Claim: Fox News won a 2004 court case allowing the cable channel to lie to viewers.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, October 2014]
Origins: Rumors have circulated since at least 2009 claiming that the Fox News cable television channel fought successfully in court
First, the case from which the rumor stemmed resulted in a Florida appeals court ruling in
Additionally, the events that led up to the "Fox lies" case were not about the station's day-to-day programming; rather, the legal battle to which the rumor refers was about a husband-and-wife reporting team (Jane Aker and Steve Wilson) who objected to being involved in an unaired story about bovine growth hormones (BGH) due to what the pair believed was a corporate conflict of interest. The reporters claimed they had been unfairly terminated from their jobs for "resisting WTVT's attempts to distort or suppress the BGH story":
In April 1998, Akre and Wilson sued WTVT alleging, among other things, claims under the whistle-blower's statute. Those claims alleged that their terminations had been in retaliation for their resisting WTVT's attempts to distort or suppress the BGH story and for threatening to report the alleged news distortion to the FCC. Akre also brought claims for declaratory relief and for breach of contract. After a four-week trial, a jury found against Wilson on all of his claims. The trial court directed a verdict against Akre on her breach of contract claim, Akre abandoned her claim for declaratory relief, and the trial court let her whistle-blower claims go to the jury. The jury rejected all of Akre's claims except her claim that WTVT retaliated against her in response to her threat to disclose the alleged news distortion to the FCC. The jury awarded Akre $425,000 in damages.
The "right to lie" claims are similar to another false story about Fox News' trustworthiness, that the network was banned in Canada because it does not meet stringent Canadian broadcast standards for truthfulness.
Last updated: 2 October 2014