July 18, 2000:
Trial Coverage: Days 3 and 4
July 18, 2000:
Trial Coverage: Day 2
July 17, 2000:
Trial Coverage: Day 1
July 14, 2000:
Justice For Sale In Tampa?
Finally at the courthouse,
litigants can't afford to use
the courtroom facilities
July 12, 2000:
Fox Loses Key Motion; Jury
Plaintiffs do not have to
prove Fox guilty of violating Communications Act
July 8, 2000:
Potential Landmine Could
Derail Entire Case
June 30, 2000:
Judge Steinberg Ready To
Get Case Back On Track
June 26, 2000:
Judge Says 'No' to Hearing Wilson/Akre v Fox Case
June 21, 2000:
Judge To Hear Fox/BGH Case While Foxes Dishes More Distortion To WTVT Tampa
June 16, 2000:
Date Pushed Back Again; New Judge To Be Selected
June 8, 2000:
Manager Who Fired Akre and Wilson In Tampa Gets Big Promotion
David Boylan Flies Into The Sunset to Manage KTTV, Los Angeles
June 6, 2000:
Will Start Sooner Than Expected
It will proceed in the heat of the summer, probably in July
May 25, 2000:
Will Not Start June 12 as Scheduled
May 18, 2000:
Stalls on Testimony of Its president Mitchell Stern
Pre-trial hearing is otherwise uneventful
Testifies About Broadcasters' Public Interest Requirement
Presidential candidate gives testimony at pre-trial depo
May 5, 2000:
Court-ordered Mediation Is Brief and
Trial set to begin June 12
Fox Challenges rBGH
Experts At Depositions
Fox lawyers laying ground-
work to tell jurors experts are cancer scaremongers?
Testifies on Behalf of Akre & Wilson
Fox lawyers lodge objections
Fox Lawyers Insist On Secrecy At Deposition
French TV Ejected
FDA Wants Comments on G-M Foods
Public Meetings Start in November
Judge Rules: Trial Will Proceed:
Defense loses third effort to have case dismissed
Gene-modified foods might get labels:
Industry weighs voluntary steps, U.S. studies options as well
Trial Still Set to Start Soon:
Busy Docket Delays foxBGHsuit
Will the fight over gene-altered food products leapfrog across the Atlantic?
UN Health Group Shuns BGH
New York Times:
Farmers Right To Sue Grows - Food Warning Muzzle Likely
Corporate Crime Reporter:
Monsanto Officials Join Leading Consumer, Environmental Groups
Fox Deceives Viewers in Primetime,
Net Admits Staging after INSIDE EDITION Report
Democracy Group Award to
Fired Reporters Cited for "Courage in Journalism"
New Trial Date is October
Fox Piles On Big-Name Lawyers
Clinton Lawyer Joins Fox
David Kendall Involvement Confirmed in Letter to Monsanto
Fox Pleads for Another Delay
Later Trial Date to be Set April 29th
Judge Says BGH Case Will
Go To Trial
Opening Gavel Falls May 10th
PENTHOUSE Exposes BGH,
First-rate story of BGH situation and lawsuit against Fox TV
(rated G -- no nudity, just the story)
Summary of BGH Developments
How Fox Wanted to Slant News
of Canadian Concerns
Canadian BGH Concerns Were Big Issue In Firing of Fox Reporters
Canada Says NO to BGH!
Read the CBC Story or
Health Canada Rejects Bovine Growth Hormone in Canada
Government News Release
Akre & Wilson Win Courage
For Work On Story Which Cost Them Their Jobs
ABC NEWS Catches Up on BGH
Read the ABC Story or
FOX Legal (8/28) Answers
to Reporters' Complaint Now Available
and Fox: Partners in Censorship
PR Watch - Showcase Article
Canadians Probe Coverup Claim
Read CBC Story or
Reporters Get Top SPJ Ethics
BGH Issue Explodes in Canada:
Read CBC Story or
SECRET Canadian Study Leaked...
...BGH safety questions unanswered?
Akre-Wilson Depos Start
SP Times covers NutraSweet flap
Our Story: Fox Still Protecting
Fox Pulls Plug on NutraSweet
Reporters Respond To Defense
story FOX-TV refused to air...
Judge refuses to dismiss
all but one count of reporters' suit
Digger Still Plays Dirty
Depositions Continue, Trial Date
Akre/Wilson Preparing FCC Complaint
Judge rejects Defense motion
for Protective Order
Grazing A Stink
- - -Don't Have a Cow
NEW YORK TIMES:
(Silenced) Reporters... Post Web Site
Wilson/Akre demand on-air correction
FOX-TV asks court:
and Delay depositions
FOX DEMANDS A MISTRIAL,
JUDGE STEINBERG SAYS 'NO'
By STEVE WILSON
TAMPA (July 21, 2000)Just minutes after the jury began
hearing more testimony in the Fox/BGH trial here Friday morning, Fox
attorney William McDaniels demanded the judge declare a mistrial in
claimed that co-plaintiff Jane Akre had improperly influenced the
jury in the way she answered a question submitted by one of the
jurors. (A new Florida law gives jurors the right to take
notes and pose questions to any witness in a state court trial that
lasts longer than five days.)
AKRE ON THE
Her Answer Caused A Stir
Akre had finished two days of testimony and cross-examination and
had returned to the witness chair to answer a number of questions
posed by jurors.
One of the jurors passed a note to the judge asking this
question: What if anything was Ms. Akre doing between October
1997 and September 1998 (employment).
In her response, Akre said she was still employed by Fox
until December 2, 1997 and until that date she was still talking
with station attorneys and others at WTVT in an effort to get the
BGH story on the air.
The Fox attorney leaped to his feet with an objection, the
jury was asked to leave the courtroom, and the defendants counsel
told the judge that Akres comment unfairly prejudiced the jury in
a way the defendant could not hope to repair.
He claimed the fact Akre even mentioned conversations
with Fox attorneys had improperly revealed to the jury that
settlement discussions were going on between the parties.
McDaniels claimed the response violated the judges
pre-trial ruling that no details of the second Fox offer to
pay off the plaintiffs could be disclosed to the jury.
(Out-of-court settlement discussions are not revealed because
if they could be used as evidence in trial, it would discourage
people from ever even attempting to settle disputes without filing a
The defense attorney charged that because the lawyers for
both sides were advised of the questions the night before, Akre had
deliberately constructed her answer to sneak in testimony that the
judge had already ruled inadmissible.
In denying the motion for a mistrial, the judge decided that
Akres answer did not infer any settlement discussion but only, as
the witness actually said, that there were talks aimed at getting
the BGH story on the air.
Foxs effort to
derail the trial came just a day after the defendant lost its
repeated bids to block the testimony of Ralph Nader. Nader told the jurors that
|broadcasters have a legal and ethical duty to do act
in the public interest, not just in the interest of what may be best
for their corporate bottom line.
Of course I am no lawyer but it seems to me the defendant
would not be trying to stop this trial if they believed it was going
well for them, Akre said of the motion for a mistrial.
LISTENS TO TESTIMONY
(Note: Juror in Front Row, Far Right Has Been Excused)
| The fired
reporter was also asked by a juror if she and her family still
consume dairy products.
that as a result of her investigation into BGH, she now buys and
consumes only milk from cows not injected with the artificial
Science Experts Testify
After Akre completed answering at least seven questions from the
jurors, journalism expert Forrest Carr took the stand for the
Carr, was a news manager in Tampa where he directed an
award-winning investigative unit before becoming news director for
the ABC station in Tucson in 1998.
He has also co-authored a journalism textbook, writing
portions that deal with journalism ethics.
"Stand Up For Truth"
Carr told the jurors that the foremost obligation of all
journalists no matter where they work is to seek the truth and
report it fairly and accurately.
He went through the BGH script mandated by Fox managers and
repeatedly pointed out problems.
Stopping on virtually every page, he cited important
information that was missing or presented without necessary context.
The witness testified that he had carefully reviewed the alternative
version the reporters prepared and found it to be a much better
story which could have been even stronger.
The news manager said he had also read many of the documents
in the case, including a number of contentious memos back and forth
between the reporters and their Fox news managers.
He testified that sometimes when news managers are not
responding to a reporters concerns about ethical issues, it is
important and necessary that a journalist raise his voice.
Carr said reporters must remember at all times that their
duty is to the public and to report the facts without undue
influence by the subjects of the story. Corporate concerns about the ultimate cost of such reporting
must always come second, he said, pointing out that stations can
elect not to do any investigative reporting at all if news
organizations want to minimize risk.
Carr said he never saw any evidence that Akre and Wilson
crossed the line into insubordination or improper conduct of
any kind in the newsroom or elsewhere.
He said the reporters had a duty to tell their news managers
of their concerns and to resist reporting information they believed
to be false or misleading.
He also testified that quitting and just walking away from
such disputes in not in the public interest, although most reporters
really have no other practical choice.
Dr. Michael Hansen, Science Expert
Michael Hansen of Consumers Union followed Carr on the stand.
testified about the process of FDA approval for the product and
safety assurances the government and others have given.
He explained that insufficient testing for human toxicity
means there is no assurance the product is safe for milk drinkers.
Consumers Union has called for a ban on use of rBGH until
adequate testing is done.
After questioning by Akre
attorney Tom Johnson of the Tampa firm of Chamblee & Johnson,
Hansen told co-plaintiff Wilson who is representing himself in the
suit, that the FDA and its scientists have made conflicting
statements about whether hormone injections change the composition
of the cows milk.
Wilson showed the jury, and Hansen confirmed, that even
though the FDA has said there is no difference, it has also
reporting statistically significant changes in the levels of IGF-1,
a potent cancer promoter in humans.
The trial resumes Monday at 8:30 a.m. when the Plaintiffs
will show excerpts of the videotaped deposition of Daniel Webster,
the former Fox news director who hired and promised to support the
work of Akre and Wilson.
Magazine: Bad Blood Over