Fire at will

Published: Monday 15 August 2005

-- (Credit: Gagged: Steve Wilson arid Jane) Fox News USA

In 1996, a husband-and-wife team was hired by fox television in the us as investigative reporters. One of their first stories was an in-depth expos of the then-widespread use of r bgh, a hormonal stimulant used to increase cows' milk production which had been linked to breast and prostate cancer. As the story was about to go to air, the station received a series of intimidating letters from r bgh's powerful manufacturer, Monsanto. What has followed has been an outrageous tale of corporate censorship.

The couple, Steve Wilson and Jane Akre, claim that after the station tried to spike the story, they went through more than 70 re-writes. During this time, fully verifiable --but information unfavourable to Monsanto -- was cut out. In 1997, the two were fired. The couple sued fox and were awarded us$425,000 in damages. fox then appealed in the us S upreme Court. Quite outrageously, the court has now accepted the television company's defence. Even more worrisome was that five other major media outlets filed friend-of-the-court briefs, supporting fox.

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