Billionaire former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg’s entrance into the 2020 presidential primaries brought the ire of NowThis News, which published an article citing one of Bloomberg’s past public statements on the controversial “stop-and-frisk” policing policies he encouraged while serving as mayor.
NowThis News avoided injecting opposition research into its article until it published an article about Bloomberg’s past, headlined, “In 2015 Speech, Bloomberg Defended Racial Profiling And Stop-And-Frisk.” The piece criticized Bloomberg for supporting stop-and-frisk policing policies as late as 2015.
Opposition research is the practice of publishing negative information about political opponents, such as Fusion GPS’s opposition research on then-candidate Donald Trump in 2016 and its findings of possible Russian involvement in Trump’s 2016 campaign.
A progressive activist named Benjamin Dixon tweeted an audio recording of Bloomberg’s 2015 speech, in which Bloomberg said that the policy prevented crime in New York City. Bloomberg told the audience, “Ninety-five percent of your murders — murderers and murder victims fit one M.O. You can just take the description, Xerox it and pass it out to all the cops. They are male minorities 15 to 25.” Adding to that statement, Bloomberg said that he supports placing police officers “where the crime is, which means in minority neighborhoods” and that the stop-and-frisk policy was “the way you get the guns out of the kids’ hands is to throw them up against the walls and frisk them.”
NowThis included Bloomberg’s apology, which said, “I should’ve done it faster and sooner. I regret that and I have apologized—and I have taken responsibility for taking too long to understand the impact it had on black and Latino communities.”
Although NowThis News also published Bloomberg’s apology, the article demonstrated the website’s bias against Bloomberg. It has not published opposition research-based articles on the other Democratic Party presidential candidates, such as Sens. Bernie Sanders (Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
For example, it did not publish any of Sanders’s past statements about Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, in which Sanders praised the Cuban communist regime.
NowThis News should publish opposition research on the other primary candidates in the field to provide fair coverage of all candidates.