Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Former NYC Mayor and democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg opens a local campaign field office in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on December 21, 2019. (Photo: Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Despite Vow Not to Probe Billionaire Owner's 2020 Rivals, Bloomberg News Runs 'Ridiculous Hit Piece' on Warren and Sanders

"Hit pieces on progressive candidates become questionable when run by a news outlet owned by one of their rivals. This as much as anything shows why Bloomberg must sell Bloomberg News."

Jake Johnson

Bloomberg News on Monday was accused of violating its month-old vow not to investigate billionaire owner Michael Bloomberg or his 2020 Democratic presidential rivals after the outlet published an article criticizing Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren for buying office supplies from Amazon—the retail behemoth both have criticized for low wages and poor working conditions.

The story, headlined "Sanders, Warren Campaigns Spend the Most on Amazon While Trashing It," was denounced as an absurd attack on two of the most vocal opponents of Bloomberg's candidacy.

"Less than a month after Bloomberg said a conflict of interest meant it wouldn't investigate 2020 Dem candidates, Bloomberg publishes a ridiculous hit piece on Mike Bloomberg's biggest critics in the race."
—David Sirota, Sanders speechwriter

"Less than a month after Bloomberg said a conflict of interest meant it wouldn't investigate 2020 Dem candidates, Bloomberg publishes a ridiculous hit piece on Mike Bloomberg's biggest critics in the race (and yes, the story is utterly ridiculous)," David Sirota, a speechwriter for the Sanders campaign, tweeted Monday.

Sirota was referring to Bloomberg News' pledge last month to not investigate Bloomberg or his 2020 Democratic primary opponents now that the former New York mayor is vying for the presidency.

"We will continue our tradition of not investigating Mike (and his family and foundation) and we will extend the same policy to his rivals in the Democratic primaries," John Micklethwait, Bloomberg's editor-in-chief, wrote in a memo to newsroom staffers on Nov. 24, the day Bloomberg announced his candidacy. "We cannot treat Mike's Democratic competitors differently from him."

Critics said Bloomberg's story on Monday was a flagrant violation of the outlet's vow to remain neutral in the primary process.

"Hit pieces on progressive candidates become questionable when run by a news outlet owned by one of their rivals," tweeted David Dayen, executive editor at The American Prospect. "This as much as anything shows why Bloomberg must sell Bloomberg News, the inability to do so is debilitating to democracy and a free press."

The article highlights critiques Sanders and Warren have leveled against Amazon, such as its avoidance of federal taxes, and weighs them against the amount of money their campaigns have spent on the company's website.

"So it may surprise voters to learn that the eight leading Democratic candidates and Trump have spent almost $600,000 on Amazon in the first nine months of 2019, mostly for office supplies, according to federal campaign records," wrote Bloomberg reporter Spencer Soper. "The stridency of the anti-Amazon rhetoric tends to correlate with the size of the outlay on its website."

The story was immediately and widely mocked on Twitter:

Zephyr Teachout, a law professor at Fordham University and critic of corporate monopolies, tweeted that Bloomberg's article is "a non-story about two amazing candidates using an essential tool of modern society, notably the only two candidates who have hammered home the point that its very centrality requires it to be broken up and regulated."

"Amazon has too much power," said Teachout.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

South Dakota Voters Sue Over Right-Wing Attack on Ballot Measures

The GOP effort in the state, said one opponent, "is the latest example of the orchestrated and ongoing attack from bad actors across the country on our democratic institutions."

Kenny Stancil ·


Eric Trump Invoked 5th Amendment 500 Times During 6-Hour Deposition

Longtime Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg refused a similar number of questions, citing his right to not self-incriminate.

Jake Johnson ·


Vaccine Apartheid Means Pandemic 'Nowhere Near Over': WHO Chief

"With the incredible growth of Omicron globally, new variants are likely to emerge," warned WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Jake Johnson ·


Senate Dems Propose Talking Filibuster for Voting Rights

"If Senate Democrats can find the political courage this moment requires, they have the tools right now to pass voting rights legislation and save our democracy."

Jessica Corbett ·


94% of AZ Progressives Support Primary Challenge if Sinema Kills Voting Rights

"Sinema can betray Arizonans, but there aren't enough pharma lobbyists in the world to keep her in office if she does."

Brett Wilkins ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo