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Reporters Challenge License of FOX station for Reporting False and Distorted News

Reported by Ellen - January 24, 2005

According to the Tampa Tribune, Two Florida reporters are challenging the license renewal of FOX television station WTVT in Tampa for intentionally airing false and distorted news reports.

The two reporters claim the station violated the public trust by ordering them to slant news reports they were preparing in 1997 about a growth hormone given to dairy cattle in Florida. According to the reporters, they were ordered to put a favorable slant on their story because the station was afraid of a lawsuit from Monsanto, the hormone maker. The reporters refused to alter their report and were fired. The station subsequently aired a story they claim contained lies and distortions.

The reporters filed suit against the station. One received a jury award of $425,000 because the station was found to have retaliated against her for blowing the whistle. That award was overturned on appeal because the station was found not to have violated any state laws. The other reporter contended that "the court found that it's not against the law to distort the news." The two reporters waited until the station's license came up for renewal to file their current complaint.

One of the reporters said, "The FCC has said that rigging or slanting the news is a most heinous act against the public interest... If the FCC is concerned about obscenity, there is nothing more obscene than lying to the public."

Thanks to Buzzflash.com for alerting me to this story.

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