CNBC to NYT reporter: How can you defend Bloomberg's coverage ban?

How does one defend the indefensible when it comes to media manipulation and news-coverage corruption? This gem pushed out by the Trump war room is notable not just for its content but also its source. The New York Times’ David McCabe got called out for his “but Trump” response to a discussion of Michael Bloomberg’s edict to Bloomberg News not to scrutinize his campaign of that of his Democratic rivals. The debate took place not on Fox News but on CNBC’s Squawk Box, where both hosts lay into McCabe for not having the intestinal fortitude to address the issue:

McCabe wants to talk about Orange Man Bad instead, much to Joe Kernan’s frustration:

MCCABE: I think more broadly, it’s really a part of a trend where the president and the administration have been willing to push back on news organizations and push back frankly on channels of information and brand them as biased. We’ve seen this with the social media platforms, as well. So I think the bigger picture here is less about one news organization than about how the president and his administration and his campaign brand either the world of media —

KERNAN: So, you can’t even comment on this act? You’re just back to just Trump hates all the press? You can’t find it in yourself to say maybe this isn’t such a great idea to not cover Bloomberg and Democrats, but to investigate Trump? You can’t even bring yourself to say that because you’re at The New York Times? Seriously?

MCCABE: Well, regardless of where I work, I think the bigger picture here is really [crosstalk] —

KERNAN: Oh, bigger picture! Oh, okay, never mind. I don’t expect you to say anything.

CO-HOST: How about the one example where the news organization is actually named after his competitor?

What makes this even more embarrassing is that Axios’ Sara Fischer nails the point just before the hosts bring McCabe into the conversation. The Bloomberg edict is not just a big problem for Bloomberg News’ credibility, it also demonstrates the danger of having media owners running for public office. It plays directly into the populist anger in both parties but especially among Democrats.

Fischer’s correct about the damage done to Bloomberg’s newsroom, though. The order essentially defenestrates any pretense of objectivity Bloomberg News has in election coverage, and that problem won’t go away when Michael Bloomberg’s candidacy inevitably runs aground, either. This damage won’t go away for years, possibly not until Bloomberg retires and surrenders any control over his organization.

Maybe it doesn’t occur to McCabe that this kind of editorial manipulation is one reason why Trump hates the press. Or that it’s one reason a lot of people these days hate the press. This is just the most obvious and egregious example of editorial bias and narrative-pushing yet seen, but it’s fooling fewer and fewer Americans. Perhaps McCabe’s experience on CNBC will provide that lesson to the NYT.