FCC rules against reporters who sued Fox 13 listen07/31/07 Mitch E. Perry
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Last week the FCC ended a media dispute that goes back over a decade in the Tampa Bay.
On July 23rd, the FCC found that Fox 13, WTVT did not distort the news in their airing of a story about Bovine Growth Hormone, or BGH.
Two and a half years ago, Fox reporters Steve Wilson and Jane Akre sought to have the FCC revoke WTVT’s license. The pair claimed they were fired from the station after management caved into threats from the additive’s manufacturer, Monsanto.
The plight of Wilson and Akre has been extensively chronicled over the years on WMNF. The two reporters claimed that their story on BGH, which was to air back in 1997, was initially pulled because of pressure by Monsanto.
That led to bad blood between the reporters and the station, and they were fired in 1998. They then sued WTVT, claiming they fired for refusing to distort their report.
In 2000, a Tampa Jury ruled in favor of Akre, but against Wilson. Akre won a financial reward of $425,000, but she was never able to collect because Fox immediately appealed the decision. Fox won that appeal.
Last Friday night WMNF spoke with Jane Akre. We asked her if the FCC’s ruling last week is the end of a long road for the two reporters.
WMNF hopes to speak with Steve Wilson, who now works as an investigative television reporter in Detroit.