Last week, the New York Times and the Financial Times reported that Bloomberg News killed stories about the financial ties between Chinese business leaders and the Chinese government. According to several sources within the company, editor-in-chief Matthew Winkler was concerned that publishing the pieces would result in Bloomberg LP “kicked out” of the country. Though Winkler denied the claims, the sources who spoke to the New York Times said that he had compared decision to spike the pieces to “the self-censorship by foreign news bureaus trying to preserve their ability to report inside Nazi-era Germany.” They also suggested that the financial services arm of parent company Bloomberg LP, which makes a lot of money selling its financial data terminals to Chinese companies, had been spooked by government’s unhappy reaction to a 2012 series of similar investigative pieces that ran in 2012.
Yesterday, the New York Post reported that one of the authors of the canceled reports, award-winning journalist Michael Forsythe, had been placed on leave, presumably for being one of the people who spoke to the Times about the situation. Today, the New York Times’ sources confirmed that Forsythe was at least temporarily out of a job: “On Wednesday, Mr. Forsythe, who joined Bloomberg in 2000, was asked to go to the floor with the human resources offices, and did not return to the newsroom, employees said.” Neither Bloomberg’s spokespeople nor Forsythe were willing to comment about this when reached by reporters today, but this probably isn’t the last we’ll hear of this.