How 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.