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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Bloomberg Wimps out on Reporting Truth - Spikes Story on Red China Corruption

Never mind Bloomberg's fear of Chinese blocking them from operating in China. Why isn't anyone asking the question of Bloomberg and OTHER CONTROLLED MEDIA what other news are you self-censoring from the public? 

We'll bet our Don't Tread on Me T-shirt Bloomberg and the others block embarrassing items ROUTINELY for the US Government! This story strenuously underscores the utmost need for an unfiltered, freely publishing internet! The larger network cabal and printed media can foreclose on themselves beginning right now. Lies and censorship end right here and now. Stay off our grass, you're not wanted in our yard.

Bloomberg halts report as China clamps down on foreign media
November 10, 2013 8:48 pm
By Demetri Sevastopulo in Hong Kong

Bloomberg News has been accused of not publishing a report that alleges financial ties between China's richest man and the relatives of top Chinese Communist party officials because of fears that the government would prevent the media group from operating in the country.

An investigative team at the agency spent the past year probing links between the businessman and several current and former members of the Politburo Standing Committee – the body that ultimately rules China.

One person familiar with the circumstances said senior Bloomberg editors blocked the story at the 11th hour. The person said Matthew Winkler, editor-in-chief, told the reporters in a conference call on October 29 that Bloomberg could not risk jeopardising its position in China by running the story.

Bloomberg denied that the group, whose main business around the world is selling financial data, had spiked the story.

"The reporting as presented to me was not ready for publication. Laurie [Hays] and other top editors agreed," Mr Winkler told the Financial Times.

The person familiar with the discussions dismissed Bloomberg's comments that the story was not ready for publication, saying it had been approved and just needed a Chinese government response. "We had crossed the Rubicon," the person said. "The story was fully edited, fact checked and vetted by the lawyers."

Mr Winkler compared the situation with Nazi-era Germany where some media undertook self censorship to remain in the country, the person said. A Bloomberg spokesman did not challenge the veracity of the comment about Nazi-era Germany when asked by the Financial Times.

Reuters reporter denied China visa

Reuters over the weekend said the Chinese foreign ministry had rejected a visa application for Paul Mooney, a veteran China reporter who wrote widely about human rights in China while working for the South China Morning Post, writes Tom Braithwaite in New York.

The reporter has called on western governments to retaliate against Chinese media organisations.

Mr Mooney, whose request for a visa was turned down after an eight-month wait, said reporters from Xinhua, People's Daily and CCTV should be blocked from working in the US.

"Unless western and foreign governments stand up and have some kind of reciprocal policy, China is going to continue to do it," he said. "I believe there are more than 700 Chinese reporters in the US and they don't have to jump through the hoops that we have to and it's not fair."

"It's up to the US government, the British government to retaliate, to reciprocate," he said, naming Xinhua, People's Daily and CCTV as examples of large Chinese media organisations active overseas.

He said he disagreed with the comments attributed to Matt Winkler, editor-in-chief of Bloomberg News, that operating in China, like Nazi Germany, required some concessions to be able to stay in the country.

"I don't agree with that," he said. "If they do that, they win. These kind of intimidation tactics win. If everyone stands up and continues to report the reality are they going to close down The New York Times, The Financial Times and Bloomberg? I don't think so.

Mr Mooney's visa rejection was first reported by the New York Times.
The story focused on Wang Jianlin, the founder of Dalian Wanda, a real estate group, who recently paid $28.2m for Picasso's "Claude et Paloma". Forbes ranks Mr Wang as China's richest man with $14.1bn.

A spokesperson for Wanda declined to comment. The FT itself has seen no evidence to indicate links between Mr Wang and party officials.

Mr Wang got his start in Dalian, the northeastern city where Bo Xilai, the jailed former high-flying Chinese politician, served as mayor for a number of years. 

The other major Dalian property developer, Xu Ming, was detained in connection with the Bo scandal and was not seen until he appeared in court in August during the Bo trial.

Bloomberg's decision not to print the story comes as China becomes even more aggressive in clamping down on the foreign media. Bloomberg's website has been blocked since last year when it published an exposé on the wealth accumulated by relatives of Xi Jinping, China's president. It is also having trouble getting journalist visas for reporters.

Censors have also blocked access to the website of the New York Times, which published a similar story last year about then Premier Wen Jiabao. The paper has had difficulty obtaining some journalist visas since then.

In the conference call with four reporters and editors in Hong Kong who worked on the year-long investigation, Mr Winkler said the Communist party had made very clear that printing stories about the financial assets of its leaders was off-limits, the person familiar with the story said.

The person said that senior editors in the US had given strong support all along to Michael Forsythe and Shai Oster, the two reporters who led the large team chasing the story. But, in October, they suddenly changed their mind, and said the story was not fit for publication.

"They said they were putting it on the backburner, but it was blindingly clear that it was being killed," the person said.

On September 18, Laurie Hays, one of Bloomberg's top editors in New York, wrote an email to the reporters in Hong Kong, which said the latest version of the story was "almost there" and that once she and other editors, including managing editor Jonathan Kaufman, had taken a close read, they would review it with the company's lawyers.

Nine days later, Mr Kaufman emailed the reporters to say the story was "terrific". In the email, which was obtained by the FT, he wrote: "The story is terrific. I am in awe of the way you tracked down and deciphered the financial holdings and the players. It's a real revelation. Looking forward to pushing it up the line."

However, four weeks later, Ms Hays called the reporters in Hong Kong to tell them that the story was going to be put on the "backburner", according to the person familiar with the situation. The spokesman declined to comment on the emails, or say why Mr Winkler felt compelled to refer to self-censorship if editors had simply decided that the story was not yet ready for publication.

The dispute emerged in public on Friday after the pro-democracy Taiwan arm of a Hong Kong media group released an animated video that ridiculed Bloomberg and Mr Winkler for spiking the story

The spokesman also declined to say why Bloomberg had allowed the reporters to pursue the story for so long if they had harboured concerns about the potential impact on the company's ability to operate in China.

The person familiar with the dispute said the journalists on the conference call with Mr Winkler "appreciated his honesty" but disagreed that Bloomberg would be thrown out of China if the story was published.

The dispute emerged in public on Friday after the pro-democracy Taiwan arm of a Hong Kong media group released an animated video that ridiculed Bloomberg and Mr Winkler for spiking the story and the New York Times published a story on Saturday.