Joanna Coles interviews Michael Bloomberg at Hearst.


Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke off the cuff Monday morning about issues ranging from President Trump’s election to why Hillary Clinton lost and the problem with the media industry today.

Bloomberg, who stopped by Hearst Tower in Midtown, spoke with Hearst Magazines chief content officer Joanna Coles to plug his new book “Climate of Hope,” which he co-authored with Carl Pope.

Coles opened the conversation with international news, namely the election of French President Emmanuel Macron over the weekend.

“The story of his wife being so much older and she was his teacher at school was so romantic,” she said, referring to Macron’s 64-year-old wife, Brigitte.

Bloomberg called the 39-year-old Macron a “sex symbol” and noted that he recently saw a photo of Brigitte.

Calling her “drop dead” [gorgeous], Bloomberg noted that the photo was from 25 years ago. He added another jab when he criticized Macron’s lack of political experience and compared him to Trump and, later, Barack Obama, who became president without having “run anything.”

Although Bloomberg said Macron’s election was a “plus for the world,” he explained that making policy is not the same as managing.

Bloomberg explained that having little to no political experience today can have a more serious impact than in previous years, as it is “harder to reverse” damage done by political neophytes.

To drive home that point, Bloomberg said he had a post-election chat with Trump, in which he said: “Look Donald, you don’t know anything.”

“We’ve got to cut him a little slack,” he said, emphasizing that it’s in everyone’s best interest that Trump succeeds as president.

Coles then turned the conversation to climate change, the topic of Bloomberg’s new book.

“Why is climate change such a difficult thing to talk about?” she asked.

The former mayor then went into a long discourse that covered improvements the country has made, which includes closing 250 coal plants, as well as larger global warming issues that are irreversible. At one point he sounded more like a weather man than a high-powered businessman. There was talk of warmer oceans, stronger, more frequent storms, wind patterns and rising tides.

Eventually, the chat turned back to politics and why Clinton couldn’t close the deal.

“Hillary ran a campaign that was flawed and Obama didn’t really help her,” he said, adding that part of Clinton’s problem is her close-knit circle of friends, who act as a barrier and make it difficult to influence her views.

“Trump won…even if he didn’t win the popular vote. He had a positive message,” Bloomberg said. “Even if you didn’t technically agree with it, it was a positive message. I’m going to do something….The only thing Hillary said was vote for me because I’m a woman…and Trump is bad.”

But the message wasn’t the only problem in Bloomberg’s view — so, too was the media.

He cited the digital environment, in which companies are fighting for advertising dollars online, which has turned media companies into clickbait factories. On top of that, to keep costs down, companies are hiring “newer reporters and editors  and not paying them very much,” which sacrifices the quality of the journalism.

Bloomberg called out The New York Times as a culprit because it kept Trump’s name on the front page throughout the election.

“They forgot the adage that no publicity is bad publicity unless they spell your name wrong,” he said.

Coles reminded Bloomberg that he owns a media company, to which he said he didn’t think his organization played a role. Despite letting Bloomberg get away with that one, Coles did bring up the issue of fake news and alternative facts as having played a role in campaign’s disinformation.

“You can’t separate out fact from fiction,” agreed Bloomberg, who cited an overload of information as a problem. “Twitter has 500 million tweets a day. The only way to deal is to pick one news source…and never listen to others.”

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