It’s a bit silly, though, to blame Bloomberg because its terminals carried erroneous information from a third party. That would be sort of (but not quite) like blaming Google and YouTube for this guy. A Bloomberg is an information conduit; it offers a variety of sources, and that is part of its strength. Dow Jones here is merely criticizing Bloomberg for offering more information, which should give you an idea why DJ had so much trouble with Bloomberg over the years. (Background available here:)

The more things you offer, the more mistakes you make. Put another way, and as every bad editor knows: if you don’t do anything, you’ll never screw up.

Still, though (and unlike YouTube), Bloomberg LP isn’t entirely blameless since it performs a journalistic function by controlling who is and isn’t allowed to post on its terminal. Thus it is ultimately responsible for any bad information that makes it on there.

There were a litany of breakdowns in the new media newsgathering process with the UAL story, but the role of the powerful Bloomberg terminal in amplifying the bad information should at least be considered. It’s not to say the model is flawed, but, again, without the terminal, nothing much happens here. Something to think about in these nervous times.

Also notable was the fine performance of Bloomberg’s news staff, which provided its readers better information, quicker than others, and helped correct the record.

Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at