Fox News Can Legally LIE Its Viewers - Seriously

Coincidentally, all mainstream news organizations missed a piece of information that basically chang...

Coincidentally, all mainstream news organizations missed a piece of information that basically changed journalism as we knew it.

Fark.com had to bring this one to our attention.

On Friday, they linked to the blog page of CeaseSPIN.org, a website “dedicated to uniting voices in support of a return to more objective, truthful, fair, balanced, relevant and representative news reporting.”

The CeaseSPIN headline gets right to the point: “Fox News gets okay to misinform public, court ruling.”

Here’s the rundown: On August 18, 2000, journalist Jane Akre won $425,000 in a court ruling where she charged she was pressured by Fox News management and lawyers to air what she knew and documented to be false information.

The real information: she found out cows in Florida were being injected with RBGH, a drug designed to make cows produce milk – and, according to FDA-redacted studies, unintentionally designed to make human beings produce cancer.

Fox lawyers, under pressure by the Monsanto Corporation (who produced RBGH), rewrote her report over 80 times to make it compatible with the company’s requests. She and her husband, journalist Steve Wilson, refused to air the edited segment.

In February 2003, Fox appealed the decision and an appellate court and had it overturned. Fox lawyers argued it was their first amendment right to report false information. In a six-page written decision, the Court of Appeals decided the FCC’s position against news distortion is only a “policy,” not a “law, rule, or regulation.”

So, Fox and the other gladiatorical cable news channels were given the okay to legally lie right around the time of the Iraq War’s birth – when media lies coincidentally hit a peak in both frequency and severity.

I did a Google search related to this story. Here’s what I came up with.

A Google search involving the words “Court of appeals + Fox News + Jane Akre” came up with 1,050 results. The first ten results spoke of this specific story, but of those results, not one was a mainstream media organization.

The results included FoxBGHsuit.com, InjuryBoard,com, ThirdWorldTraveler.org, CeaseSPIN.org, Purefood.com, Relfe.com, SourceWatch.org, OrganicConsumers.org, TheCorporation.com, and DailyKos.com.

A Google search involving the words “Fox News + Jane Akre” brings up almost the same results, the only difference being a Wikipedia page for Jane Akre. On the “External Links” section on Jane’s Wikipedia page, we find an InjuryBoard.com article, as Jane is now editor-in-chief of the website. We also find an interview with Jane and her husband, from a documentary titled “The Corporation,” in which they detail what happened during the ordeal.

A Google News search brings up one article – written by Akre for InjuryBoard.com.

The closest hit to a mainstream media news site is a Baltimore Sun reader/commenter named “gonzoliberal” who has copy-and-pasted the CeaseSPIN.org article into a comment thread. Huffington Post has mentioned the case as well in a series of articles about tainted milk.

No mainstream news organizations – not even Fox television competitors – have reported on Jane Akre’s case for suspected reasons, which won’t be elaborated on.

Putting aside the fact that studies linked the hormone to cancer, the case is likely one of many just like it – especially since Akre and her husband, according to their own accounts, were initially offered a bribe to go away and never speak of the case again.

Sort of depressing, right?

All American media companies are seen as corporate persons in the eyes of justice, hence they are entitled to lie. The following video offers more details and two concrete cases - FOX "News" and Nike:

By Randy LoBasso, Philly2Philly

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  1. The "reasons that won't be elaborated on" are simple: all major news organizations lie. All of them. Don't like Fox? No problem. MSNBC, CNN, whoever...... one of them will tell you the lies that you prefer to hear.

  2. This is a LOCAL FOX station, not Fox News. BIG difference!

    1. You're stupid... they ALL lie... if you unbiased and fair news watch NPR. They don't sell out to corporations.

    2. It was wholly owned and operated by Fox ie News Corp not just a local station. Just a correction on your assumption.. I ought to know I was there...~ j. akre

  3. i saw a night report (main channel )a couple years back a court case in the north east
    the court found that news was entertainment and didn't have to be factual

  4. This is over 10 years ago. Are you sure that they are continually lying, even now into 2014?

    1. Have you ever watched anything Fox airs?

    2. Have you? Ever?

      I mean an actual NEWS hour. Not an opinion driven pundit show.

      Do you know the difference?

      Can you name a concrete example of a "lie" you saw yourself sitting down using your very own critical thinking skills? No? Thought not.

      But "EVERYBODY knows..." Right?

      And your sources of information are what?..... Unbiased?.... Really?

      Questioning the SOURCE of a story rather than objective analysis of the CONTENT tells me everything I need to know about how a person derives their world view.

      Such people are the ones that made Carville decide pragmatically to be a Democratic strategist rather than a Republican one...both have LOTS of sheep...the Dems just have easier to persuade ones.

      To the original blogger I think this is a good piece, I like the way you wrote it up and the conclusions you draw generally.

      My critiscism is that you seem to imply and possibly believe that this is a FOX only problem, and that NONE of the other networks bow to advertisers. I would submit that they do so MORE often and have a greater incentive to do so. Fox ratings are greater than ALL THE OTHERS combined, so who do you think these days is more beholden to advertisers? The networks that are struggling to survive with few viewers or ones that can command a premium, and have an actually monetary interest in mantaining at least the appearance of even-handed-ness?

  5. Shouldn't the headline read "Fox News can legally lie TO its viewers"?

    1. Yeah, I was thinking that with the headline they have, they should have used "lay".

  6. Where is the outrage for twice the war dead in half the time. Suddenly silent.
    News Blackout.

  7. does a liar ever stop? until the truth comes out and accountability is deemed the lie must perpetuate itself... so yes, it's all still BS .

  8. This isn't even a story. This happened almost 15 years ago. I'm sure it's just a coincidence that it's an election year and the headline reads "FOX news can legally lie - seriously". Since you know most people don't read much more than the headline, or maybe scan the article where Fox is mentioned numerous times and others are referred to as "gladiatorical cable news channels". (so many syllables! sure to trip up some low-info voters) If you think that MSNBC tells you the straight facts, get real. How about a story about how great Obama is? Or Michelle's school lunch program? Or maybe how Al Sharpton decided to call someone new a racist today.

  9. First off, the lawsuit was against a Fox television station not the Fox News Network. Second of all, they lost (Acre and her hubby) on appeal. The station in question refused to run the story because she refused to include Monsanto's version of the facts (along with the counter argument). After she was let go (contract was not renewed, and what she was actually suing over), they, the station ran the story with both sides of the story. Thirdly, this was 15 years ago. The reason she lost her appeal was because she couldn't be saved under the "whistleblower" statutes, which is what she was suing over, since it did not apply in this case. But, hey, why let some simple facts get in the way of a good headline.

    1. While we are so dedicated to "some simple facts," let me correct the "Anonymous" poster who comes with all the arrogance and misinformation which has become the hallmark of many Fox news organizations.

      First off, one defendant in the case was not merely "a Fox Television station" but a particular Fox Television station which, more than a Fox affiliate, was a station owned and operated by Fox itself. You do know the difference, right? WTVT in Tampa was an arm of News Corp just the same as Fox News is another tentacle of the same company.

      More important, the story wasn't originally killed because Ms. Akre refused to include Monsanto's version of the facts. IN fact, she insisted on reporting Monsanto's defense which she had documented to be a lie. The problem was Fox insisted that she ignore and never mention to the viewer the evidence that it WAS a lie. (And I guess I'd want to be Anonymous too if I couldn't even accurately report the plaintiff's NAME along with my uninformed opinion of her)

      Yes, to try to save their bacon, Fox ultimately ran "A" story on the subject but it was far from "fair and balanced."

      t was 15 years ago, you got THAT right, but your mising the point here, Anonymous. A state appeals court overturned a strong jury finding that Fox ordered its reporters to deliberately lie to its viewers, then fired them when threatened to report that kind of misconduct because the justices ruled that deliberate lying in a news broadcast is not a violation of any law, rule of regulation here in America where the First Amendment protection is unlimited, in the court's view. But hey, why let some simple facts get in the way of defending people who should not be allowed to WATCH television news, much less deliver it to viewers gullible enough to believe it's fair and balanced because, well, BECAUSE we say it is!

      I hope, along with Jane's comment posted above, this helps clear up any confusion, Anon.'

      And just so I'm not hiding here, let me sign this with my real name:

      Steve Wilson

  10. I was going to read this post but the grammar in your title was horrendous! Get your grammar correct and maybe I'll listen to you

  11. Control the media and you control the mindless sheep!!.The media and banking industry is controlled by a few families who are the puppet masters and the rest of the world is their stage...except for a FEW free thinking individuals.

  12. Im old and but I have seen felt but never believed in any negative fear based stuff , Ive always felt peoples pain worry suffering and now its at optimum but its both very positive but still very negative its all in our ability to sense what we give ourselves and react to it ...don't worry don't fear (there is more energy than any ppl know about but I have fel , there has throughout history always been energies frequencies fear based realities, complete slavery but also love compassion empathy but we love desires ,we are gluttons for punishment that seems to be a vice as well but its . a game, a test yet another dream actually we want to believe in and the information age will lead itself out to yet another and another more positive direction. much farther and much faster than ever before... humanity I believe can and will develop the intelligence and will lose this belief in suffering and honestly happiness will be a lot stronger


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