Much of the major media in the US is privately owned, by individuals, families, or corporations. These media love to insist that they have complete editorial freedom and that the owners do not exert any pressure on them as to what to write about and how. That is of course rubbish. In cases like Fox News, the owner’s wishes are explicit and manifestly followed. But in less overtly propagandistic outlets, editorial control by the owners is exercised more subtly. The editors are selected because their views conform to those of the owners, and that process filters all the way down the line.
But on some occasions, if the issue is important enough to the owner, even that thin mask of editorial independence is ripped away and the owner gives direct orders as to what the editorial line should be. We see that with billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s entry into the presidential race. He is the owner of Bloomberg News and he has made it very clear that his outlet should not criticize him. In an effort to retain a shred of credibility as a news organization, the editor says that they will also refrain from investigating other Democratic presidential candidates.
Bloomberg News is full of talented, meticulous and fair-minded reporters who abhor the decision their bosses made. Mike Bloomberg made clear he wouldn't tolerate critical coverage from his own outlet, so the only choice was quit or execute his wishes.
— Jonathan Swan (@jonathanvswan) December 2, 2019
I feel sorry for the reporters at Bloomberg News. It is easy for outsiders to say that they should quit. I am sure that many are looking for other jobs where the control is less overt but the job market in media is tight.