–This story appears to have been hacked; I’m investigating / repairing
March 18-24*, 2022 (London): Opinion, by Mathew Carr (CarrZee)
It was years ago when I was still working as an energy reporter with Bloomberg in London, I thought there was an important story to tell about the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project. It was crucial enough to write, even though I officially had the day off work.
It was Friday Dec. 13, 2019. I was out and about seeing industry executives, anyway. So I decided to write the story in a dingy café near the bustling Bond Street tube station, in London. I enlisted help from Olga Tanas, one of Bloomberg News’s energy specialists covering eastern Europe and Russia.
“Ted Cruz Says U.S. Sanctions on Nord Stream 2 Would Hit Allies,” was the headline we filed as we sent the story to the editing system. That was six months before I was fired.
At the time, I wondered why my U.S. colleagues had ignored or downplayed the news. I had checked and it didn’t seem to be on the Bloomberg terminal. Cruz was an important Republican Senator, even though he didn’t always get along with President Donald Trump. I rushed to a meeting.
After that unrelated catch up with contacts and two refreshing beers, I checked my phone. The story had not been published.
I messaged my boss. He was having none of it. We didn’t need the story at all, he said, because Senator Cruz’s comments were covered a day before, deep in analysis on the Bloomberg News terminal that I hadn’t noticed.
But the natural gas folks will want to know what’s at stake while trading futures contracts, I argued to my team leader.
Cruz was flagging potentially shorter supplies and higher prices.
I lost the argument … and I was peeved, yet again.
I was angry because I had bothered to file it, interrupting my rest time. I was cross for wasting Olga’s time. I was mad that “our” customers would miss out on important news, because it was buried in the analysis.
Sitting here now in March 2022, three weeks into a war between Ukraine and Russia, I feel even more strongly that we should have published the story.
The Nord Stream 2 pipeline project is still not flowing gas from Russia to Germany, and it certainly seems to me it was one of the reasons why the war began.
President Putin probably felt misled about the completion of the line. Natural gas prices are now about eight times higher than at the end of 2019 (and they have dropped from their highs above 300 euros /MWh — the chart only shows closing prices).
I was frustrated back in 2019 also because my boss had put me on a “performance improvement plan” several months earlier and I needed the story to add to my performance metrics, which were being counted carefully (or as it turns out not so carefully) because of that plan.
He was working against me, deliberately stopping me from “improving” to an “acceptable level,” I argue.
He said he WAS helping me.
Now, I’m surer than any time before that my gut was right. Something was off. Bigtime.
CarrZee’s Performance Had Jumped in 2018
An incident six days later confirmed my suspicions.
Bloomberg published a story with this headline: “Pakistan Weighs Carbon Emissions Market With a Link to China.”
It was another collaboration – this time between colleague Faseeh Mangi and I, but I contend a better lead paragraph was overwritten, indicating bias in New York-based Bloomberg News, favoring the United States.
My colleague and editor Jonathan Tirone had suggested this:
“Pakistanis who emit only about 6% of the greenhouse gas of the average U.S. resident could be about to get something Americans don’t have: their own carbon market.”
I loved it. But, yet again, my boss wasn’t having any of it.
He changed it back to the headline that was published, with a straight news lead that matched that heading.
At least he didn’t drop the whole story, this time.
I contend this incident was part of a pattern of behaviour by Bloomberg News editors, where references to the US’s historical and current responsibility for the climate crisis was being re-moved or downplayed from my copy.
This was happening even though emerging nations continue to say these issues need to be addressed by climate negotiators in order for the debate about future global market structure to move on.
The past two years has been a whirlwind of being fired by video conference during the pandemic and unfair dismissal/whistleblowing litigation.
My mum in Australia passed away suddenly, just two days before my first court hearing against Bloomberg. (It was not from Covid-19, but it might have been related to the pandemic because the Australian health service made some serious mistakes, I contend). Middle managers had earlier fired me, days after I told them my Mum had a partially collapsed lung.
The litigation has confirmed Bloomberg’s bias toward the USA, to me at least, if not to British Central London Employment Tribunal judges, who have usually ruled against me.
Take this statement from my boss in justifying the way he edited the Pakistan story and the “arcane” notion of historical responsibility for heat-trapping emissions:
“As our copy is meant to deliver news to traders and investors wondering what to do with their money, those arcane debates should be relegated to lower paragraphs in stories. The lead on a news story is best used to convey what’s new. In that regard, it never crossed my mind that our copy should be either slanted toward or against references to historical responsibility. It’s concerning that Mathew is making such a point of this, and it suggests that he’s approaching this story more as an advocate than an analyst or impartial observer.”
And there’s the rub
Who gets to decide what’s impartial? For Bloomberg, apparently the state news service of the world’s biggest economy, anything that threatened USA domination seemed impartial, I contend.
Who is to blame for the climate crisis is not “arcane” (definition: understood by few; mysterious or secret) to families of the thousands of people dead because of floods the past few years across Asia or the 700,000 or so souls killed by droughts in Africa the past five decades.
If Bloomberg declined to run the Nord Stream story to help fire me, that’s bad. If they did it to boost tension in Europe and sell more USA “freedom” LNG and weapons, that’s much worse. If the USA was stoking tension in Europe to widen its energy-cost advantage, hobble the region and boost its own exports to China and India’s surging middle class during the next three decades, it’s freaking outrageous, right? (This is a question, not an allegation.)
Remember the Cuban missile crisis? Where the USA went crazy over a missile installation near its geographical position? What’s NATO done in Europe? Position missiles near Russia.
Global U.S.-based corporations thrive on arcane. The less understood and more mysterious and secret their behaviour is, the more money they can make without having to explain. See the global financial crisis section, below. Huge inflation right now because of the war? Let the middle-class pay! YAY!
The wealthy get away, near Scott free, yet again.
Siloing off knowledge, plausible denial, winning at all costs are all the hallmarks of Capitalism 1.0 that urgently needs reform — to a much more sustainable Capitalism 2.0.
What Bloomberg was willing to publish back in 2019 a couple of days after it rejected my story was this story, which in my opinion turned out to be completely misleading, the headline at least:
The USA didn’t concede defeat. Indeed it (and others, including the behavior of Russian President Putin himself) successfully stopped the NS2 from opening.
The competition between companies and countries for money is now so intense, victory so imperative, I contend it has resulted in the onset of World War III.
For one thing, I reckon the Ukraine war would not have started had climate action been tackled in a more collaborative way among the biggest countries. The same could be said about G20 negotiations on a wide range of matters and global corporate governance standards.
My time at Bloomberg shows why the world needs that new form of capitalism.
The combative Capitalism 1.0 is destroying the world, wrecking our kids’ futures and damaging our physical and mental health. Capitalism 2.0 is desperately and urgently needed and, as my experience shows, it’s entirely possible.
The apparent US role of slowing climate action is exhibit one. The Democrats have placed one of their own as the demon in this story. Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia in the USA seems to be doing great in that role.
Below, you will meet Bloomberg LP’s own Manchin managers. Sergeant-Major Manchin, Sergeant Manchin and Corporal Manchin – taken together, let’s call them the Manchin machine. I’m going with this notion of a militaristic culture, because it truly was. In my experience, anyway.
They and probably a wider group of Bloomberg executives as well, had a modus operandi in Europe that was apparently similar to Manchin’s in the USA right now.
The Manchin Machine’s attempt to slow the pace of the transition away from fossil fuels was coming to a head around in the middle of 2019, as Bloomberg’s investment-bank customers were making millions of dollars struggling to sell Saudi Aramco shares in the world’s biggest initial public offering. (Raising about $29 billion, according to Reuters. Now Aramco is apparently ready to raise more.)
Corporal Manchin, an energy team leader at Bloomberg News in London, was very busy indeed, around that time.
It was July 9, 2019 to be specific, the same month in which then President Trump urged Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, to investigate alleged corruption on the part of then former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who sat on the board of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings Ltd.
That urging was deemed improper and it later led to Trump’s impeachment. Hunter was apparently among Americans sanctioned by Russia on Tuesday. Also last week, the New York Times, the bastion of establishment global media, conceded it effectively screwed up in not properly investigating Biden Jnr’s laptop emails ahead of the USA elections in 2020.
Back in 2019 at Bloomberg’s spanking new 1 billion pound Sterling European headquarters, Corporal Manchin was busy assessing the performance of a swag of his underlings, and was honing in on me, the Claimant [Private Mathew Carr], a gas and carbon reporter. (He said I was taking up more of his time than any other of his team members – “about 40% of my discretionary time as a manager.”)
Carr’s “performance had deteriorated over the first half of 2019,” Corporal Manchin said later in his witness statement, about that time. He rated me 4.62, the lowest on his team.
“This placed him within the bottom 97th percentile within his peer group. I discussed this with [Sergeant Manchin (Corporal’s boss)] and we decided that we should put [Private Carr] on a performance plan,” Corporal Manchin said.
This was the performance plan that would end my career at Bloomberg, but only after another 11 months of stressful grief.
Indeed, I never learned about the decision about the performance improvement plan, known as a PIP (as if it’s a small thing), until almost two months later. It was kept secret.
Mr Mike Bloomberg owns nearly all of his firm’s shares, which are privately held. Despite his role in enhancing climate transparency, secrecy is a key component of his company’s militaristic culture.
While Bloomberg LP managers told me I was doing great for years (and not advising I needed to improve), they were secretly downgrading me in a set of Human Resources books I didn’t know much about.
It’s a little like a tax-dodging company that has two sets of financial accounts – one for the boss and one for the taxman. In my case there was one set of performance results they were telling me — you are doing good — and another set they were keeping from me — you are doing bad.
Capitalism 2.0 will be less secret.
I’m not writing more on my situation to embarrass Bloomberg LP or Mr Bloomberg himself, though you may not believe that.
I’m writing to highlight this underreported fact that a militaristic, profit-obsessed global corporate culture is failing the world. Something we already know. I’m a good case study.
I’m not saying Bloomberg LP is worse than many other companies (I don’t really know whether it is because I’ve worked only at a handful of corporates and small businesses). Still, it’s the one I know most about and I’ve written about many companies in my 30-year career as a financial journalist, so my perspective is somewhat broad.
Having worked at Bloomberg for almost 20 of those 30 years, I gained some perspective about what drives the place. I’ve found out more, since leaving. Much of my story remains untold – and still will be untold after this fairly long piece.
I’ve so-far lost my bid to show my dismissal was unfair because of my alleged whistleblowing on Bloomberg’s inadequate news coverage about the urgency of the climate crisis and the plentiful availability of cost-efficient climate solutions.
I maintain that’s because the Manchin machine (and others) were so effective in covering up what was really going on. And it still is.
Below, I’ll outline how I’m not the only alleged whistleblower who has been treated badly by Bloomberg LP managers. That mistreatment is allegedly discriminatory behavior that’s against the whistleblowing law in Britain. (Remember, the Tribunal has sided against my allegations. This is an opinion piece.)
It’s no easy task to show that whistleblowing is officially whistleblowing under the law, as I’ve learned.
What I have discovered is how one of the most important organisations in the global financial infrastructure is prone to conflicts of interest that are deep, and common sense is being disregarded. That’s really bad for the world, especially the emerging world, the physical world and the animal world.
I’ve already written some of my story on my website CarrZee.org – search for “Bloomberg”.
What follows, though, is my most comprehensive attempt yet to show how Bloomberg’s culture was indeed flawed when it came to me, even if it wasn’t unlawful, which is the assessment of multiple Central London Employment Tribunal judges, so far.
I need to mainly stick to what the court has already considered and I need to be balanced so as not to defame – I’ve been warned by Bloomberg’s lawyers.
I’m writing, even though multiple souls have told me to move on and not to bother fighting the firm, anymore.
“You’ll feel much better when the toxins finally leave your body,” said one former staffer, who didn’t want to be named.
Yet, giving up and moving on swiftly is what big corporations and wealthy people seeking to avoid scrutiny want reporters to do. If I did that, it means more people will get bullied in the future. That’s what happened to me.
As I touched on, I was not the only alleged whistleblower being treated questionably at Bloomberg.
Alexei Komarov – Artificial Intelligence data / automated news expert
Mr Komarov helped establish an automated dividend-forecasting-and-news service for Bloomberg in London and he says he was bullied when he sought to correct mistakes being made by his team and his managers.
He, too, breached the strict chain of command. He, too, suffered after seeking to collaborate to solve problems for customers.
AI and automation are now key systemic risks in financial markets, where millions of dollars are traded within seconds on small and large data disclosures from companies, regulators and governments.
The mistakes spotted by Mr Komarov were potentially corrupting markets for shares and bonds, including those of Centrica Plc, the energy provider, he said.
Instead of using their professional judgement, his managers would simply tick boxes and roll out automated dividend stories and data without using enough professional judgement and without doing adequate compliance checks, he alleges.
I spoke to another person familiar with Mr Komarov’s situation, and he backed it up. I didn’t know Mr Komarov when I worked there.
His litigation is ongoing and I sought to have him appear as a witness in my Employment Tribunal hearing in December last year. My application was denied by the judge, citing questionable relevance.
Mr Komarov tells me he’s been suicidal because of his treatment by Bloomberg, which has included monitoring his emails, he alleges. Mr Komarov, of Russian heritage, has also suffered racist comments while working at Bloomberg, he said. (That allegedly happened before the Russia-Ukraine war, by the way.)
There’s also evidence Mr Komarov has aggressively approached Bloomberg employees following his alleged bad treatment: In one email, he said to one former manager: “I will not rest until you and your little clique are out of Bloomberg. You have created the lord of the flies environment in your department and you will face the consequences of your actions”.
Mr Komarov has named several executives respondents in his claims. He says he’s also pursuing criminal complaints against Bloomberg.
I’m providing some of these details because they show how alleged whistleblowing can quickly have far-reaching consequences for a large number of a company’s employees.
I’ve asked Bloomberg to comment on Mr Komarov’s allegations and will report what, if anything specific, they say. They have denied some of Mr Komarov’s allegations, which I have removed from this story prior to publication. They are subject to more research. See the section below citing Bloomberg’s counsel, solicitors and barrister.
Capitalism 2.0 will need to include guardrails for the systemic risks presented by automation that evidently Capitalism 1.0 is still struggling with.
Away from my litigation and Mr Komarov’s, I’ve spoken to people familiar with the situation who say Bloomberg should have done better when covering the lead ups to both the Dot-com bubble at the turn of the century and the global financial crisis about 15 years ago.
My point here is journalism under Capitalism 2.0 will need different skills to deal with systemic risks as global technology, trade and energy infrastructure becomes more joined up, regulation goes global and as money moves even faster. (I’m not saying I have all the needed skills.)
I also fully recognize with humility that I should have done a better job covering my beats as a reporter over the years. For instance I could have and should have covered the carbon market bubbles around 2005-2010 with more dedication and precision, including in the European Union system and in the programs overseen by the UN.
The appropriately named Mr Risk was a derivatives reporter for Bloomberg in the lead up to the global financial crisis from 2006-2007.
He was pointing out to senior newsroom executives that the newsroom should boost staffing and coverage of the risks that were building up in important markets, such as the market for credit default swaps.
Such a swap is like a form of insurance, or risk spreading. It shifts the risk of default to another party in exchange for a premium.
Credit default swaps came into existence in 1994 when they were invented by Blythe Masters from JP Morgan. They became popular in the early 2000s, and by 2007, the outstanding credit default swaps value stood at $62.2 trillion. During the financial crisis of 2008, the value of the swaps crashed to $26.3 trillion by 2010.
By 2005 and 2006 Mr Risk says that it had become clear that danger was building up.
Risk said he urged Bloomberg management to allocate more reporter resources to cover this part of the market where trading volumes “were exploding”.
He said he was effectively the only Bloomberg reporter covering this market, based in London, and that coverage in the US was patchy and inadequate.
As history shows, it was just one of the hearts of the crisis — Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers went bust over parcelled up mortgages.
By the summer of 2007 Bloomberg eventually allocated more resources, but by this stage bigger cracks had already appeared in the global financial system, even after some of those cracks had been filled because of unprecedented global co-oporation among regulators. More of this, please, CarrZee requests.
No media organisation covered themselves in glory writing about that crisis, Mr Risk said. “We should have been much better — absolutely true,” he said.
“What struck me as odd was that we had teams of reporters covering the corporate debt new issue market, and just a couple of people covering the credit derivatives space where all the action was. They [managers] couldn’t seem to get their head around this, and this was frustrating because it meant we couldn’t explore the stories we wanted.”
I spoke with other former Bloomberg staffers who agreed that most journalists struggled to get their heads around the risks building up during the lead up to the global financial crisis. The same happened with the dot-com bubble.
Still, one person familiar with the situation said Bloomberg WAS actually interested in tackling the systemic risk stories and the bad behavior by its customers, including investment banks.
In earlier stories, I’ve accused Bloomberg of engaging in “lawfare” – where the wealthy use aggressive litigation tactics to dissuade scrutiny.
On February 9, five days after I said litigation with Bloomberg felt like “lawfare”, Mike Bloomberg was nominated to chair the U.S. Defense Innovation Board, which provides Defense Department leadership with advice on how to overcome challenges with its “people and culture, technology and capabilities, and practices and operations.”
You couldn’t make it up.
That takes 79-year old Mr Bloomberg’s important leadership roles to at least eight. (I’m not saying he isn’t clever.)
Yet, many investors vote against board members with more than four board seats and many big companies mandate retirement at 72 years.
Here’s a list of just some of Mr Bloomberg’s (other) governing roles.
CEO Bloomberg LP
Founder Bloomberg Philanthropies
Co-chair Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero
Board member, Everytown for Gun Safety
Special UN Envoy for Climate Ambition and Solutions
Chairman of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures
WHO Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases and Injuries
A year ago, Mr. Bloomberg was also named the first Global Ambassador for the Race to Zero and Race to Resilience campaigns.
One would hope that such an influential guy would be able to create a culture of truthfulness in the companies he oversees. Not necessarily, in my experience.
Yet Capitalism 2.0 requires frankness. And better governance.
Among some Bloomberg managers, I found they didn’t seem to speak the truth and didn’t like it when the truth was spoken to them. The Tribunal found their testimony reliable.
Still, It reminds me of this militaristic clip.
Lack of Truthfulness – Managers Who Can’t Handle the Truth
Movie about the military – YouTube clip
At Bloomberg, the Manchin machine and its helpers were a champion of double speak, I contend.
Manchin Human Resources Manager Number One is a case in point. In his witness statement, he said he had “no further involvement” in my case at Bloomberg after May 28, 2020. (That was a week after I was officially fired.)
Yet, documents provided late in the litigation process show he was adjusting reports about me as late as September 2020, justifying why my bullying allegations weren’t investigated. This could be a mistake, but he apparently wasn’t concerned about my mistreatment: “I had no concerns that the Claimant [Private Carr] was not being treated entirely fairly,” he said in his witness statement. (He was flagged as a witness, by the way, but he wasn’t called, so I didn’t get to cross examine him. That, I allege, is part of Bloomberg LP’s cover up.)
The three managers Bloomberg provided for my cross examination all struggled to remember verbal conversations, which I found damaged their credibility. The Tribunal didn’t agree, and said they were “professional.” Hmmmm. Professional under Capitalism 2.0 will be different, I contend. It will require professional judgement rather than just doing what you are told.
Thinking about the “Few Good Men” movie, there’s a lot of evidence that fully supports my case for an urgent shift to Capitalism 2.0, especially in the USA, a country particularly fond of criticizing other systems. I’m certainly not alone in my calling out for Capitalism 2.0:
The documentary “What the Health” from 2017 showed how health lobby groups were being captured by drug and other companies incentivized to keep Americans sick. Those health lobby groups weren’t encouraging healthy eating as much as they should, as a result. Basically, in the American economy, healthy eating isn’t encouraged because that might have the gall to reduce drug-company sales and profits. (And yet folks in the USA demonizes China and Russia …and even Europe as “too commie.” As I said, I’m shaking my head a lot lately.
2010’s “Inside Job” 2015’s “Big Short” showed how banker (Wall Street) corruption has largely gone unpunished. (See the Hamish Risk section.)
2022’s “Downfall – the Case Against Boeing” revealed how the famous airline manufacturer’s safety culture was corrupted after a Wall-Street-influenced merger.
Private Carr — Collateral Damage?
So, the nature of my exit from the firm reinforced that the key problem in the world is unbridled capitalism. (I’m a big fan of well managed markets, btw. It’s just that markets don’t seem to be well managed.)
Markets need better guardrails (eg windfall profit taxes [the Economist disagrees], competitive auctions to ensure super-normal profits are not easily achieved, global trade deals with sustainability provisions, reward for UN development goals … much of this is now being considered or deployed in Europe and beyond).
At the moment, corporations compete to get an unfair legup in markets that pretend to be free, yet are not. The G20 already has planned a minimum corporation tax so there’ll be less jurisdiction shopping by global corporates, in a rare win for taxpayers (a win that’s not quite secure yet).
Still, the temptation to give national champion companies subsidies, or “state aid”, remains too high.
Some European and USA policy makers are now considering windfall-profit taxes on fossil fuels. Smart ones are mulling floor prices for carbon allowances so the taxpayers and the companies actually making an effort to save the climate are fairly rewarded.
This is one of my key points, and it won’t be news to my usual readers. Capitalism 2.0 is not only desirable, it’s deployable now.
At Bloomberg, I began to write stories around 2018 and 2019 that were clearly pointing to a better way.
I maintain that’s at least the main reason why I was fired, even though I lost the argument at the Tribunals. Bloomberg denies any wrongdoing and has won the debate so far. It wants me to pay 40,000 pounds of its legal costs.
In October 2018, I wrote about how the dirtiest part of natural gas – the cleanest fossil fuel — was its super-high price. (Yes, as of 2022, we have come full circle.)
Yet writing that back then was apparently a bad mistake in the eyes of some of my managers. The gas price subsequently fell over the next year or so, squeezing the profits of some of Bloomberg’s favored customers.
In November of that year, I wrote about an electricity-powered aircraft, which was being set up to replace short-haul flights powered by fossil-based-jet fuel. Another mistake? Apparently yes! — That would spur lower oil demand.
In December, I wrote about firms fleeing Britain to the Netherlands, potentially making the Brexit news team look a little foolish because they had missed the story. Another mistake? Apparently yes! The head of the Brexit team later became my boss’s boss. She fired me.
She argued at the Tribunal in December my contribution to Bloomberg’s Brexit coverage wasn’t that hot and declined under my cross examination to recognize my contribution in a more favorable light.
In January 2019, I wrote about how the world was struggling to agree on the future of carbon markets, yet they may just do it. (They did, late last year in Glasgow, sort of.)
In February 2019, I had the nerve to write about oil’s twilight. Huge mistake?
I contend that in the thinking of my fossil-fuel-soaked Manchin managers, I had to go.
I wanted to and was, in part, writing about climate action. My bosses were urging me to write about natural gas. I should stop going “off piste,” onto other beats. (I should stop exposing their ineptitude, is what they were really thinking, I contend.)
Bloomberg’s Manchin machine deployed a cunning plan, I contend. Not so cunning really, because it was essentially setting up an alleged sham process to create the impression that my writing wasn’t up to scratch, after almost 20 years of enjoying it, or at least dealing with it.
They would show I wasn’t capable enough. That’s why I was fired in May 2020, they argued.
The Central London Employment Tribunal said it accepted Bloomberg’s testimony, that older workers become less capable. (I concede I was not perfect and worked best with a great editor – which I had a few of. I also concede I am firmly in the aging process. Yet, Mr Bloomberg is 79 and … ?)
Two years later, I’ll also concede this much: I wasn’t capable of dealing with the two-faced management culture and its insincere “set-up-to-fail” training style.
So, let’s delve a little into why I contend Corporal Manchin was so busy.
I reckon it was because it’s tricky to make a good (not perfect) performer look bad.
In 2018, my stories had appeared on the TOP WORLDWIDE screen more than once every two working days.
A key performance metric (because it was editors outside my team making the editorial decision to place the story on the TOPWW screen), getting a story on that page was like getting on the front page of a large daily newspaper.
OK, there are 20 or so slots, but I was competing against 2,700 reporters and editors around the world for those slots.
Another key metric was how much news I was “breaking”. That means how often was I the first to report important market events to customers.
My breaking news count surged 60% in 2018.
Indeed, in 2018 I wrote more stories, broke more news and had more stories that reached a benchmark of a substantial number of readers, known as “read.” [I’m relying on data from Bloomberg supplied in the litigation process, and there appears to be some problem with it, so I may update this section.]
What’s for sure in my opinion is that Corporal Manchin had a problem. It was stark. See the performance chart above.
The problem was, I wasn’t performing badly enough.
Not giving employees fair credit for their work is one of the key problems with Capitalism 1.0. The revenue and profit would be more fairly split between managers, the CEO, shareholders and employees under the Capitalism 2.0 of my dreams.
Unbeknown to me at the time, the Manchin Machine had apparently been trying to make me feel dispirited for about six months.
On April, 17, 2019, Sergeant-Major Manchin placed me on a “headcount planning” list indicating I may leave. That was a month after I complained again about the quality of Bloomberg’s climate reporting and management culture.
Adding me to the list wasn’t related to my complaint, Sergeant-Major Manchin testified. (He was flagged as a witness for cross examination, then recanted by Bloomberg. That refusal to submit him for cross examination is part of an elaborate cover up, I contend. Does anyone else see a pattern here?)
As I said, I knew something was off, and I had been calling out my managers for all-but ignoring the Paris climate deal for four years at this point. So I thought it was probably that, or that my managers were threatened by me.
I’d already been made to suffer vast injustice at the hands of my leaders. Handing out injustice was a management technique used to get someone to quit, out of despair, I contend. The Tribunal found otherwise.
Sergeant-Major Manchin was a particularly interesting case in relation to truthfulness (see above). Not only did he apparently align me for headcount reduction. He was part of a three-person pact to deal with me in “one voice” (see below). He was involved in giving me an unfair performance evaluation for 2018. He used some of my best work and gaslighted them into “losses”. He evaded my direct questions in one-on-one face-to-face meetings about why I was placed on the performance plan in 2019. He didn’t know pension funds were agitating for changes to company business plans on climate action about four years after Paris (or he pretended he didn’t know in face-to-face meetings with me).
And then after I was fired, he said something telling.
Now, Bloomberg LP interestingly has a special email account for when employees exit the company. The address is something like General.Xit@bloomberg.net . Anyway, I bring it up because managers at Bloomberg get an automated email from this address when an employee leaves. (I’m not sure how senior a manager needs to be to get on the email list. Bloomberg could turn it into a pay-for email service for recruitment firms – ha! Since it likes new revenue streams – You can have this one for free, Bloomberg!)
Upon receiving the email about my exit, Sergeant-Major Manchin forwarded it, saying: “Goodness, didn’t even know it was on the cards.”
Not only is him uttering that outrageous in my opinion, given his long-term key role in my departure. This seems to be a smoking gun that my unfair dismissal claim holds water. Let’s see who he said it to.
Yes. It was Investigating Editor A. She was the editor who “investigated” my complaints that Bloomberg LP’s crude oil coverage was biased. She agreed with my complaints internally to an HR executive.
But what she said officially was vague and non specific … which allowed Bloomberg LP to officially reject my complaints and begin this three-year dispute. (To be sure I contend my “complaints” were whistleblowing and should have been protected. It was Bloomberg’s idea to turn my whistleblowing into a grievance.)
“Investigating Editor A”‘s response to my exit from Bloomberg LP on May 21, 2020?
Getting back to the stories I wrote that seemed to upset my militaristic Manchin bosses in 2018/2019:
The story I wrote with a colleague in January 2019 about how Germany and Brazil disagreed about the future of carbon trading was the clearest account yet of why the UN climate talks in 2018 failed. Yet it was cited by my managers as one of my losses of the year, because it took so long to get out.
A story that correctly foresaw a massive widening of shipping rates was cited by my managers as bad, managers including Sergeant Major Manchin.
The story about oil’s twilight was commandeered by the Manchin machine as their own. They simply took the credit for it and used it to further their own ambitions.
The problem for Corporal Manchin was, I wasn’t resigning, I contend.
Why did I stick it out? Even though I wasn’t doing exactly what I wanted, I wasn’t taken OFF the carbon-market beat, either. That’s a beat I quite liked.
And some of my colleagues were great. I loved them, even. And the pay was effectively double other places – OK the downside was you had to effectively work a six-day week in five days and some of the people were assholes. I was still willing to do it.
The Manchin machine came up with a cunning plan. We will goad Private Carr into losing his temper, so that we can show he’s “unwilling to accept feedback” … and even worse … show that he’s “insubordinate.”
This framing me as insubordinate is what happened over the next few weeks and months. I summarized that story here.
Lost – fair and square
Bloomberg’s legal team say I lost the litigation, fair and square.
“As a former Bloomberg journalist, you will be aware from your training that libel laws in the U.K. require you to prove the truth of any defamatory allegation and you will also (be) aware of the potential adverse costs consequences of failing to prevail in a court action,” said Paul Ferguson, legal counsel at Bloomberg LP, by email.
“As regards your own position, as you are well aware, the tribunal/courts have repeatedly rejected your assertions and ruled in our favour. We trust that any reporting you may undertake will be a fair and accurate reflection of the legal proceedings to date.
“We also reject the other assertions you make and reserve our rights.”
CMS – Bloomberg’s solicitors
So, Bloomberg wants me to pay 40,000 pounds even though it turned my alleged whistleblowing into a “grievance” – effectively beginning the legal dispute in the middle of 2019. See this story.
CMS said by email, earlier this week: “I can confirm that CMS and Mr (James) Laddie (Queens Counsel) have complied, and continue to comply, with our professional obligations.”
CMS has been accused of helping wealthy individuals avoid scrutiny by litigating against journalists, by the way.
See this by the Daily Mail. Link at bottom of the snip:
James Laddie QC – Bloomberg’s barrister
I also asked questions of Mr Laddie. Here are his answers. Edited for brevity.
“I would like to emphasise two points at the outset, if I may: first, I am only Bloomberg’s barrister, so I am not authorised to speak on their behalf on anything at all outside tribunal, and the tribunal proceedings are now concluded; second, on a personal level, I completely respect your right as a journalist to exercise your freedom of expression, provided of course that you do so lawfully.
“In the light of the above, here a few short responses to your emails. Where I have not responded it is not because I agree with you, but because I am not authorised to speak on behalf of Bloomberg (or CMS).
“I have read your list of behaviours that you characterise as “Lawfare”. It strikes me that almost all of those allegations are clearly untrue.
“As I explained to you when we were in tribunal, a barrister’s primary duty is to the court or tribunal. A barrister’s duty as an officer of the court takes precedence over his/her duty to their client. That is why I would not be party to, say, deliberate withholding of evidence, evidence-tampering etc (this is not an exhaustive list). The same rule applies to solicitors.
“A barrister or solicitor whose client pressurises him/her to act in a way that places him/her in conflict with their professional obligations is required to
(a) resist such pressure, and
(b) withdraw from the case on the grounds of what is known as professional embarrassment.
“This is at the core of how the legal professions operate.
“In my view, you are perfectly free and able to publish criticisms of the litigation process, drawing on your experience of litigating against Bloomberg, without suggesting that I (or any other lawyer acting for or employed by Bloomberg) acted in a dishonest or otherwise disreputable manner.
“I recognise, of course, that you are deeply disappointed by the outcome of your claim. It is not surprising that you think that the process was somehow unfair – I have lost plenty of cases and seen clients (employers and employees) think the same way. None of that gives you a basis to cast aspersions on the integrity and professionalism of the lawyers whom Bloomberg instructed to represent it. We fought hard, but we fought fair.“
[Note from author – I have excluded the list. And I disagree with the “fair” element of that assessment.]
As flagged above, one of the criticisms against me was that I wasn’t neutral.
If I believed too much that the Paris climate deal struck in 2015 was important, then I’m willing to fall on my sword – and frankly, falling on my sword right now looks like the most likely scenario.
Yet I maintain, I WAS neutral. The Paris deal, by its global nature and because its implied global carbon budget, had changed what was neutral-energy journalism.
After Paris, writing about fossil fuels as benign BECAME CAMPAIGNING JOURNALISM – a campaign for the damaging status quo. That’s what I argued here.
Again, the Tribunal judges disagreed, so far at least.
And a few more thoughts on the militaristic culture. One of the many things that surprised me throughout – and especially in the end — about Bloomberg LP was how it resembled a military outfit.
Insubordination is really a 20th century thing. The notion really isn’t fit for today. Call me naïve, but today (2022 – the twos reek of it) is about collaboration.
Even Ted Cruz is at it these days, collaboration I mean.
Yet in July 2019, I was stunned I was being accused of being insubordinate to managers I’d known for years and, perhaps naively, considered friends.
They apparently weren’t as friendly as I thought. They were soldiers, after all.
I thought we had at least decent working relationships, but I was clearly mistaken. In the case of Supplementary Manchin Manager One, I’d known him for 15 years and I was offered the team leaders’ role around 2012 before he took that job. I didn’t mind – and indeed I supported him in his new role. I didn’t want to be a manager at the time.
Another big mistake, apparently.
The claim of insubordination – for having the gall to put a smiley face on an email to my team managers after we were beaten to a story by the Financial Times – was only the start of the militarism.
This is another army concept, deployed with precision at Bloomberg News. The newsroom would apparently “silo off” information about who was complaining about the ways things were done and why.
This, I contend, is how Bloomberg LP managed to convince Tribunal judges that they didn’t even know about my whistleblowing, even though I had told several people, including my bosses.
They simply denied it.
And in one case, I contend Bloomberg simply declined to provide to the litigation an email sent to my firing manager that showed she knew about my whistleblowing. (Further, I had told her in person, but she declined to remember that.)
At least two of the managers were not truthful about that knowledge (I contend), claiming to not remember key conversations about my whistleblowing under my cross examination.
They needed to convince the employment judges on this point to show that my firing was about my lack of capability rather than my whistleblowing.
Amazingly (to me), they did it. So the plausible denial worked. Keeping people ignorant works, apparently. Under Capitalism 1.0, at least.
Yes man / yes Ma’am / how high do you want me to jump?
One of the things I didn’t know while I worked at Bloomberg LP was that three of my managers – the Manchin machine — had agreed with each other never to disagree about anything I brought to them.
This is what they said when forming their agreement:
“[Private Carr] was unique in the way he would approach people higher up in management to dispute editorial decisions and effectively arbitrage views,” Corporate Manchin said in his witness statements of July 2020 and December 2021. “I had discussed this with [Sergeant Manchin] and [Sergeant-Major Manchin] and we agreed that we would speak with one voice on anything he approached us with, to stop [Private Carr] trying to bypass one or other of us.”
I contend this was another Smoking Gun that my dismissal was unfair. The bullying was real. The Tribunal decided it wasn’t that important.
(Changed story settings Feb. 19, 2023 to make this story completely free of charge. Earlier, *Corrects on March 28, 2022 to say that that US elections were held in 2020. Earlier updated with weapons, UN development goals, earlier with snip from “What the Health”; earlier updated with details, CMS snip, automatic employee exit emails, smooths language; earlier corrects destination of pipeline to Germany; More to come)