NEXT DEVELOPMENT:
Wilson-Akre & 
Legal team to consider
Alternates...
Will Fox retaliate?

Report Archive:

ˇ February 19, 2003:
Appeals Court Reverses
Jury verdict



ˇ February 14, 2003:
WTVT Ruling Coverage


ˇ February 14, 2003:
Florida Court Ruling (pdf)


ˇ April 9, 2002:
O
ral Arguments Set in Fox Whistleblower Case 


ˇ April 9, 2002:
Akre Appeal and Documents


ˇ April 9, 2002:
Wilson Appeal and Documents


ˇ November 2, 2000:
J
ury Veridct Stands

ˇ October 12, 2000:
JUDGE RELUCTANT TO SET ASIDE JURY VERDICT
Fox gets 15 days to submit 
new brief 


ˇ September 7 2000:
BOTH SIDES APPEAL JURY VERDICT
Trial judge will hear
arguments October 12

ˇ August 26, 2000:
VERDICT DOESN'T STOP FOX FROM CONTINUING TO DISTORT THE NEWS
News, Analysis and Commentary about how Fox twists news of verdict and 
reports "total vindication"

ˇ August 18, 2000:
VICTORY IN COURT!
Full coverage of the jury's 
decision in the Fox/BGH suit

ˇ August 5, 2000:
Guest Editorial


ˇ July 27, 2000:
Trial Coverage: Days 8-9
Startling Admission from Fox
V-P Who Fired Wilson/Akre

ˇ July 26, 2000:
Trial Coverage: Day 7
V-P News Lays Claim To
Insanity Defense

ˇ July 24, 2000:
Trial Coverage: Day 6
Second week of trial begins

ˇ July 21, 2000:
Trial Coverage: Day 5
Week one ends with a bang;
Fox seeks mistrial, Judge
says no

ˇ  July 20, 2000:
Trial Coverage: Days 3 and 4 

ˇ July 18, 2000:
Trial Coverage: Day 2


ˇ July 17, 2000:
Trial Coverage: Day 1

ˇ July 14, 2000:
Justice For Sale In Tampa?
Finally at the courthouse,
litigants can't afford to use
the courtroom facilities

ˇ July 12, 2000:
Fox Loses Key Motion; Jury
Is Seated

Plaintiffs do not have to
prove Fox guilty of violating Communications Act

ˇ July 8, 2000:
Potential Landmine Could
Derail Entire Case

ˇ June 30, 2000:
Judge Steinberg Ready To
Get Case Back On Track

ˇ June 26, 2000:
Another Judge Says 'No' to Hearing Wilson/Akre v Fox Case

ˇ June 21, 2000:
Still No Judge To Hear Fox/BGH Case While Foxes Dishes More Distortion To WTVT Tampa Viewers

ˇ June 16, 2000:
Trial Date Pushed Back Again; New Judge To Be Selected

ˇ June 8, 2000:
Fox  Manager Who Fired Akre and Wilson In Tampa Gets Big Promotion 
David Boylan Flies Into The Sunset to Manage KTTV, Los Angeles

ˇ June 6, 2000:
Fox Trial Will Start Sooner Than Expected
It will proceed in the heat of the summer, probably in July

ˇ May 25, 2000:
Fox Trial Will Not Start June 12 as Scheduled

ˇ May 18, 2000:
Fox Still Stalls on Testimony of Its president Mitchell Stern
Pre-trial hearing is otherwise uneventful

ˇ May 8, 2000:
Ralph Nader Testifies About Broadcasters' Public Interest Requirement
Presidential candidate gives testimony at pre-trial depo 

ˇ May 5, 2000:
Court-ordered Mediation Is Brief and Unsuccessful
Trial set to begin June 12

ˇ April 28,2000:
Fox Challenges rBGH Experts At Depositions

Fox lawyers laying ground-
work to tell jurors experts are cancer scaremongers?

ˇ April 26,2000:
Walter Cronkite Testifies on Behalf of Akre & Wilson
Fox lawyers lodge objections

ˇ October 19:
Fox Lawyers Insist On Secrecy At Deposition
French TV Ejected

ˇ October 18:
FDA Wants Comments on G-M Foods
Public Meetings Start in November

ˇ October 13:
Judge Rules: Trial Will Proceed: Defense loses third effort to have case dismissed

ˇ September 24:
MSNBC: Gene-modified foods might get labels:
Industry weighs voluntary steps, U.S. studies options as well

ˇ September 20:
Trial Still Set to Start Soon: Busy Docket Delays foxBGHsuit

ˇ August 4:
MSNBC: Mutable Feast:
Will the fight over gene-altered food products leapfrog across the Atlantic?

ˇ June 30:
Consumers International:
UN Health Group Shuns BGH

ˇ June 1:
New York Times:
Farmers’ Right To Sue Grows - Food Warning Muzzle Likely

ˇ May 10:
Corporate Crime Reporter:
Monsanto Officials Join Leading Consumer, Environmental Groups

ˇ May 3:
Fox Deceives Viewers in Primetime, Too
Net Admits Staging after INSIDE EDITION Report

ˇ April 30:
Democracy Group Award to Akre/Wilson
Fired Reporters Cited for "Courage in Journalism"

ˇ April 29:
New Trial Date is October 11
Fox Piles On Big-Name Lawyers

ˇ April 17:
Clinton Lawyer Joins Fox Legal Team
David Kendall Involvement Confirmed in Letter to Monsanto

ˇ April 16:
Fox Pleads for Another Delay
Later Trial Date to be Set April 29th

ˇ April 1:
Judge Says BGH Case Will Go To Trial
Opening Gavel Falls May 10th

ˇ February 16:
PENTHOUSE Exposes BGH, Fox Coverup:
First-rate story of BGH situation and lawsuit against Fox TV (rated G -- no nudity, just the story)

ˇ January 25:
ENS Summary of BGH Developments

ˇ January 14:
How Fox Wanted to Slant News of Canadian Concerns
Canadian BGH Concerns Were Big Issue In Firing of Fox Reporters

ˇ January 14:
Canada Says NO to BGH!
Read the CBC Story or View-Listen to report with RealPlayer

ˇ January 14:
Health Canada Rejects Bovine Growth Hormone in Canada
Government News Release

ˇ December 16:
Akre & Wilson Win Courage Award
For Work On Story Which Cost Them Their Jobs

ˇ December 15:
ABC NEWS Catches Up on BGH
Read the ABC Story or View-Listen to report with RealPlayer

ˇ November 7:
FOX Legal (8/28) Answers
to Reporters' Complaint Now Available

ˇ November 1:
Monsanto and Fox: Partners in Censorship
PR Watch - Showcase Article

ˇ October 30:
Canadians Probe Coverup Claim
Read CBC Story or View-Listen to report with RealPlayer

ˇ October 24:
Reporters Get Top SPJ Ethics Award

ˇ October 22:
BGH Issue Explodes in Canada:
Read CBC Story or View-Listen to report with RealPlayer

ˇ October 7:
SECRET Canadian Study Leaked...
...BGH safety questions unanswered?

ˇ Sept 13:
Akre-Wilson Depos Start

ˇ Sept 10:
TIMES/St. Petersburg
SP Times covers NutraSweet flap

ˇ Sept 10:
Our Story: Fox Still Protecting Monsanto?

ˇ Sept 8:
Fox Pulls Plug on NutraSweet Foe

ˇ Sept 1:
Reporters Respond To Defense

ˇ READ story FOX-TV refused to air...
or View-Listen to report with RealPlayer

ˇ July 14:
Judge refuses to dismiss
all but one count of reporters' suit

ˇ July 5:
OBSERVER/London
Digger Still Plays Dirty

ˇ July 1:
Depositions Continue, Trial Date Set

ˇ June 7:
TIMES/St. Petersburg
Akre/Wilson Preparing FCC Complaint

ˇ May 26:
Judge rejects Defense motion
for Protective Order

ˇ May 25:
WEEKLY PLANET/Tampa:
Grazing A Stink - - -Don't Have a Cow

ˇ May 23:
NEW YORK TIMES:
(Silenced) Reporters... Post Web Site

ˇ May 21:
Wilson/Akre demand on-air correction

ˇ April 29:
FOX-TV asks court:
Dismiss case and Delay depositions

APPEALS COURT
REVERSES 
JURY VERDICT


FOX CLAIMS "VINDICATION"
...WILSON-AKRE SEE DANGEROUS PRECEDENT


By JANE AKRE
Filed February 19, 2003

            Accepting a defense rejected by three other Florida state judges in at least six separate motions, a Florida appeals court has reversed the $425,000  jury verdict in favor of journalist Jane Akre who charged she was pressured by Fox Television management and lawyers to air what she knew and documented to be false information. 

            In a six-page written decision released February 14, the court essentially ruled the journalist never stated a valid whistle-blower claim because, they ruled, it is technically not against any law, rule, or regulation to deliberately lie or distort the news on a television broadcast.

            In the lawsuit filed in 1998, Akre claimed she was wrongfully terminated for threatening to blow the whistle to the FCC.  After a five-week trial that ended August 18, 2000, a six-person jury was unanimous in its conclusion that she was indeed fired for threatening 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. 

            In overturning the jury on what amounts to a legal technicality, the court did not dispute the heart of Akre’s claim, that Fox pressured her to broadcast a false story to protect the broadcaster from having to defend the truth in court, as well as suffer the ire of irate advertisers. 

            Nonetheless, the station aired a report in wake of the ruling saying it was “totally vindicated” by the verdict.  CLICK HERE to view how story was told on WTVT/Fox13.

            The “threshold issue,” the court wrote—and all it ruled upon—was whether the technical qualifications for a whistleblower claim were ever met by Akre.

            In Florida, to file such a claim, the employer misconduct must be a violation of an adopted law, rule or regulation.  Fox argued from the first—and repeatedly failed in front of three different judges—to have the case tossed out on the grounds there is no hard, fast, and written rule against deliberate distortion of the news. 

            In essence, the news organization owned by media baron Rupert Murdoch, argued the First Amendment gives broadcasters the right to even lie or deliberately distort news reports on the public airwaves.

            In it’s opinion, the Court of Appeal held that the Federal Communications Commission position against news distortion is only a “policy,” not a promulgated law, rule, or regulation.

            The court let stand without comment the jury verdict that awarded nothing to Steve Wilson, Akre’s husband and co-plaintiff in the case.  He aggressively represented himself at trial, paving the way for Fox attorneys to suggest he was as aggressive in the newsroom as he was in the courtroom and perhaps that was why he was fired.

            Akre and Wilson were meeting with their attorneys to discuss a possible appeal of the ruling to Florida’s Supreme Court and are expected to have an announcement and further comment soon.

            Text of ruling available on line at:
District Court Website
(www.2dca.org - opinions)

Stories Posted Previously:

JUDGE RELUCTANT TO SET ASIDE JURY VERDICT; GIVES FOX 15 DAYS TO SUBMIT ANOTHER BRIEF

BOTH SIDES FILE APPEALS OF JURY VERDICT

DELIBERATE DISTORTION OF NEWS ON FOX TV CONTINUES WITH FALSE REPORTS OF VERDICT

VICTORY IN COURT -- FULL COVERAGE OF THE JURY'S VERDICT IN THE FOX/BGH SUIT

GUEST EDITORIAL:  WAKE UP, YOU WATCHDOGS

TRIAL COVERAGE:  STARTLING ADMISSIONS FROM FOX V-P WHO FIRED WILSON/AKRE

TRIAL COVERAGE:  INSANITY DEFENSE FOR FOX?

TRIAL COVERAGE:  SECOND WEEK BEGINS

TRIAL COVERAGE:  WEEK ONE ENDS WITH BANG

TRIAL COVERAGE:  DAYS THREE AND FOUR

TRIAL COVERAGE:  DAY TWO

TRIAL COVERAGE:  DAY ONE


JUSTICE FOR SALE AT THE COURTHOUSE?

FOX AIRS ANOTHER DISTORTED STORY ON rBGH

TRIAL DELAYED; NEW JUDGE TO BE CHOSEN

FOX MGR WHO FIRED JOURNOS GETS PROMOTED TO FOX'S SECOND-BIGGEST STATION

TRIAL TO START SOON, LATE JUNE/EARLY JULY

TRIAL DELAYED AGAIN WILL NOT START 6/12

FOX STALLS ON TESTIMONY OF ITS PRESIDENT

RALPH NADER TESTIFIES RE PUBLIC INTEREST

MEDIATION IS BRIEF AND UNSUCCESSFUL

FOX CHALLENGES PLAINTIFFS' rBGH EXPERTS

CRONKITE TESTIFIES FOR AKRE & WILSON 


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