Hoyt was named a Bloomberg’s independent editor last fall in the wake of an internal investigation into whether Bloomberg reporters were too aggressive in using information from Bloomberg’s system in reporting on Bloomberg’s customers, in this case, Wall Street banks. The haste and thoroughness with which Bloomberg tamped down a threat from the newsroom to its business model looks quite a bit different, and somewhat less laudatory, in light of recent events.

Hoyt declined to comment, as did a Bloomberg spokesman except to say Richardson left the company March 3. A person familiar with the matter said Hoyt reviewed a full version of the story, not an abbreviated one, and his view, like that of senior editors, was that the story wasn’t ready to run.

Last fall, I wrote that Bloomberg News was at a crossroads. For the first time, credible allegations surfaced that journalism interests were sacrificed, even though it had earned every benefit of the doubt over the years:

There is no evidence—at all—that financial considerations had anything to do with the editorial decisions on the stories in question.

Now there is evidence, from the chairman of the company himself. So much for the benefit of the doubt.

It is clear Bloomberg has decided which road to take on its China coverage— and it has run straight into a cul-de-sac. It’s difficult to see how it will find its way back.

The conflict is between a key market and cornerstone values.

There is no third choice.

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Dean Starkman Dean Starkman runs The Audit, CJR's business section, and is the author of The Watchdog That Didn't Bark: The Financial Crisis and the Disappearance of Investigative Journalism (Columbia University Press, January 2014). Follow Dean on Twitter: @deanstarkman.