How Purdue Pharma’s owners tried to influence Bloomberg coverage
Hannah Dreier writes for ProPublica about how the Sackler family at Purdue Pharma tried to influence coverage at Bloomberg News through its friendship with company owner Michael Bloomberg.
Dreier writes, “Read then emailed Theresa Sackler, asking for the reporter’s name. Sackler responded by identifying David Armstrong, then a reporter on Bloomberg’s investigations team. ‘We REALLY don’t want to interfere in any journalist’s work,’ she wrote. ‘Just would not wish MB to be embarrassed by his association with the Serpentine Sackler gallery.’ Read followed up by emailing Armstrong (now a senior reporter at ProPublica), asking when the story was scheduled to appear.
“The piece was dropped from the magazine’s lineup a day before the issue closed and later ran in a shortened version on Bloomberg’s website and terminal. Editors who worked on the story say that it was handled on its journalistic merits, and that such last-minute changes were common.
“‘At no point during my tenure was Bloomberg Businessweek subjected to editorial interference of any kind, from anywhere, including Bloomberg LP or its philanthropy arm,’ Tyrangiel said. Any suggestion otherwise, he said, is ‘100% false. I’d remember if anyone had tried to interfere with or suppress this story, and I’d have enjoyed telling them to fuck off.’
“A spokesman for the news organization said that the Sacklers had no influence on the story and that Bloomberg himself was not involved, and was not contacted about it.”
Read more here.