Corporate Giant Tries To Kill Mom Reporter’s Story Linking Human Growth Hormone And Cancer

shutterstock_142663885__1395086927_142.196.167.223How far would you go to stand up for your beliefs? That’s a question that is repeatedly posed by The Moral Courage Project. The project tells the stories of those who have stood up for themselves or others. Those who have taken a stand. This week, The Daily Beast highlighted one of its stories – about a Fox News reporter who was allegedly fired for refusing to back down to Monsanto, who wanted to skew her reporting on synthetic bovine growth hormone.

Reporter Jane Akre was a Fox News reporter whose show on Fox’s Florida station WTVT was extremely successful. When her daughter developed a taste for ice cream, she began to wonder what was in her milk. As a seasoned reporter, she began to investigate. Her investigations uncovered some of the dangers of synthetic bovine growth hormone (rBGH) – a hormone Monsanto injects into their cows to produce more milk. She didn’t like what she found. Either did Monsanto, who allegedly tried to silence her report.

Akre spoke to The Moral Courage Project. She explained:

Monsanto threatens to sue Fox if Fox ran the story. They wanted them to take out the word “cancer,” take out the credibility of the scientists – take out their background and they offered to bribe us but I wanted the story on the air so I got kind of stubborn about that.

From The Daily Beast:

Fox News management was feeling Monsanto’s pressure, and asked Jane to re-edit the story. This, in itself, is standard operating procedure for any news channel. But as Jane states up front, “you can kill a story, as a news organization, but you can’t start manhandling it to the point where it no longer is truthful”. And what constitutes “mandhandling”? Well, about 83 rewrites. How about forbidding Jane to use the word “cancer”, even though well-respected scientists were able to demonstrate a correlation between this growth hormone and cancer.


Akre refused to comply. Fox News gave her a dismissal notice.  Here she is speaking about it:

There are so many outlets these days where you get opinions on news rather than news itself. They are called blogs. This is one of them. I expect to read different versions of the truth when I read blogs – because I know I am reading an opinion. When I listen to a news story, however, I’d like to be sure that I am getting reporting that isn’t skewed or manipulated by bias. That’s the difference between the news and everything else out there.

If the alleged 83 rewrites is true – rewriting a story that many times to change the meat of the message is unbelievable. Good for her for standing up for her integrity – and I’m glad channels like Moral Courage TV exist to tell the stories of the “little guy” who so often gets silenced by behemoths like Monsanto.

(photo: Tappasan Phurisamrit/ Shutterstock)

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  • Taxes Make Kittens Cry

    Yea, as we all know, this isn’t the first time a news org was pressured to kill a story and it certainly won’t be the last.

    But… this event took place in 1997.

    Also, the The Moral Courage Project only tells the reporter’s side of view. Fox prevailed before the FCC and in a state court. Obviously, those places only look for legal and regulatory violations as opposed to a moral/ethical violation that the reporter is claiming. But there are always two sides to the coin.

  • EmmaFromÉire

    Headline is a bit confusing, it’s not actually linking HGH is it?

    But aside from that- no self respecting scientist supports Monsanto. I have absolutely no problem with GM foods, people have been genetically engineering crops since we began growing them, but Monsanto are just evil. I have no issue with experimental gene therapy within reason, but not hormones that are KNOWN to cancer linked agents when not regulated.

    • Katherine Handcock

      No self-respecting scientist may support Monsanto, but if that’s the case, her report should really be about something you can actually nail them on…if there’s no link between cancer and the hormone, report on something else. It’s Monsanto, there’s plenty to talk about.

  • moonie27

    There’s actually very little evidence linking rBGH and cancer. (Seriously. Searching the two terms in pubmed returns one result that’s not a link between the two.)

    I guess maybe she found scientists somewhere who connected the two but it doesn’t look like they were publishing their results.

  • moonie27

    There’s actually very little evidence linking rBGH and cancer. (Seriously. Searching the two terms in pubmed returns one result that’s not a link between the two.)

    I guess maybe she found scientists somewhere who connected the two but it doesn’t look like they were publishing their results.

    • NYCNanny

      There is a ton of research on the correlation between dairy (and meat) to cancer. Plant based diets (vegetarian or vegan) reduce a person’s cancer risk…this is just known fact.

      Also…. the meat and dairy industries are HUGE and POWERFUL. Not to get all conspiracy on you, but the FDA, the drug companies, and the cattle industry work very closely together. I’d be weary of the “studies” by any of these industries.

    • moonie27

      Plant based diets have been shown to reduce risks of certain cancers; that does not in any way imply that this one compound causes cancer.

      I’ve never heard of dairy increasing risks of cancers, though dietary-based cancer risks is not my particular area of study.

      And pubmed is full of academic studies, not industry ones (which usually aren’t released to the public, for proprietary reasons), which is why people generally go there first to look for literature.

  • not really a reporter

    The headline should say “reporter”, not “mom reporter”. Unless you start defining each type of reporter such as “dude reporter”, “crafty reporter”, “happens to have a half-sister reporter”. Unless her story was squashed simply for the fact that she happens to be a mother, which doesn’t sound like the case here.

    • TwentiSomething Mom

      I think the reason why she decided to investigate what was in the milk was because her daughter enjoys ice cream so much so I get why “mom” was thrown in there.

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