THE MYSTERY IN YOUR MILK
As Mandated by Fox 13 Management/Legal Counsel
Script 1, Version 28
This script version, produced at the direction of Fox 13 Management and their counsel, includes all changes mandated by them. Reporters' continuing objections are noted and explained in red throughout. Reporters' continue to maintain, because of these objections, broadcast of this version of the script would present viewers with a slanted, biased and distorted view of this important health issue.

NATSND, milk pouring into glass up/under for upcoming track
 
NARRATION 1: "Nature's most nearly perfect food"-that's how most of us have always thought of milk...wholesome, nutritious and pure just like it says on some of the trucks that deliver it. 

But down on the farm where most of us never see? Some Florida farmers are quietly squeezing more cash from their cows by injecting them with an artificial growth hormone so they'll produce more milk than nature intended.

 

Thurman Hatten, Florida Dairy Farmer: "Yes I would say, people in Florida are using it. (Reporter Jane Akre) And you yourself? (Farmer Hatten) Ahh...
 
NARRATION 2: Thurman Hatten is one of many Florida dairymen reluctant to admit that they're injecting their cows every two weeks...

Farmer Hatten continues: "...it's possible I could be using it."
 
NARRATION 3: The drug some Florida farmers don't want you to know they're using is a laboratory version of a hormone cows produce on their own. So is there something to worry about in the milk produced by Florida cows getting extra doses of this new product called Posilac? 
Dr. Samuel Epstein, Scientist, University of Illinois: "...there are highly suggestive if not persuasive lines of evidence showing that consumption of this milk poses risks of breast and colon cancer." (1)

(1) Reporters have been instructed not to include information that details the basis for this frightening claim, leaving viewers unable to meaningfully understand it out of context and likely to just shrug it off as another unfounded "cancer scare" with no legitimate scientific basis whatsoever.

The artificial hormone works by increasing the cows' natural production of Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF-1). This is what "revs up" the cow, causing her mammary glands to produce more milk. The basis of Dr. Epstein's concern-and that of others around the world-is that studies have shown that injecting cows with synthetic BGH causes an increase in IGF-1 levels found in the cows' milk. This is cause for concern because a growing body of evidence points to IGF-1 as a potential cancer promoter known to cause cell proliferation and tumor growth, particularly in the human colon and breast
 
NARRATION 4: Dr. Samuel Epstein, a scientist at the University of Illinois School of Public Health, is an expert on the environmental causes of cancer. (2) He is opposed to Posilac going into cows that produce the milk your family drinks. His view is based on what he says is a body of peer-reviewed research, including many studies he cited in an article published in last year's International Journal of Health Services, that raises some troubling questions. (3) And Dr. Epstein is not alone:
(2) Reporters were repeatedly instructed to remove information that more completely details Dr. Epstein's widely acknowledged expertise. The deliberate omission of those known facts minimizes the credibility of this BGH critic and thereby slants the story in favor of the product.

Cancer warnings from "experts" with dubious qualifications have left viewers skeptical of all such claims. It is important for that reason, as well as proof of responsible documentation, that viewers understand Dr. Samuel Epstein's background and qualifications to reach such the conclusions he voices in the report. But despite his three medical degrees, a professorship of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at the University of Illinois School of Public Health, his frequent Congressional testimony as an expert on public health and environmental causes of cancer, his authorship of seven books, and countless editorials appearing in some of America's leading newspapers, reporters were repeatedly blocked from describing him more completely.

Original references to him as a "reputable scientist(s)" which was acceptable in Versions 1-3, was later changed to "respected scientist(s)" which was acceptable in Version 11, and then "well-credentialed M.D." which was okay in Versions 10-18 until, ultimately, reporters were told no such reference was acceptable, making him sound like a run-of-the-mill academic with no specific or relevant expertise.

(3) Reporters have located and confirmed more than a dozen independent studies of the artificial hormone published post-FDA-approval. These raise legitimate concerns about the risk of cancer to adults and children who drink milk from cows injected with BGH. Nonetheless, reporters were first instructed to mischaracterize the available research simply as "publicly available at the time of approval". When reporters demonstrated how that mandated language was inaccurate, they were instructed to call it "a body of peer-reviewed research". This is also inaccurate and deliberately misleads the viewer by presenting a distorted picture that fails to more accurately and fully report that many of the troubling findings are from recent research, and that the evidence of a cancer link appears to be growing more clear.

Monsanto, on the other hand, contends the latest research confirms the overall safety of its synthetic hormone. In fact, the research Monsanto most frequently refers to is a study of the synthetic hormone's effects on BGH-treated cows monitored by Monsanto, not people who drink the cows' milk. Reporters were not allowed to make this fact clear in the report.

Dr. William Von Meyer, Scientist: "If we allow BGH to go on, I'm sure we're taking excessive risks with society." (4)

(4) Reporters were instructed to edit Dr. Von Meyer's quote to the extent that the viewer is deprived of the full thrust of his true position and meaning: that further scientific review of this situation could save human lives.

Here's what Dr. William von Meyer actually said in a videotaped interview with Reporter Jane Akre:

"We're going to save some lives if we review this now. If we allow BGH to go on, I'm, sure we're taking excessive risks with society."
The true meaning of his remarks is that excessive risks could be avoided with further scientific review. Out of proper context, the viewer cannot understand the true possible importance of further review or that it is, in Dr. von Meyer's view, an alternative to taking excessive risks.
 
NARRATION 5: Concerns expressed by Dr. William von Meyer, a scientist in Wisconsin (5), have sparked an inquiry by Congressman Scott Klug. Klug wants to know how the product was approved by the FDA for use in this country three years ago while a dozen European countries, Canada and New Zealand have blocked use of it there.  

Monsanto, the giant chemical company which sells the synthetic hormone, rejects the concerns of scientists around the world and insists there is nothing to worry about. 

 
(5) As with Dr. Epstein, reporters were pressured to remove any reference to Dr. von Meyer's qualifications to question the safety of the product, while being instructed to report Monsanto's contention that "...the cancer experts don't see the health issue..."

Reporters were blocked from including the facts that Dr. von Meyer has spent 30 years studying chemical products and testing their effects on humans; supervised many such tests on thousands of animals at schools such as the University of London and UCLA; headed agricultural, chemical and genetic research at some of America's most prestigious companies. Ultimately, reporters were instructed to broadcast a version which reduces the truth about Dr. von Meyer to a simple reference to him as "a scientist in Wisconsin".

Dr. Robert Collier, Monsanto chief scientist for BGH product: "In fact, the FDA has commented several times on this issue after there were concerns raised. They have publicly restated human safety confidence...so this is not something knowledgeable people have concerns about."

Calf in pen: "Moo!"
 
NARRATION 6: Every calf is born with a natural supply of Bovine Growth Hormone, or B-G-H, the substance that makes baby cows grow. Scientists knew if they could just figure out how to duplicate BGH in a lab, farmers could inject extra doses every two weeks to milk more profit out of every cow. Well, Monsanto did figure it out, received government approval to sell the hormone and now highlights the potential for profit in this sales tape it sends to dairy farmers.
 
Video clip of Monsanto sales tape: "Of course you'll want to inject Posilac into every eligible cow, as each cow not treated is a lost income opportunity."
 
NARRATION 7: Critics including the Massachusetts state agriculture commissioner in 1989 have called it "crack for cows" (6). That's because Posilac effectively does rev up Ol' Flossy so she gives more milk. If she gave 9 gallons a day before, she could give 12 gallons now, up to 30% more milk from the same cow. But despite the potential for profit, some dairyman say the product doesn't always lead to happy trails for the cows or those who tend them.
(6) Reporters were repeatedly told this colorful phrase could not be used in a broadcast on Fox Channel 13 to avoid needlessly antagonizing a possible plaintiff, Monsanto. Because the quote so accurately describes the effect of the hormone in a non-scientific way viewers can easily understand, reporters persisted by showing evidence of its use by other responsible newspapers such as The Boston Globe, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, TIME Magazine, and 11 other publications. Only after reporters located a report of the statement being made by a public official was it allowed to be included. And even then, as a further effort to discourage broadcast of the phrase, reporters were instructed it could not be used unless and until the now-former official was tracked down, confirmed that the eight-year-old quote was accurate, and that he still felt that way today! Reporters located the man, now with the USDA in Washington, and obtained the required confirmations.

Charles Knight, Florida Dairy Farmer: "It's a tool that can be used but you better be careful 'cause it can burn you..."
 
NARRATION 8: Near Wachula, Charles Knight won't use Monsanto's synthetic BGH anymore. He is one of many farmers who say they've watched Posilac burn their cows out sooner, shortening their lives by maybe two years. Knight says he had to replace 75% of his herd due to hoof problems and serious udder infections, two of more than 20 potential troubles listed on the product warning label. But apart from potential suffering for the animals, here is the biggest concern for many people: what effect might the drug might have on us-or our children when they drink milk from treated cows? 
 
Robert Collier, Monsanto Scientist: "...this is the most studied molecule certainly in the history of domestic animal science." (7)

(7) Despite intense scrutiny of every claim made by those opposing the Monsanto product, reporters were required to include this and other company claims without documentation of accuracy. Experts in the field of domestic animal science say this claim is demonstrably false.

Throughout the process of preparing the various versions of this report, reporters were repeatedly instructed to include unverified and even some outright false statements by Monsanto's dairy research director whose doctorate degree is in Dairy Research. Among them:

"...suffice it to say the cancer experts don't see the health issue..." (Part I)

"Posilac is the single most-tested product in history" (Part II)

"There are no human or animal safety issues that would prevent approval in Canada once they've completed their review, not that I'm aware of." (Part II)

"the milk has not changed" as a result of injecting cows with the hormone (Part III)

"...we have not opposed that (voluntary labeling of products from BGH-treated cows) at all." (Part IV)

"He (Dr. von Meyer) has no credentials in human safety evaluation"

At the same time, a markedly different standard-actual proof of each and every claim-was applied to statements, even expressions of opinion, made by Monsanto critics. If the higher, tougher standard of verification of their statements and opinions were not met, quotes critical of the product were ordered deleted from the report.

Reporters were also required to exhaustively research the backgrounds of those raising questions about the Monsanto product while no similar efforts were required to ascertain the expertise of Monsanto Company experts who reporters know to have fewer credentials than some critics.
 
NARRATION 9: Critics say that's exactly the problem-the growth hormone was approved by the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine as an animal drug. Many scientists say since BGH affects the milk we drink (8), that milk from cows injected with the drug should be tested as if it were a human drug. They say that's the only way to be sure about the long-term safety of the milk we drink. (9) 
(8) Whether there is, in fact, anything different about a glass of milk you drink from a BGH-treated cow is at the heart of human health concerns about the product. The reporters' research uncovered several studies, including one frequently cited by Monsanto, which indicate the milk is indeed different. Several have shown levels of the suspected cancer link IGF-1 is significantly higher in milk from treated cows, up to 20 times higher according to one study. Other studies confirm higher antibiotic levels in the milk as farmers inject cows with more drugs to fight BGH-caused infections. Fox has directed reporters "neutralize" these key facts by reporting that studies show the milk is "affected", as opposed to "altered". Deliberately failing to explain that the "affect" includes a markedly increased level of a known cancer promoter seriously slants this story and misleads the viewer.

(9) Reporters were not allowed to explore the potential inadequacy of BGH testing on the grounds the FDA has already approved it as safe. "Are you (reporters) an expert on the way to test drugs?," counsel asked. "Is (BGH-critic Dr. WillIam) von Meyer right and the FDA wrong?" Even after reporters provided textbook documentation that animal testing should last two full years to assure human safety from long-term carcinogenicity, this important issue was not allowed included in the report. Citing Monsanto's repeated reminders about the FDA's ultimate approval of the drug, reporters were instructed never to characterize BGH testing as "short-term" nor allow any critic to do so. This further distorts the viewers' true picture of the adequacy of the testing done before the substance entered their family's milk supply.

Dr. William von Meyer, Research Scientist: "A human drug requires two years of carcinogenic testing and extensive birth defect testing. BGH was tested for 90 days on 30 rats at any dose before it was approved."

Dr. Robert Collier, Monsanto scientist: "But suffice it to say the cancer experts don't see the health issue and it's unfortunate the public is being scared by an issue that shouldn't be of concern." (10)

(10) Reporters were instructed to include this claim without contradiction despite the knowledge by all that it is flatly, demonstrably false. A number of experts in the cancer field-including two who appear in this very report, and countless others who have acted to prevent the product from being sold in at least 17 other countries-obviously do see the health issue. Presenting this misstatement as fact without pointing to known facts which contradict the statement is an obvious and serious distortion of the truth.
 
NARRATION 10: Monsanto's dairy research director points to what the FDA has repeatedly said since the day it approved BGH back in 1993: "The public can be confident that milk and meat from BGH-treated cows is safe to consume". (11)  

Dr. Collier and his company have aggressively disputed those with opposing views, including Dr. von Meyer and Illinois' Dr. Samuel Epstein.

(11) Reporters were told not to report these blanket government assurances in the context that they are based primarily on Monsanto company studies which never looked at potential chronic, long-term human health effects. During a May 27th phone conference, counsel told reporters: "I want you to do exactly as I said. The FDA review says it's safe for humans. I just want a statement. That's what I want for balance." In fact, whatever counsel's stated motivation, viewers are seriously misled when such claims are presented outside the context of important related facts.

Dr. Collier: "He has conducted literature reviews and interpreted other people's studies, but he himself has never conducted a designed study that I'm aware of." (12)

(12) Reporters instructions to insert this additional Monsanto attack on the credibility of its critics further slants the balance of the report in the company's favor. This is especially true in light of management's directives to remove at least a half dozen other critical quotes from opposing scientists and the directives to remove most background information about them which might lend credibility to their comments.

This quote was originally inserted into Version 22 at the direction of management in late July, two weeks after a lengthy review session which left it unincluded. Reporters were instructed to add it as part of counsel's stated desire to "neutralize" the report at a time when the story included more quotes from scientists whose expertise was also reported. In subsequent versions, after many critics' quotes were removed along with most information about their background and qualifications, this quote was also removed as a matter of balance.

In late September, when management conveyed counsel's instructions for changes to the "final" version (the one they would finally approve for broadcast) this quote was not included, nor were reporters instructed to include it. Not until October 6th were management's instructions changed yet again to order reporters to re-insert this quote.
 
NARRATION 11: Nonetheless, influential food safety officials from around the world remain unconvinced. Not long ago, the members of an important United Nations committee again blocked efforts to give a virtual green light to selling the drug around the world. For the second time in two years, the committee decided synthetic BGH needs more study.
 
Reporter Jane Akre on camera: "So just how many dairy cows in Florida are being injected with this synthetic hormone? No one knows for sure, but it's enough to virtually assure that at least some of the milk in every jug you bring home from the supermarket these days comes from treated cows."

File clip from 1994, consumer protestors chanting: " No more BGH, No more BGH"...
 
NARRATION 12: Tomorrow: how consumers across America have fought to stop the use of the drug....and why here in Florida you can't know if the supermarket milk on your family's table comes from treated or untreated cows. 
 
Milk pouring into tall glass.

Jane Akre, Fox 13 News

 


Part II, Version 6
 

This script version, produced at the direction of Fox 13 Management and their counsel, includes all changes mandated by them. Reporters' continuing objections are noted and explained in red throughout. Reporters continue to maintain, because of these objections, broadcast of this version of the script would present viewers with a slanted, biased and distorted view of this important health issue.

 

Cow: "Moooo"
 
NARRATION 1: You won't find Ol' Flossie and Bossie on Fred Gore's dairy farm in Zephyrhills. On Fred's farm, all the cows have numbers instead of names-and they're watched by electronic eyes 24 hours a day. 
Florida dairy farmer Fred Gore: "They help tell me if proper procedures are being followed."
 
NARRATION 2:  At a modern dairy farm, cows wear transponders that even tell a computer how much milk she gave today.
 

 

Farmer Gore: "She's giving 121 pounds a day."
 
NARRATION 3: In the competitive business of dairy farming these days, productivity is paramount. That's why Fred Gore and others like him were all ears when the giant Monsanto chemical company started promoting it's new product called Posilac. 
Clip from Monsanto Sales Tape: "Posilac is the single most-tested product in history and it helps increase your profit potential."
 
NARRATION 4: Monsanto promised that Posilac-a laboratory version of the cow's natural growth hormone-could get Ol' 2356 and her friends to produce up to 30% more milk. That was good news to Florida farmers who need all the help they can get in a state where high heat, humidity and little local grain make dairy farming a struggle.  

The "promise of Posilac" sounded great to dairyman Charles Knight...but he says it didn't turn out that way.

 

 

Charles Knight, Dairy Farmer: "About the same time we began having a lot of foot problems with our cows because they got so crippled they couldn't walk."
 
NARRATION 5: Right after he started using the drug on his herd near Wachula three years ago, Knight says his animals were plagued with those problems and serious infections of his cows' udders. Troubles he attributes to Posilac eventually caused him to replace the majority of his herd. And when he reported those problems to Monsanto?
Farmer Knight: "It was like overwhelming because they said, 'you're the only person having this problem so it must be what you're doing here, you must be having management problems'."
 
NARRATION 6: Knight later learned his troubles were not unique. (1) Monsanto never mentioned its own research that showed hundreds of other cows on other farms were also suffering hoof problems and mastitis, a painful infection of the cow's udders. If untreated, the infection can get into the cow's milk so farmers try to cure it by giving the cow shots of antibiotics...more drugs that can find their way into the milk on your table, which could make your own body more resistant to antibiotics. 
(1) Deleted from these reports is all reporting of the involvement of the University of Florida in the research development, promotion, and approval of BGH. These facts include the university's role in minimizing adverse BGH effects (UF people reportedly told Knight and others they were unaware of animal health problems which were, in fact, being reported to them), significant financial support from Monsanto to UF in the form of research grants and gifts including the Monsanto Dairy Barn facility, and the hiring of former UF BGH researchers and professors now in key positions with Monsanto and the FDA.

Dr. Michael Hanson, Consumers Union: "So for example, if you drank milk that had residues of eurythymicin in it, then bacteria in your stomach could pick up resistance to that eurythymicin so that if you came down with an illness you wouldn't be able to use eurythymicin to treat it."
 
NARRATION 7: Dr. Michael Hanson, a scientist with Consumers Union, is not alone in his concern. The investigative arm of Congress and, more recently, an important group of food safety experts from around the world have raised this very concern related to the use of Monsanto's drug. Even the Posilac label warns: "...use of Posilac is associated with increased frequency of the use of medication in cows for mastitus..."  

Citing thorough study of the product both before and after approval by the FDA, Monsanto insists there are safeguards in place to detect any potential problem with antibiotics in the milk. 

Dr. Robert Collier, chief Monsanto BGH scientist: "Not only is every tank truck load tested but a sample is taken from every bulk tank that way if a truck is found to be contaminated you have to be able to identify which farm it came from."
 
NARRATION 8: At the Tampa dairy coop, checks are routine but co-op officials admit the testing is not thorough enough to detect the many antibiotics a farmer could use. More-complete checks are done by a few grocers and by the state-but only on a spot basis. 
Dr. Hanson: "In fact there are over 60 drugs that they believe can be used on farms and they test for a very small percentage of them."

File tape, 1993, consumer protestors chanting: "Boycott BGH! Boycott BGH!..."
 
NARRATION 9: Demonstrations against the product when it was approved three years ago showed Americans were not very supportive of injecting dairy cows with synthetic growth hormones. This University of Wisconsin study conducted just last year says 74% of consumers are worried about unknown harmful human health effects of BGH which might not show up until later.  

Outside the U.S. officials in other countries also remain skeptical about Monsanto's product.  

In Canada, for instance, the product has not been approved for sale, due in large part to official uncertainty about its human health implications (2), a concern Monsanto downplayed to us. (3) 

(2) The potential long-term human health effects is the bottom line to the series as a whole. The important concern this series investigates is the suspected link between long-term human consumption of BGH milk and the potential development of cancer. Nevertheless, reporters were repeatedly instructed to camouflage concerns about cancer by not using the word in any script after an initial reference in Part I and substituting "human health implications" as a euphemism, one which most viewers would not link to cancer. This deliberately misleads viewers by omission, depriving them of information which would let them judge for themselves the seriousness of concern stated by responsible scientists and others around the world. Again, is the concern a toothache or a tumor?

(3) Monsanto's leading BGH expert categorically denies knowing of well-publicized human health concerns in Canada where the product is unapproved. Reporters were instructed to minimize this expert's denial by slanting the broadcast to state that he "downplayed" Canadian concern, as opposed to accurately reporting the Canadian concern is "a fact Dr. Collier denies".

Dr. Collier, Monsanto scientist: "There are no human or animal safety issues that would prevent approval in Canada once they've completed their review, not that I'm aware of."
 
NARRATION 10: For more than three years now, Monsanto has fought an uphill battle to get Canadian government approval. It is still not legal to sell the unlicensed product north of the border. (4) 
(4) In letters to Fox management, Monsanto has insisted upon characterizing as a "voluntary moratorium" the fact that BGH cannot be legally sold in Canada because government regulators have refused to approve it. Reporters contended there is nothing voluntary about not selling BGH in Canada because all unapproved drugs are banned. Reporters even provided evidence that Canadian border agents have confiscated BGH as a banned substance. Nonetheless, reporters were instructed to minimize the significance of Canadian non-approval by simply reporting "an uphill battle to get Canadian government approval" and that "is not legal to sell the unlicensed product" there. Adopting Monsanto's corporate spin which suggests there are other reasons for non-approval in Canada, misleads viewers about the significance and true reasons the product is banned there and in many other countries.

Clip of CBC documentary: "Monsanto Canada whose representative allegedly raised the subject of money..."
 
NARRATION 11: In the Fall of 1994, Canadian television quoted a Canadian health official as reporting Monsanto offered $1-2 million if her government committee would recommend BGH approval in Canada without further data or studies of the drug. Another member of her committee who was present when Monsanto made the offer was asked: "Was that a bribe?" 
Clip continues, CBC Reporter to committee member: "Is that how it struck you? (Dr. Edwards, Health Canada) Certainly!"

Reporter Jane Akre on camera: "Monsanto said the report alleging bribery was "a blatant untruth", that Canadian regulators just didn't understand the offer of the money was for research. Monsanto demanded a retraction. The Canadian Broadcasting Company stands by its story."
 
NARRATION 12: Elsewhere, New Zealand and a dozen other countries-all members of the European Union-are also unconvinced about BGH. The product has been banned in Europe at least until the year 2,000. Could skepticism about the safety of BGH around the world be fueled by memories of earlier Monsanto products?
Dr. Michael Hansen, Consumers' Union: "Monsanto has a very checkered history with some of its other products..."
 
NARRATION 13: 

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

 

Dr. Hansen says Monsanto was wrong when it convinced the government 2-4-5-T was safe. You may remember that as Agent Orange.  

Monsanto also developed and sold PCB's, a substance that went into electrical conductors for years...until researchers showed serious environmental and health hazards despite US government approval.  

Monsanto provided no response to our inquiry about it's past record of making safety claims for other products. (5) 

But back now to the dairy co-op here in Tampa and the use of synthetic BGH by local farmers.

(5) A Florida dairyman told reporters-and Monsanto later confirmed-that the company failed to make reports to government officials about adverse BGH reactions in cattle. Those reports were required as part of the research which led to US government monitoring. The reporters' investigation also uncovered an EPA investigative report that concluded Monsanto showed "a clear pattern of fraudulent content" in the research that led to approval of its product Dioxin years ago. Reporters felt this was a fact directly relevant to helping viewers determine the Monsanto's credibility in making its claims about its latest product BGH.

Reporters were instructed to ignore the company's previous withholding of scientific data and not to compare it to what happened in the Knight case for fear of appearing to be "building a case against Monsanto". Though undeniably true, Fox feared a claim of "defamation by implication", a matter that could not be won by summary judgement. Reporters were told if not winnable at summary judgement, the facts were not reportable on Fox 13: "The point you (reporters) don't get is it's not whether the facts are true, it's the way we present them. Summary judgement is my standard; those are my marching orders," reporters were told May 29. "I don't decide what goes on the air, (Fox General Manager) Dave Boylan does and he wanted this one to go away," counsel claimed.

Reporter Jane Akre to Riley Hogan, Tampa Dairy Co-Op: "Have you ever gotten a communication from a grocer or processing plant asking your members not to use it? (Hogan) No ma'am."
 
NARRATION 14: When we continue tomorrow, you'll see the man who controls much of Florida's milk supply admit how local supermarkets did once try to avoid milk from Florida cows injected with BGH. We'll show you exactly how their plan didn't work...and we'll reveal how the dairy industry has kept this issue so quiet for so long. 
Hogan: "It's only an issue if you make it an issue!"

Jane Akre, Fox 13 News.


Part III, Version 7

This script version, produced at the direction of Fox 13 management and their counsel, includes all changes mandated by them. Reporters' continuing objections are noted and explained in red throughout. Reporters continue to maintain, because of these objections, broadcast of this version of the script would present viewers with a slanted, biased and distorted view of this important health issue.
 
NARRATION 1: Should you be concerned about what we found Florida dairymen doing to their cows? Ask the men who market Florida fresh milk and they'll tell you:
Riley Hogan, Tampa Dairy Co-op: "...to them and certainly to me it's a non-issue and I think to the general public it's been somewhat of a non-issue."
 
NARRATION 2: Riley Hogan is talking about what many Florida farmers are doing...injecting their dairy cows with a synthetic bovine growth hormone or B-G-H to "rev them up" so they'll produce more milk. That milk is then co-mingled in tanks with other milk from cows that may or may not be getting the hormone. Whether you know it or not, by the time it's bottled, chances are milk from treated cows ends up in the jug you carry home. It's made the milk on your table one of the first genetically engineered foods ever to be fed to your family...and the population at large.
Jeff LeMaster, Consumer: "And for her now that she's eating people food we want to give her as much good stuff without the chemical additives as possible."
 
NARRATION 3: 

  

  

  

  

 

Grocers and the dairy industry know synthetic BGH in milk worries consumers like Jeff and Janet LeMaster. A whopping 74% of those questioned in this University of Wisconsin study released just last year expressed concern about unknown harmful human health effects which might show up later.
Robert Collier, chief Monsanto scientists for BGH product: "What they need to know is that the milk hasn't changed and that's the important thing here-the milk hasn't changed. (1)

(1) Reporters know and have well documented this to be a blatant misrepresentation of several studies, including one frequently cited by Monsanto, which indicates the milk is indeed different. Several studies have shown levels of the suspected cancer link IG F-1 is significantly higher in milk from treated cows, up to 20 times higher according to one study. Other studies confirm higher antibiotic levels in the milk as farmers inject cows with more drugs to fight BGH-caused infections. Fox has directed reporters "neutralize" these key facts by reporting that studies show the milk is "affected", as opposed to "altered". Deliberately failing to explain that the "affect" includes a markedly increased level of a known cancer promoter and higher antibiotic levels seriously slants this story and misleads the viewer.
 
NARRATION 4: That's the assurance of Monsanto, the giant St. Louis-based chemical company that began marketing BGH three years ago under the name Posilac. But those assurances haven't stopped the worries of scientists like Dr. Samuel Epstein of the University of Illinois School of Public Health (2) ...and government regulators in Canada, New Zealand and all of Europe who have refused to license the drug for sale in those countries. (3)
(2)Here again, reporters have been directed to minimize the credentials of a BGH critic. Deliberately minimizing Dr. Epstein's credentials-he has three medical degrees, has written 8 books, and is frequently called to testify about similar issues before Congress-stacks the deck and distorts the story by minimizing this experts' the true qualifications. This tactic misleads viewers by presenting him as a less credible source of information.

(3) Although reporters are allowed to report the drug has been banned by officials of other countries, they are not allowed to state why. Again, any direct reference to the feared link between BGH milk and long-term cancer risk is ordered out of the body of the report when Fox counsel says, "I'm going to throw my weight around and tell you what to do." Ultimately, throughout this entire Part III not only are all cancer references deleted, so is every interview with every BGH critic. This leaves the piece critically unbalanced and slanted.

File tape, 1993, consumer protestors chant: "Boycot BGH!
 
NARRATION 5: So three years ago when the drug was approved in America and protesters started dumping milk that contained it, your grocer and your milkman responded. (4)
(4) Reporters originally wrote, "Three years ago when the drug was approved in America and protestors started dumping milk that contained it, your grocer and your milkman decided something had to be done to protect sales." This was based on a clear, on-camera admission by the head of the Tampa dairy co-op who told us, "For good business reasons Publix and I both wanted to avoid the use of (BGH) until there was public acceptance." But to avoid reporting the advertiser's admitted motive of wanting to protect sales, reporters were directed to report only the "neutralized version" that when protestors started dumping milk "...your grocer and your milkman responded," without reference to their true motivation.

Riley Hogan, Tampa Dairy Co-op: "For good business reasons Publix and I both wanted to avoid the use of the product until there was public acceptance."
 
NARRATION 6: Maybe you recall these media reports from 1994 when Publix and Albertsons asked their Florida milk suppliers to not use BGH until it was accepted by consumers. (5) "...we will do our utmost to ensure that (people) don't get it" in their milk, Albertsons vowed. Riley Hogan wrote letters to this Florida dairymen to pass along the grocer's request.
 

(5) Fox counsel wrote this sentence and ordered reporters to use it instead of a more-direct, clear report which said, "Maybe you read how some big grocery chains like Publix and Albertsons used media reports to reassure consumers into believing (emphasis added) they would not be getting local milk..." This more directly answered a key question raised by these reports: How did this BGH get into the local milk supply without consumers' finding out?

Reporter Jane Akre to Riley Hogan: "Did any of the dairymen get back to you? (Hogan) No. (Akre) What was their response? (Hogan) They accepted it I guess. They didn't respond. (Akre) Did you follow-up with them and ask if they were using it? (Hogan) No, ma'am. (Akre) Was this sort of a don't-ask-don't-tell policy, then? (Hogan) No, no.
 
NARRATION 7: Minutes later, Fox 13 investigator Steve Wilson asked: 
eporter Steve Wilson to Hogan: "Was anything ever done to make sure they were honoring the request by Publix? I mean I know you honored the request, you wrote the letter, but did anybody ever do anything to see... (Hogan) I did not do anything more, no sir. (Wilson) and did Publix ask you to do more? (Hogan) I don't recall. I don't think so but I don't recall." (6)

(6) Again to neutralize any potentially negative impact of reporting responsibility on the part of grocers or dairymen, reporters were repeatedly ordered to minimize this aspect of the report. Among the mandated changes:

Reporters were ordered to remove direct language making it clear to the viewer that "nobody ever did anything but go through the motions of asking" farmers to keep BGH out of the milk supply

Reporters were ordered to delete similar direct language that "nothing was every done by anyone to prevent the drug from being used" on Florida's dairy herd

Reporters were told to remove language which makes it clear, based on the admission of the dairy co-op director, that supermarkets were aware that synthetic BGH was part of the milk supply "at the same time grocers were leading consumers to believe it wouldn't be used."

Reporters were ordered to remove this additional clear language which reveals why Florida consumers stopped protesting BGH use: "Consumers, thinking it wasn't being used here, stopped complaining and Florida farmers who belong to Riley Hogan's dairy co-op quietly started using it." This was removed based on counsel's insistence: "You can't tell me you asked any representative group of people" to corroborate this. We have provided documentation that, in fact, our source was the head of the Florida consumer group which led the statewide protest in 1994.

While these deletions may well minimize the negative fallout from grocers and dairymen (who are frequent advertisers), they contribute to an overall slant and distortion of this report by deliberating failing to disclose material truths about how consumers were misled apparently as a matter of policy by grocers and dairymen.
NARRATION 8: 

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

 

And how would grocers answer consumer concerns about BGH today? In response to inquiries I made as the mother of a 2-year-old, Publix wrote to say although they originally asked dairymen not to use it on their herds, "it is impossible for us to determine" whether or not they are.  

Albertsons acknowledged: "It is widely accepted in the industry that most all dairy farmers now use BGH" ... but "we do not know which or how many dairies use it".  

It's a different story at Food Lion. It's president Tom Smith wrote us: "We have asked our dairy producers not to purchase milk from dairies using Bovine Growth Hormone...and will make our decision as to whether to sell these products at a later date. 

We called the corporate office to confirm Smith's letter and a spokesperson said, if Florida dairies are using BGH "we don't buy from them." (7)

(7) Reporters were ordered to deliberately minimize and distort Food Lion's response to a present-day consumer inquiry about BGH in the following ways:
When reporters called Food Lion's president to confirm his letter was meant to convey a claim that the supermarket is not now buying milk from BGH-treated cows, this confirmation and erroneous information came from a woman who misrepresented herself as "Mr. Smith's assistant, someone who works directly for him" and was thereby qualified to make such representations. Reporters were ordered not to report what Food Lion has since admitted: that the woman is actually a Food Lion customer service clerk

Reporters were ordered not to report that the "presidential assistant" did far more than report the supermarket doesn't buy from farmers using BGH. What she actually said was that Food Lion has "inspectors who go around to make sure farmers aren't using it and if they are, we don't buy from them anymore." Food Lion has since admitted there are now such inspectors and the company is aware that synthetic BGH is unavoidably present in their milk supply. The company says the woman "misrepresented herself and over-spoke".

In addition to the deliberate misrepresentations in the company president's letter, the discoveries that another employee so readily backed it up with further detailed misrepresentations are material facts which may indicate a Food Lion policy to continue to mislead its customers. Failing to report this information distorts the picture of how Food Lion now responds to consumers concerned about BGH.

Ambient dairy barn sounds.
 
NARRATION 9: But meet dairy farmer Fred Gore. He tells us he uses it...and he says he supplies milk that ends up on the shelves at Food Lion now.
Fred Gore, Florida Dairy Farmer: "It speeds up their metabolism where they'll eat more feed and give more milk."
 
NARRATION 10: We followed up with Food Lion and another spokesperson told us Food Lion does in fact stock milk which likely contains synthetic BGH. And virtually every grocer we checked with said they couldn't say how widely the synthetic hormone is used in Florida because there is no scientific test to detect it. Of course you don't need a scientific test We simply asked farmers at seven farms we chose at random...and we didn't find a single one not using it. 
Reporter Jane Akre to Thurman Hatten, Florida dairy farmer: "And are people in Florida using it? (Hatten) I'd say yes, people in Florida are using it...yes!"

Ken Deaton, Dairy Manager: "I know we've used it since 1993..."

Reporter Jane Akre to Ben and Jerry: "Does that have BGH in it? Absolutely not!"
 
NARRATION 11: But not everybody's using it. Ben and Jerry, America's icons of ice cream, don't want anything to do with it...and they're leading the fight to give you a choice at the grocer's dairy case. 
Jerry Greenfield: "My son eats a lot of ice cream, drinks a lot of milk, eats a lot of cheese and given the choice I want him eating products that don't have BGH in them."

Jane Akre, Fox 13 News. 

 
 

Part IV, Version 9
This script version, produced at the direction of Fox 13 management and their counsel, includes all changes mandated by them. Reporters' continuing objections are noted and explained in red throughout. Reporters continue to maintain, because of these objections, broadcast of this version of the script would present viewers with a slanted, biased and distorted view of this important health issue.
 

Ben Cohen, Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream: "A big part of the issue is that consumers are well aware that what the FDA said was fine and healthy 10 and 20 years ago, the FDA is saying is really bad for you today...
 
NARRATION 1: It's one of the big reasons Ben and Jerry, makers of some of America's favorite ice cream, are so opposed to farmers injecting their dairy cows with Bovine Growth Hormone genetically engineered in a Monsanto chemical lab. They do it to rev up the cows to produce a lot more milk...but there are fears the government may have approved synthetic BGH without testing potential long-term human health effects on you and your family. (1) Monsanto says there is absolutely no cause for worry, its product is entirely safe. 
(1) Here again, reporters are instructed to delete any reference to the true cause for concern: the possibility of a link between BGH milk and cancer. Viewers are misled and the story distorted when the cause for concern is not clearly reported.

Robert Collier, chief Monsanto BGH scientist: " This is a product that was the most extensively reviewed product ever to go through the Center for Veterinary Medicine so ah-the implication that something wasn't done thoroughly is not true." (2)

(2) The company position is allowed to stand without challenge or balance because reporters have been instructed to delete voices of critics and discuss the basis of their differing points of view. Instead, this report proceeds to talk only about the consumers' right-to-know, another important and valid issue.

Ben continues: "Thalidomide, Saccharin, DDT, you know, so a lot of consumers are starting to say 'I want to make my own decisions'."
 
NARRATION 2: Ben and Jerry have long wanted to put labels on their nationally distributed ice cream products to alert consumers that none of it comes from cows injected with artificial BGH. But the makers of Chubby Hubby and Cherry Garcia quickly found officials in Illinois and at least three other states turning a cold shoulder to the idea. In some cases, products with similar labels were being confiscated by officials who agree with Monsanto that such labels are unnecessary and maybe even misleading.
Jerry Greenfield, Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream: "If someone wants to buy ice cream that is BGH-free, how is somebody gonna know? If they want to buy milk for their kids and they don't want BGH in it, how do they know? They can't even know!"
 
NARRATION 3: Monsanto has not only fought efforts to label products from cows injected with BGH...but supported regulations like those in Illinois that make it illegal for dairies not using it to let you know that
Ben Cohen: "And so Monsanto lobbies very, very strongly to prevent this labeling because they know if consumers have a choice it's very clear what choice they'd make."
 
NARRATION 4: In fact, we've obtained Monsanto's own survey which shows at least half the people believe milk from cows treated with synthetic hormone is different...and most of them think untreated cows produce safer milk. 
In Florida, state agriculture commissioner Bob Crawford supports what he says is the widespread use of the synthetic hormone...and he, too, opposes labeling.
Robert Crawford, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs: " There are a lot of things you could label and inundate the consumer with all kinds of information that's not necessary and this is one of them."

Reporter Jane Akre on camera: "Here in Florida no legislator has ever proposed a law to require dairy products be labeled so you can easily identify which come from BGH-treated cows. Commissioner Crawford says he would oppose such a law. He and a number of state lawmakers have received generous contributions from Monsanto and Florida dairy interests but Crawford says that had no influence on his position because he doesn't even recall the gifts.

Commissioner Crawford: "If they did I appreciate it but it won't effect this issue, it must not have been very much or I would have remembered it."

Natural sounds at Golden Fleece dairy
 
NARRATION 5: Our investigation has found only one dairy in Florida which produces milk from cows not treated with BGH...and what happened when the folks at the Golden Fleece dairy in Central Florida wanted to label their products as synthetic BGH-free? Well, first they say Commissioner Crawford's people strongly discouraged it, but what really deterred them was a fear Monsanto-the company which makes the hormone-would come after them in court. 
 
Glen Norton, Golden Fleece Dairy: "From the information I heard and read I was afraid at some point that if we tried to do extra labeling that Monsanto could cause damage to my small, fragile business."
 
NARRATION 6: 

  

  

Norton and others like him may have reason to be scared. Right after Monsanto started marketing its BGH three years ago, a number of dairies that didn't use it began to label their products so consumers would know.
 
Dr. Robert Collier: "In fact, there are quite a few co-ops that  do just that and we have not opposed that at all." (3)

(3) Reporters were directed to minimize clear and documented evidence this statement is false. Leading out of this statement, reporters original made it clear to viewers "But that is not true," and went on to explain how Monsanto filed lawsuits against at least two small dairies to block their labeling efforts. Repeated protests allowed only the following explanation to stand without a clear and simple reference to the fact the company official's statement is flatly untrue.
 
NARRATION 7: But Monsanto filed lawsuits against two of them and those dairies stopped labeling. Monsanto then spread the news with follow-up letters to other dairies that apparently saw the writing on the wall...and also stopped. 

At Golden Fleece, Norton says he hopes the generic wording on his new labels will alert consumers without sparking a legal battle with Monsanto.

Glenn Norton: "I think hormone (free) is the best way to describe it and other products will follow suit, and in a generic sense it will cover all the bases."
 
NARRATION 8: The labels on Ben and Jerry's ice cream will soon be different, too, in wake of a legal victory in Illinois. Officials there will now allow a label which says "We oppose...bovine growth hormone" and "the family farmers who supply our milk and cream pledge not to treat their cows with (synthetic) BGH". The label will also carry wording that the FDA has said there is no significant difference between milk from treated and untreated cows, a claim some scientists sharply question. (4) That wording, by the way, was written by Michael Taylor, an attorney who worked for Monsanto both before and after his time as an FDA official. 

Some dairy people say Ben and Jerry have jumped on the anti-BGH bandwagon as just a way to sell more of their ice cream.

(4) Reporters' originally wrote: "Some respected scientists cite recent studies which suggest injecting cows with BGH leads to milk with higher levels of a substance believed to promote cancer." Again, reporters have been blocked from any effort to inform viewers of the basis of this concern about BGH.

For example, as in Parts II and III, all statements by BGH critic Dr. William von Meyer-five interview segments in all-have been ordered out.

Ben Cohen, Ben & Jerry's: "The tremendous amount of chemicals that's used in conventional agriculture is having a horrible effect on the environment and on the health of our citizens and our customers and you know, (laugh), if you want to say is it our self-interest? Yeah! We want to keep our customers alive. They eat more ice cream when they're alive!"
 
NARRATION 9: As part of an effort to influence these reports, a lawyer hired by Monsanto wrote a Fox television executive saying the discussion of any possible link between the use of synthetic BGH and cancer is "...the most blatant form of scare mongering". In a second letter, he said Monsanto critics are in all probability "scientifically incompetent". He is referring to critics among them Dr. Samuel Epstein at the University of Illinois School of Public Health and the Cancer Prevention Coalition. Like other BGH critics, Epstein says it's wrong to introduce a product into the marketplace when there are as yet unresolved human health questions.
 
Dr. Samuel Epstein, Scientist, University of Illinois: "We're living in the greatest democracy in the world in many ways but in other ways were in a corporate dictatorship in which big government and big industry decide what information the consumer can and should have and its the objective of me and the Cancer Prevention Coalition to assure that this information be made available and let the public decide...and let grass-root citizens take over where government and industry has failed."

Jane Akre, FOX 13 News.


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