MacCallum to Bloomberg Adviser: Why Did Bloomberg News Decide To Only Investigate Trump And Not Dems?

Martha MacCallum interviews Bloomberg opinion writer-cum-campaign advisor Tim O’Brien why Bloomberg instructed the news organization to only investigate President Trump and not his Democratic presidential primary opponents.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS: Things are moving right along, because we’re just 62 days now from the Iowa caucuses, if you can believe it.  And the battle of the billionaires, in some respect, has begun.  The Trump team announced today that because Bloomberg News is covering the Bloomberg and Trump campaigns differently, that this is going to be their policy.  Campaign manager Brad Parscale said since they have declared their bias openly, the Trump campaign will no longer credential representatives of Bloomberg News for rallies or other campaign events.  “We will determine whether to engage with individual reporters or answer inquiries from Bloomberg News on a case-by-case basis.”  That’s going to remain the policy of the Trump campaign until Bloomberg News rescinds that decision.  John Micklethwait, Bloomberg News editor-in-chief, responded with a statement of his own: “The accusation of bias couldn’t be further from the truth.  We have covered Donald Trump fairly and in an unbiased way since he became a candidate in 2015, and we will continue to do so despite the restrictions imposed by the Trump campaign.  So, here now, Tim O’Brien, senior advisor to Bloomberg 2020.  Tim, good to have you with us tonight.  Thank you for being here.  You were —
 
TIM O’BRIEN, BLOOMBERG CAMPAIGN ADVISOR: Thank you, Martha.
 
MACCALLUM: — on the opinion side at Bloomberg, and have now gone over to join the campaign, and you’ve worked on a lot of different news organizations over the years — New York Times, Wall Street Journal.  Do you think it was a mistake from Bloomberg News to issue that original statement, saying that they would not do any investigative reporting on Mike Bloomberg in the course of this — or the other Dems — but they would of the Trump campaign?
 
O’BRIEN: Well, you know, I think what’s interesting is that it only took about a week for Mike Bloomberg to get inside Donald Trump’s head.  You know, the president is already targeting Mike Bloomberg and targeting Mike Bloomberg’s background — because I think he recognizes that Mike Bloomberg is going to be a formidable threat. 
 
MACCALLUM: But hold on.  That’s not my question —
 
O’BRIEN: I think, in terms of how the —
 
MACCALLUM: I know you’re a good reporter, so you won’t mind if I hold you to —
 
O’BRIEN: No, I was about to address that.
 
MACCALLUM: — the question.  Okay.
 
O’BRIEN: I was about –
 
MACCALLUM: Do you think it was a mistake —
 
O’BRIEN: Yeah, yeah.
 
MACCALLUM: — for Bloomberg News to do that in the first place?
 
O’BRIEN: I think that Bloomberg News is in a very difficult position here, in terms of how to address this.  It’s a pretty unprecedented situation.  They had already had ongoing reporting of President Trump.  They needed to figure out how to cover the Democrats and Mike Bloomberg as well.  And Mike Bloomberg left that decision with the newsroom, and I think they’ll continue to sort that out.
 
MACCALLUM: But why not just say — and just one last question on this — why not just say, “Look, we’re a news organization.  We’re going to cover the whole story, and Mike Bloomberg would want us to.  He’s not worried about anything, and we’re going to dig around, and we’re going to see what we can find on all the candidates, including him and the Democrats.”  Wouldn’t that have been the right posture for a news organization?
 
O’BRIEN: In the same way that Fox has dug around on Rupert Murdoch over the years, or —
 
MACCALLUM: He’s not running for president.
 
O’BRIEN: — new —
 
MACCALLUM: No.  I’m saying —
 
O’BRIEN: Well, he’s been very —
 
MACCALLUM: — “We’re covering the campaign” — and if —
 
O’BRIEN: — involved in every presidential election —
 
MACCALLUM: — and I — my guess is that if we — if he were running for president, he would say, “You guys do your job, and I’m going to stay out of it.”  And it seems to me that that’s the —
 
O’BRIEN: But — well, and I think —
 
MACCALLUM: — right approach.
 
O’BRIEN: — though, that’s — those — that’s the directives that Mike Bloomberg left with the newsroom.  And he certainly — that’s what he left with the commentary section —
 
MACCALLUM: Yeah.
 
O’BRIEN: — as well.  And he left it up to those folks to decide.  So, I think, you know, to a certain extent, I think this is Trump trying to distract people from the real issue, which is that he knows that Mike Bloomberg is going to be a formidable threat to him in this campaign.  Mike Bloomberg is a problem-solver.  Mike Bloomberg wants to bring quality healthcare to a broad swath of Americans who are concerned about whether or not they can afford to get healthcare for themselves and their children.  He’s aware that manufacturing workers and farmers are struggling.  People want authentic national security, and they want an adult in the White House.