Bloomberg in China: veteran editor Ben Richardson quits over handling of investigative story

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Ben Richardson, an editor at large with Bloomberg News in Asia is calling it quits after 13 years in protest over the company's handling of an investigative report in China late last year.

Richardson is the third reporter or editor to leave the organization since many news organizations reported last November that Bloomberg had decided not to publish an investigative article that explored financial ties between one of the richest men in China and the families of the top Chinese leaders.

The story in question was supposedly an in-depth report at the finances, government ties and influence of Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin, who is the head honcho of the Dalian Wanda Commercial Property and now owns the American AMC movie theatre chain.

According to an email sent by Richardson: Clearly, there needs to be a robust debate about how the media engages with China. That debate isn't happening at Bloomberg. Clark Hoyt supposedly reviewed the story and declared that it wasn't ready for publication. But, to my knowledge, he didn't ring or contact any of the team who worked on the story to discuss it. We don't even know which version of the story he reviewed. Certainly the final version that I saw had been gutted and narrowed down so much that it could be dismissed as a story about "a bankrupt theatre chain". The reporters who worked on the story for months didn't get to review the copy before it was unilaterally spiked on a conference call with a ludicrous amount of top brass.

Bloomberg appears content with completely selling out just to sell its damn financial terminals in China. Maybe Bloomberg should just go the whole hog and partner with Xinhua.

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