Here’s What Media Companies Are Saying About Trump’s Immigration Ban

February 1, 2017, 12:22 AM UTC

Following the Trump administration’s executive order freezing immigration from seven countries, a number of media companies have spoken out either publicly or directly to their employees about the move. Some have treated it mostly as a logistical complication, but others have been more vocal about their support for open immigration.

Rupert Murdoch’s sons Lachlan and James, for example, who run 21st Century Fox—the media and entertainment conglomerate they and their father control—sent a note to their employees pointing out that the company includes immigrants at almost every level (Rupert is Australian by birth but became an American citizen in 1985).

“We deeply value diversity and believe immigration is an essential part of America’s strength,” the note said. “Moreover, as a company that is driven by creativity and innovation, we recognize the unique perspective offered by our many people who came to the U.S. in search of the opportunity for unfettered self-expression.”

A number of Murdoch-watchers pointed out that this response to Trump’s move is interesting in part because the family-controlled network Fox News has been fairly positive about the ban, and Trump and Rupert Murdoch are said to be close. The statement was clearly carefully worded to avoid any appearance of siding with either pro- or anti-Trump forces.

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Michael Bloomberg, the former New York mayor who controls the $12 billion financial news company that bears his name, also spoke out strongly against the immigration ban.

“I’m strongly opposed to these actions because they run counter to the core values of our company, and, I believe, the values that have made the U.S. a beacon of freedom and an engine of global progress,” Bloomberg said in a memo to staff. He added that he is “deeply concerned about the impact of these policies, both on our company and on U.S. security.”

Federal courts will eventually decide whether they ban is legal, the Bloomberg founder said, “but for now we must deal with their possible consequences. Given the questions this has raised for some of you, and the importance of global diversity to our company and its culture, I wanted everyone to know that we will do everything possible to minimize any disruptions these policies may cause.”

BuzzFeed founder and CEO Jonah Peretti also sent a memo to staff that was shared with some members of the media. “The United States of America is a nation of immigrants, and should continue to be a symbol of freedom in the world,” he said. “Instead, the President has decided to let fear drive our government policy.”

Peretti went on to say that “our thoughts are with the victims of this recent executive order, our employees around the world, including Muslims and their families abroad, refugees, and everyone whose lives may be turned upside down by this policy. These changes in government policy do not change BuzzFeed’s ongoing commitment to support and respect all of our employees and our diverse audience around the world.”

Neither Peretti nor Bloomberg seemed concerned that their expressions of disagreement with Trump’s immigration policy might affect their companies’ ability to cover the White House or its decisions, or might be seen as raising questions about their impartiality.

New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and CEO Mark Thompson sent a note to the newspaper’s employees that they said was “not about the editorial opinion or news reporting of The New York Times, but about our values and responsibilities as an employer.”

The Times executives said the company is “committed to diversity of talent, thought and ideas and the fair and equal treatment of all employees, whatever their background,” and that they would “do everything in our power to support and protect every one of our colleagues, regardless of their race, country of origin, and religion or belief system.”

Voice of America warned staff that any employees who are citizens of Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen “should not take personal travel outside of the U.S.” until further notice. The non-profit agency said it would not send foreign nationals of those countries on travel outside the U.S., and advised that if any was scheduled, it should be postponed.

Rich Battista, CEO of Time Inc. (which owns Fortune) sent employees an email late Tuesday that said the company is “closely monitoring developments around the recently announced restrictions of people entering the United States from certain countries,” but that to its knowledge none of its staff are impacted by the order.

Meanwhile, journalists and editors at the Wall Street Journal were debating how to properly describe the Trump immigration blockade. Editor-in-chief Gerard Baker, who has spoken out in the past against referring to Trump’s false statements as “lies,” sent a memo out that appeared to outlaw use of the term “majority Muslim countries” when referring to the nations where U.S. immigration has been suspended.

This caused some consternation in the Journal newsroom, according to a number of reports. “We shouldn’t be swallowing the administration’s talking points uncritically. I get the point he was making but that’s not the way to do it,” one Journal reporter told BuzzFeed.

Later on Tuesday, Baker sent another email in which he said that there was no ban on using the term “majority Muslim countries,” but that editors “should always be careful that this term is not offered as the only description of the countries covered under the ban.” The Journal editor said the paper would continue to “cover the Trump administration aggressively.”

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