News Distotion Rule

News Distortion Rule

Monsanto and Fox: Partners in Censorship

Monsanto Forced Fox TV to Censor Coverage of Dangerous Milk Drug

"An unconditional right to say what one pleases about public affairs is what I consider to be the minimum guarantee of the First Amendment."

Hugo L. Black, Baptist, Mason, KKK, Supreme Court Justice, 1886-1971

2003 Goldman Environmental Prize, known as the "Nobel Prize for grass roots work," bestowed on former Fox television network reporters Jane Akre and Steve Wilson.

The two investigative reporters lost their jobs when they refused to change a news report that had displeased Monsanto.

The reporters have visited regional dairies and had discovered that Monsanto's bovine growth hormone was being injected into cows.

The chemical was present in the state's milk supply despite commitments by Florida's supermarkets not to sell milk tainted by bovine growth hormone.

In various studies Monsanto's rBGH bovine growth hormone has been linked to cancer and is banned by many countries, including Canada, New Zealand, and the entire European community.

Jane Akre and Steve Wilson's report said that Monsanto has been accused of scientific fraud in connection with information it has provided to the EPA concerning food safety and attempted to bribe public officials in Canada.

Jane Akre and Steve Wilson testify that the local Fox television network station manager, David Boylan, carefully reviewed the investigative reports for factual accuracy, find no errors, and schedule them to run the following week.

Monsanto hires a powerful law firm before the show ran and threatened to sue Fox television network if the report was run.

The station offered Monsanto an opportunity to appear on the show and respond but Monsanto declined the offer.

Jane Akre and Steve Wilson testified that the local Fox television network station manager, David Boylan, then ordered the reporters to edit the show in a way that was favorable to Monsanto and deceptive.

Declining to coöperate in the deception both reporters were given a 'special assignment' with full salaries for their contract period provided they agreed to sign a confidentiality agreement and provide a report acceptable to Monsanto.

For nine months they worked on 83 different drafts of the story - none of which satisfied Monsanto.

"For every fact we intended to broadcast, we had documentation six weeks from Sunday. The station's lawyer told us, 'You don't get it. It doesn't matter what the facts are, we don't want to be spending money to defend a lawsuit.'" - Steve Wilson

Jane Akre testified that the station had tried to force her to say that Monsanto's rBGH milk was safe and no different from milk without Monsanto's rBGH, despite abundant studies that proved otherwise.

"We told them to go ahead and kill the story," Steve Wilson says, "just don't make us lie."

They were fired. They sued. They won on whistleblower statute law. Overturned on appeal.

The 50 year old FCC News Distortion Rule which prohibits broadcast of false reports was declared to not qualify under the whistleblower statute since it had been decided over the years in judicial decisions and was never promulgated in a rule creation process.

2006 Monsanto agrees to pay $100 million to the University of California for patent infringement of the rBGH bovine growth hormone.

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