Bloomberg Is Still Reporting on Their ‘Big Hack’ Story

Erik Wemple, Washington Post:

According to informed sources, Bloomberg has continued reporting the blockbuster story that it broke on Oct. 4, including a very recent round of inquiries from a Bloomberg News/Bloomberg Businessweek investigative reporter. In emails to employees at Apple, Bloomberg’s Ben Elgin has requested “discreet” input on the alleged hack. “My colleagues’ story from last month (Super Micro) has sparked a lot of pushback,” Elgin wrote on Nov. 19 to one Apple employee. “I’ve been asked to join the research effort here to do more digging on this … and I would value hearing your thoughts (whatever they may be) and guidance, as I get my bearings.”

One person who spoke with Elgin told the Erik Wemple Blog that the Bloomberg reporter made clear that he wasn’t part of the reporting team that produced “The Big Hack.” The goal of this effort, Elgin told the potential source, was to get to “ground truth”; if Elgin heard from 10 or so sources that “The Big Hack” was itself a piece of hackery, he would send that message up his chain of command. The potential source told Elgin that the denials of “The Big Hack” were “100 percent right.”

As a big story with a hundred interviews that, apparently, took a year and a half to put together, it’s not surprising that finding further sourcing to either corroborate or contradict the story could be hampered by internal-to-Bloomberg deliberations. But, even so, the denials received by Bloomberg before publishing the story were so forceful that it should have inspired comprehensive review prior to its publication, given its blockbuster ramifications, if it is true.

Due diligence and fact checking are processes to be done before a story is published. Following up after a story is published can often be necessary to ensure its validity. But, when the very foundation of this story has been stated to be entirely false, it reads less to me as validation and more like panicked doubt.