Where Does It Say
The News Has To Be True?

by Jerry Gilio
August 3, 2007

Here's a charming story that Chicago Media Watch (CMW) included in their Spring 2003 report. The third paragraph should have you waking up in a cold sweat, screaming.

You have to give Fox credit. They're not even pretending that their "news" is true anymore. They're simply arguing that, journalistic ethics aside, there's no reason why they can't lie.

Court Rules that the Media Can Legally Lie

The Florida appeals court on February 14 overturned the verdict which gave Fox journalist Jane Akre $450,000 for being pressured by the television network to air what she knew was documented to be false information.

A six-person jury had earlier unanimously concluded on August 18, 2000, that Akre was indeed fired for threatening to report the station's pressure to broadcast what jurors decided was "a false, distorted or slanted" story about the widespread use of growth hormone in dairy cows. The court did not dispute Akre's claim that Fox pressured her to broadcast the false story in order to protect the broadcaster from having to defend the truth in court. The broadcaster were [sic] also concerned about losing advertising.

Fox argued that there is no written rule against lying on the news. The attorneys for Fox argued that the First Amendment gives broadcasters the right to lie or deliberately distort news reports on the public airwaves—and they won the appeal.

CMW is deeply concerned by this legal turn; it lowers the bar even lower and means the American public will no longer be able to trust their media, and whistleblower protection may be out the door.

Copyright © 2007