gavelBloomberg reporters were allowed to look at some of the subscriber data of Bloomberg terminal users. The disclosure, brought to light by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS), is staggering in its ethical implications. Reuters, another firm that sells terminals, said it would never do the same. Almost certainly, another Bloomberg News competitor, Dow Jones, which has a terminal delivered news service, has forbidden the practice, if it was ever contemplated as a way to handle reporting at all.

The incident should result in the dismissal of long-time Bloomberg editor-in-chief Matthew Winkler. In response to the scandal, he wrote, "Our reporters should not have access to any data considered proprietary. I am sorry they did. The error is inexcusable." That set of errors happened on his watch.

The Federal Reserve and Treasury Department are investigating the practice. It is entirely possible that Bloomberg reporters collected sensitive data illegally, which would undermine the reputation of Bloomberg reporters among its terminal customers and financial media consumers in general.

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Corporate Governance, Law, Media, Regulation Tagged: GS

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