realDonaldTrump saved our country and my party by confronting China for the first time in generation.”

“Biden/Booomberg won’t,” he added.

The online reaction to the story suggests media sources that can be trusted to honor journalistic integrity are far and few between.

Here’s a quick sampling of responses from Twitter:

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