Monsanto and Fox News

In 1997, two employees of Fox owned-and-operated station WTVT in Tampa, Florida were fired in a coverup, or censorship, of a story involving Monsanto. The subsequent legal action and the precedent created is referred to the Fox-Can-Lie Lawsuit.

Jane Akre and her husband Steve Wilson are former employees of Fox owned-and-operated station WTVT in Tampa, Florida. In 1997, they were fired from the station after refusing to knowingly include false information in their report concerning the Monsanto Company’s production of RBGH, a drug designed to make cows produce more milk. They successfully sued under Florida’s whistle blower law and were awarded a US $425,000 settlement by jury decision. However, Fox appealed to an appellate court and won, after the court declared that the FCC policy against falsification that Fox violated was just a policy and not a “law, rule, or regulation”, and so the whistle blower law did not apply.

The court agreed with WTVT’s (Fox) argument “that the FCC’s policy against the intentional falsification of the news — which the FCC has called its “news distortion policy” — does not qualify as the required “law, rule, or regulation” under section 448.102.[...]

The court’s decision protects Fox’s (and other media outlets) reporting of false information about Monsanto and RBGH as legitimate news stories.

The court did not dispute the heart of Akre’s claim, that Fox pressured her to broadcast a false story to protect the broadcaster from having to defend the truth in court, as well as suffer the ire of irate advertisers. Fox argued from the first, and failed on three separate occasions, in front of three different judges, to have the case tossed out on the grounds there is no hard, fast, and written rule against deliberate distortion of the news.