Six years ago, Fox News successfully argued in court that it had a constitutional right to report lies


 The mainstream media have almost entirely ignored a court case in which lawyers for Fox News argued six years ago that their client has a right under the First Amendment to peddle falsehoods in the guise of news.

 Nor did THIS BLOG POST of four months ago regarding the matter gain widespread circulation.

 An excerpt:

 On August 18, 2000, journalist Jane Akre won $425,000 in a court ruling where she charged she was pressured by Fox News management and lawyers to air what she knew and documented to be false information.

 The real information: she found out cows in Florida were being injected with RBGH, a drug designed to make cows produce milk – and, according to FDA-redacted studies, unintentionally designed to make human beings produce cancer.

 Fox lawyers, under pressure by the Monsanto Corporation (who produced RBGH), rewrote her report over 80 times to make it compatible with the company’s requests. She and her husband, journalist Steve Wilson, refused to air the edited segment.

 In February 2003, Fox appealed the decision and an appellate court and had it overturned. Fox lawyers argued it was their first amendment right to report false information. In a six-page written decision, the Court of Appeals decided the FCC’s position against news distortion is only a “policy,” not a “law, rule, or regulation.”



  1. One comment: Fox News.

  2. m.ruesing

    Thats what makes fox news so refreshing is that they report all the lies that are out there missleading folks. someone has to stand for truth. If you dont know what lies are being said you dont know how to confront them

  3. Terrell Lewis

    Fox News is only the most blatant. The problem is corporate owned news. We simply don’t have enough free and independent press.

  4. Craig Knauss

    Well there you have it: Fox is just defending the Constitution. LMAO

  5. m.ruesing: You seem to think the court case was about Fox reporting on the lies of others. It wasn’t. It was about Fox claiming a constitutional right to peddle its own lies.

  6. MSNBC has done the same misleading thing..
    Like the black man with the assualt rifle in arizona and they tried to make it sound as if it was whites hating a black man.

    They even edited it to appear as if it was just whites when indeed is was a black man carrying the gun.

    So MSNBC is just as guilty at misleading the public.

    That was just one incident and there are more.

  7. Roger: You say “there are more.” Tell us about them. Tell us about the time MSNBC when to court to claim its constitutional right to peddle lies. Oh, wait. That wasn’t MSNBC. That was Fox.

  8. You are oddly obsessed with Fox News. You may want to consider turning off your t.v. or a good therapist.

  9. expdoc: Correctly parsed, your advice to me is to “consider turning off…a good therapist.” But that’s no challenge. Any good therapist could easily tell that there’s nothing wrong with me and therefore would be turned off by the likelihood that there would be no further visits and no further fees.

    But, hey. thanks anyway.

    Oh, one other thing. I’m not any more “oddly obsessed with Fox News” than Fox News is oddly obsessed with ridiculous characterizations of Obama and blatant aversions to the truth.

    Besides, Fox is a hot topic these days. My business is to exploit the hot topics of my choosing. That’s how I attract so many readers, including you.

    If you don’t like my obsessions, the blogosphere offers plenty of other choices, many of which are right up your ideological alley. Of course, I’d prefer that you stay with us. I enjoy having you around. And I find your obsessions as peculiar as you find mine.

    We could do without the likes of Snuss, mike, richard and gowader, but you’re relatively tolerable.

  10. Interesting though to note that this incident took place at Fox affiliate WVTV in Florida.

    Here is an article by Lawrence Grossman, former head of NBC that describes what happened and why the courts ruled as they did.Threatened with a law suit by Monsanto this is what happened:

    “In the face of those threats, with production of the series still not finished, and with the station’s news management raising content questions of its own, WTVT decided to delay the broadcast of Akre’s and Wilson’s stories. Throughout much of 1997, news director Metlin, together with an army of news editors, station executives, and lawyers, worked with the reporters to try to produce what one lawyer called a fair, accurate, balanced, and verifiable story that would protect the station from “risk or harm caused by inaccuracy, carelessness, lack of balance, or perceived bias.” The shots that Monsanto had fired across the station’s bow obviously struck home. ”

    Grossman then notes the report did air and the information was conveyed to the public … by Fox…..

    “A month after Akre and Wilson filed their suit, WTVT did broadcast what seemed to this observer to be a strong and effective three-part investigative series on the subject, produced by a different reporter, Nathan Lang. His series was hardly any different in substance from the versions that Akre and Wilson and the station had been battling over the previous year.


    Any chance that the MSM hasn’t reported on this because they cheered the ruling themselves? I see deliberate distortions and lies on MSNBC every time I tune in.

    NIce try at distortion of the events yourself Pat, thank God the Supremes ruled in your favor.

  11. expdoc –

    I watch MSNBC regularly and I would be interested in any ‘distortions and lies’ they have perpetrated. If I’ve been duped, I’d like to know about it. Got a heads up on any particular thing?

  12. Orlando Clay

    expdoc wrote: “I see deliberate distortions and lies on MSNBC every time I tune in.”

    Like Henry, I, too, watch MSNBC more than ClusterFox and CNN combined I certainly see and hear OPINIONS on MSNBC, but I would appreciate it if you could provide us Libs with conclusive proof of “distortions and lies” that have been broadcast on MSNBC.
    Actual video footage or official transcripts preferred. (And, no, links to lunatic fringe Web sites like WorldNetDaily and FreeRepublic where hearsay runs rampant, are not acceptable.)

  13. Two easy incidents that come to mind are the recent deliberate concealing of the African American gun toting tea party attendee and this incident where O’Reilly was accused of racism because of comments deliberatley taken out of context.

    and here’s one where the Democrats accuse MSNBC of lying


  14. I have another post with too many links awaiting moderations, but here’s a less significant example.


  15. Orlando Clay

    Not very convincing, expdoc. Actually, quite lame. Something tells me that the “on-the- record denial” came as a post-script, sometime AFTER Keith O. nailed Fox.

    Oh, well, if nothing else, your link demonstrates that there are a few Cons out there who are pretty good at editing and cropping video for purposes of distortion.

  16. Craig Knauss

    doc, anyone can post almost anything on youtube, factual or not. Is that the best source you can come up with?

  17. Wait for the post in moderation. Pat is out on the town,

  18. Here’s a funny one about the intellectual,master sportscaster KO


  19. How about another from the loony ED?


    I’m getting tired now and actually have to do some work. The bottom line….we could post back and forth forever about errors or perceived errors made by any news organization.

    Although liberals don’t believe this, people are smart, they watch and read multiple sources and have a pretty good idea of when they are trying to be deceived. I think it explains the rising ratings of Fox. People don’t trust the MSM to tell the whole story (see ACORN,Van Jones, John Edwards love child etc.) They are merely seeking more information. You libs always assume that those who listen to Rush and watch fox etc. are merely minions that do their every bidding.

    Now that the WhiteHouse is stooping to playing the same game, and after the recent legislative hijinks that have gone on, just watch their ratings skyrocket. the American people don’t like the BS coming from D.C. and they are ever more vigilant.

  20. expdoc –

    These links you posted are really lame. Ann Coulter, Newsbusters.com, an anonymous video on YouTube? I was expecting examples where KO lied about something important, maybe healthcare or Afghanistan, Iran, etc…. Even if he did lie about ratings numbers when Tim Russert died, who cares. sShow me lies about something important. So far, you haven’t shown me a thing.

  21. Orlando and Henry. Here is a MSNBC video were they distorted the truth here.
    It was a black man carrying the assault rifle ,yet msnbc tried to turn it into a racial thing.

    And yes it was a black man with the gun in Arizona and has been proved a hundred times over.


  22. And here is the (REAL)video of the man MSNBC so convenietly edited so you could not see it was not a white person as MSNBC would have wanted us to believe.


  23. Roger –

    I see what you are saying about the edited version of the msnbc tape. If the three commentators knew that the man carrying the gun was in fact black, that is surely a distortion on their part. If they only say the edited video and were not told the man was NOT white, I don’t think it can be called a distortion, more like an error in assuming the man was white. As far as viewership, 3 million watch O’Reilly, the most popular show on cable. About one percent of the US population. He is only preaching to the choir. Big deal.

    Pat – did you just delete a post which contained a bigoted comment by one of the wingnut regulars here at Applesauce? If so, you should have left it, showing what an ignorant knuckledragger he is.

  24. expdoc –

    Any time with those KO distortions.

  25. Henry: The answer to the question you pose at the end of your comment (No. 31) is affirmative. There are certain kinds of language I don’t allow here. End of subject.

  26. The issue isn’t that news stations that aren’t Fox or Rush don’t lie.

    It’s that they lie drastically less.

    It isn’t stuff in gray-area topics like quoting different sources or faking evidence. It is misunderstanding of the basics of the constitution (especially regarding the basic freedoms).

    Freedom from religion is what comes to my mind, primarly.

  27. This whole article is a farce.

    The lawsuit was done on behalf of a local Fox affiliate, not Fox News. You might as well blame Sky News or the New York Post or any other subsidiary of News Corp.

    FNC haters FAIL.

  28. Ryan_from_outoftown

    In response to comment 36 by Fox Fan:

    I don’t see how holding a parent responsible for the actions of its affiliate is any different than holding a parent accountable for the actions of his or her child.

    Or for holding a hypothetical national community organization (let’s call it WALNUT) accountable for the actions of some of its branch offices.

  29. News Man

    This is deceiving. This is made to look like it\’s referring to the Fox cable new channel, the couple worked at a Fox station in Tampa. Much different. Local affiliates have little to nothing to do with what station they broadcast on. Even when it\’s an owned and operated station.

  30. Nice find.

    I guess the latest pastime of those with a right-of-center viewpoint in the good ol’ US of A these days while the Democrats sit with a healthy majority is to pick a side (left or right) and then sit in online forums and anonymously counter every point (good or bad) with a nasty comeback followed by an overused internet FARK-style news tagline.


    Lefty: “Poor people deserve health care.”
    Righty: “Prove it. Poor people deserve nothing. They deserve to rot and die off. Survival of the fittest is the only way this country gets better. Obama-lovers need to take a REALITY check if they think we have the money to help out every crack addict, every welfare bum, every squeegee kid. If nobody gave these neanderthals anything they would die of hunger and the USA would be a better, cleaner more prosperous country. Obama is ruining this nation, and you idiots can’t see the forest for the trees. You think we got to where we are now by helping out the dregs of society? Not a chance – educate yourself and you’d agree with me. Mistah Obama FAIL.”

    … the result being nothing gets done and America gradually drops further and further down the list of countries where ‘quality of life’ is the best. Then again, that’s just liberal fiction, isn’t it?

  31. manman43

    I love how when people argue in the favor of a news organization they do it in a personal fashion. Here’s a real newsflash for you all: NONE OF THEM CARE ABOUT YOU OR THE ACCURACY OF THEIR NEWS. They are there for profit, and profit only. The only difference is their niche. Fox just happened to cash in on the hugely popular niche of right-wing crazies. I’m sure there are plenty of republicans who are more enlightened than Fox would lead you to believe. Anyone who denies that fact is ignorant beyond belief. What’s really wrong here are the methods by which we fact check news in general.

  32. manman43

    I suppose I should clarify real quick. Of course they care about some facts. However, I highly doubt that is ever the number one goal, no matter how beautiful that would be.

  33. Well I’m not saying that Fox is lying all the time, but you’d think they would deny lying since there is a chance that they may be.

  34. snuss –

    Is that all there is? KO and Olbermann sniping at each other over the ‘antichrist’ interview with the bigot Hagee? I do agree 17% cannot be considered ‘most’ of the funding for AEI. One of your links had a headline of KO Lies but referenced any. By the way, isn’t it a little distracting to read these newbusters articles with the continual personal insults interspersed throughout? I guess it’s red meat for people of your point of view.

  35. typo – should be ‘KO and Beck’

  36. tony orlando

    There is nothing to really argue here. You can thank each of the past presidents, congress, our judicial, and an enabling public for the poor media we see today.

    The president selects five people to overlook the media regulation, called thew FCC. So if you are med at media telling lies, then look first than your president. Then look at the public for not holding him to his duties; even worse, using his position to undo regulation. The broadcast stations are leased to them for a period of time, yet still owned by us. The FCC ensures that certain rules are kept. The main rule, is that the media will put profits aside so that important information will come to the public in timely, and accurate manner. It is to service the community, and then they may profit. If Obama was honest about changing things for the better. There would have no better move first in office, than to ENFORCE our broadcast lease rules with the run away media.

    The judicial, and congress have also gone behind our backs in undoing regulation on business. Media consolidation, now the media can own many outlets. They can even own many different types of media all in the same location. It takes no imagination to realize how this consolidation can be used which puts bias above fact. An agenda by the media owner is almost certain with this kind of power. Furthermore, our judicail, and congress made it where business now has the same rights as people. Now the news can say they have the right to their opinion, and cast this as news. Or they may just say that this is entertainment, and not news. Which is exactly what they have done. It is no wonder why presidents first put all their attention while first in office, to select new judges. Which tells the people what they must do, and in the order top which it is done. We must first hold the president accountable for the press, his judges he picked, and their combined power to unseat congress. Then with an honest media, hold everyone else to the fire to include you and me. After all, none of this would have happened if you and me were not sleeping at the wheel. In vietnam era, there were hundreds of underground newspapers.

    The best thing, is to fix what we already have. Better hurry though, everything is crumbling fast, and the very people we hired to fix stuff, are the very ones who are tearing it apart. Which leaves only one word, “TREASON” . Treasonous in putting the needs of business, and other countries before the good citizens of this country.

  37. skateboarkid

    “The man who is a pessimist before 48 knows too much; if he is an optimist after it, he knows too little.”
    Mark Twain

    If news is not important, then why is it the first thing they manipulate when beginning any war. And why is it that the resistance always goes underground with newspapers during their struggle to regain their country in war. Another thought, why is it that it is so hard to believe that you are being duped, lied to. That is exactly what advertising does. It takes a not so desirable object, and make it sound like the best thing to hit this earth. Do you really think young men would fight in wars if they knew it was for resources and not democracy; no. Instead, they are lied to, and always make the victims sound like they are less than human. This is what we all have to be ashamed of. It is not that we ought to do something about, it is more like “we have to do something, and now”.

  38. Does it really surprise any of you on either side that those in power, who have money, are willing to lie and distort the truth in order to influence the thoughts of the weak-minded masses? If you’re willing to watch any corporate news source without adding a MOUNTAIN of salt, you are kidding yourselves. Television is the modern “opiate of the people” and you’re all getting lost in the details while we are all getting screwed out of our homes, jobs, and any other resources of value by a bunch of bankers. I was sent this link by a friend, and the pettiness of the discussion by several of the posters is really disappointing. I was hoping to read about creative solutions to media lie-mongering, but all I find instead is a series of denials by right-wingers and affirmations by left-wingers. When did “Yes-huh” and “Nah-Uh” become intellectual discourse?

  39. You have to dig this out of a 9-year-old graveyard of news?

    All I can say is where is the transparancy Obama campaigned on? Post the bill before voting……..open doors in the ‘writing’ of bills and practice inclusion of differing views…..you will hat this but, watch Glen Beck for a week…be open…listen….just stick through it and listen to what he is saying and exposing about liberals…..old time Chicago politics has hit Washington D.C.

  40. Andrew Magee

    Sick of all the lies that spew out of your TV? Here’s a handy hint that’s guaranteed 100% effective. Turn the thing off! Too easy! Now see how long you can leave it off!

    Make a list of 20 things that are more interesting, rewarding or simply more fun than watching TV. What about:

    go for a walk
    ride a bike
    fly a kite
    brush the dog/cat
    ring an old friend
    email a new friend
    read a classic novel
    hug someone
    read news online
    bake cookies
    do a good deed
    read the Bible (or Koran)
    recite poetry
    buy someone a present
    plant a tree
    plant something edible
    recite the alphabet, backwards
    make lists of 20 things
    stare at clouds
    smile 🙂

    Hey, that’s 21. So sue me! ‘-)>


  41. > 1. snuss | October 24th, 2009 at 9:41 am
    > One comment: Dan Rather

    Exactly! Dan was kicked out of broadcasting and Fox news should follow him. We see eye to eye on this.

  42. I LOVE IT … “WE DECEIVE, YOU BELIEVE”. I hate foxup news and its lackeys …. I’m puking ! what a rotten taste that lives in a cesspool of deceit, shills, dirtbags, and frauds. Yea, I have nothing less than CONTEMPT for anything that moves or proclaims itself as mainstream media, and with more than enough examples of probable cause.

  43. For all the christians out there: FOX… F = 6 letter of alphabet, O = 15th letter of alphabet, X = 24th letter of the alphabet. 15 is 1+5 and 24 is 2+4. FOX then is 666. Why did they ever retain FOX as their corporate name? (FOX is from the film studio name)

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