By Albert Samaha
By Steve Weinstein
By Devon Maloney
By Tessa Stuart
By Alison Flowers
By Albert Samaha
By Jesse Jarnow
By Eric Tsetsi
One of Akre and Wilson's witnesses was Brian Karem, a reporter who joined Fox TV affiliate WDAF in 1997. At the time, WDAF praised Karem, saying that his "experience and drive will bring investigative reporting to a new level in Kansas City." But the next year, when Karem completed a report on the potential dangers of the pesticide Dursban, he met with resistance. Karem says, "I was told, 'You don't want to do this type of story. It's too difficult to do. Don't you want to be a team player?' "
When Dow Chemical Company, which makes Dursban, turned down Karem's requests for an interview, WDAF sent a copy of Karem's tape to Dow, inviting the company to produce a rebuttal. When WDAF received the Dow tape, they cut out a personal attack on Karem and added the rebuttal at the end of Karem's Dursban report, which ran in February 1998. Karem calls this tantamount to suppressing the truth.
After that, Karem says, "I was told to do more fast-breaking stuff, like whether people are getting enough cheese on their pizza." He knew that other networks were cutting back on investigative reporting. But he was so traumatized by the experience that he asked Fox to buy out his contract, and he left WDAF in late 1998.
Today, Akre and Wilson are unemployed, working on their appeal and preparing a complaint for the FCC. Karem is a contributor to People and Playboy, and author of the recent book Spin Control. David Boylan runs KTTV in Los Angeles, Fox TV's second-largest station. In 1999, Europe and Canada banned BGH. In 2000, the FDA banned Dursban. People who get their news from Fox TV probably still think these products are perfectly safe.