In a fit of journalistic ethics, Bloomberg Media’s Washington news director at Bloomberg Politics, Kathy Kiely, has tendered her resignation. The storied editor said she simply could not maintain her ethics while covering the Big Boss and his potential run for President. Kiely said if she could not cover a POTUS candidate “aggressively” she could not do her job. Bravo, Kathy.
Here’s what Kiely had to say, in an interview with CNN: “I was not comfortable with how we were reacting to this story and I didn’t see any indication that the situation was going to improve soon. I think that every candidate should be covered the same way.”
The resignation is the first since the major media mogul announced he may be considering a run for the White House. First reported by the New York Times, Bloomberg Politics got the story and reposted it along with a short report more or less confirming the story. Kiely sent in her letter of resignation the next day.
The editor said she “agonized” about the decision. That she loved her colleagues and was proud of what she and her team had built. But, as a lifelong political journalist, she felt she could not do her job under the current circumstances.
It’s an interesting situation. All media is supposed to be unbiased, but every network necessarily takes on the nature and attitudes of its owner. It’s practically unavoidable. Like hires like who then fills teams with others of a similar mindset. It’s so common it’s become cliché, expected. But this situation takes that dynamic to another level. It’s one thing to have an understood bias, but when you are running for the highest office in the land can the people who depend on you for a paycheck really remain nonpartisan? Not hardly.
Which is what makes this a very interesting public relations scenario. While news consumers tend to pick the brand that best aligns with their politics, what will they do or say when it’s not politics but the owner of the company whose employees are writing about him? That’s much more than the perception of bias – which consumers are okay with overall – it’s the unavoidable reality of bias – which most consumers say they just can’t abide.
So, where does this decision leave Kiely’s colleagues? How can they hold their heads up and pretend no bias when their boss and coworker has clearly drawn so deep a line in the sand?