Bloomberg Covers Up Mess They Made
Bloomberg Covers Up Mess They Made
No one knew the name Leif Olson at the Department of Labor until Bloomberg reporter Benjamin Penn decided to publish a hit job on him. Now Bloomberg would like everyone to forget what happened.
If you missed it, Leif Olson had been on the job for 18 days when Benjamin Penn decided to publish a story on alleged “anti-Semitic” remarks Olson had made on Facebook. Within hours, Olson had “resigned” from the DOL. But when people actually interested in the truth (i.e., not Penn or Bloomberg) went looking at said post, people on both sides of the aisle were telling Penn that he had screwed up. The left-leaning were a little kinder, patting Penn on the head and telling him he’d made a boo-boo. The right-leaning were not kind, suggesting that there should be some libel repercussions.
The tipping point may have been when the Anti-Defamation League, after a knee-jerk reaction, actually looked at Olson’s Facebook post and said, “yeah, that actually seems to be rather sarcastic.” By Wednesday afternoon (a mere 24 to 30 hours after the initial story had broken), the Daily Caller was reporting that Leif Olson would be getting his job back. Penn’s Twitter account has been dead silent about this. After proudly declaring that they “stand by our reporting,” Bloomberg quietly edited the Penn story.
— Jerry Dunleavy (@JerryDunleavy) September 5, 2019
And then an editor – not Benjamin Penn – wrote a follow-up piece saying Olson was being reinstated that the DOL late on Wednesday night.
You would think an apology would be in order. A rather large and public one, maybe, to avoid a potential libel lawsuit? Nope! Bloomberg would like us all to forget that this ever happened, and to that point, told its employees to not tweet out the update.
In an internal email, a Bloomberg Law editor asked staffers not to tweet a story about Leif Olson: https://t.co/Wh9lU5kCwd
— ErikWemple (@ErikWemple) September 6, 2019
Yes, that would be the Washington Post calling out Bloomberg for trying to sweep their mess under the rug while trying to make sure no one sees them.
Now look at how an editor at Bloomberg Law instructed staffers to handle an upcoming story on a Labor Department appointee:
You may have heard that Leif Olson, the subject of our story yesterday, will rejoin the Labor Department. The agency announced it this morning, and we are about the post a story on it.”
Please do not tweet out the story or about the story (or use any other social media to post anything). And really, please do not tweet even generally about Leif Olson coming back to the department, or engage with anyone on social media about it. That is only likely to invite more twitter-rage.”
Translation: If we don’t say anything more, maybe this will all go away.
What the actual hell. Benjamin Penn, with the full backing and blessing of Bloomberg Law, tried to ruin a man’s career and life by smearing him as an anti-Semite. And now Penn gets to hide in the social media shadows, while the Bloomberg organization quietly tries to not draw attention to the giant pile of stinking crap they were shoving under the carpet? No official retraction or apology for the hell that they just put an innocent man – someone who was NOT a public figure – through? Just a quiet “make sure they don’t see us” as they (hopefully) hand Penn a book on Java or Python.
Bloomberg’s reaction to their reporter’s failure screams guilt. If lawyers aren’t lining up to represent Leif Olson in a very juicy libel case, I would be shocked.