On Monday, former Houston-area Fox reporter Ivy Hecker interrupted a live report about a heat wave to call out her own network for "muzzling me to keep certain information from you, the viewers." She promised a forthcoming report by noted right-wing activist group Project Veritas would blow the whistle on the whole thing.
Well, the report came and it turned out Hecker was mostly mad that the Houston-area Fox affiliate wouldn’t let her report on Bitcoin and hydroxychloroquine, the malaria drug promoted by former President Donald Trump as a COVID-19 cure.
“I am going to be releasing some recordings about what goes on behind the scenes at Fox, because it applies to you, the viewers," Hecker said on air, revealing she'd been recording her colleagues. "I found a non-profit journalism group called Project Veritas that is going to help put that out tomorrow, so tune in then.”
According to The Daily Beast, Fox 26 suspended Hecker on Tuesday morning and fired her later in the day. Hours later, Project Veritas dropped a 20 minute long video on its YouTube channel. Hecker’s opening accusation about corruption in the media is that she’s mad her bosses wouldn’t let her report on Bitcoin.
“I have passed on Bitcoin stories by almost every single reporter for our five o’clock audience, because that’s not for our five o’clock audience,” Lee Meier, Assistant News Director at Fox 26 said in a video shown by Project Veritas. “So, there are lots of reasons. If I know our numbers are tanking from 5 to 6 and in one particular segment, I may say, yeah and Bitcoin for a poor African-American audience at 5, it’s probably not going to play. That’s a choice I’m making. An editorial choice.”
Aside from the "poor African-American" comment, there is no indication that Fox 26 has a bias against Bitcoin. There is no evidence of trying to snuff out Bitcoin's light to the world. Fox 26 has aired segments about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies before.
Journalists working in the tech sector are barraged by a daily stream of emails from people trying to get them to report on Bitcoin. The inbox of any given journalist has roughly 20 unread emails about Bitcoin right now. Local news audiences in particular are likely tuning into local reports to hear about local crime and the weather—the very thing Hecker was supposed to be talking about.
The bulk of Hecker’s other claims about bias at Fox 26 involved hydroxychloroquine—the malaria drug Trump touted as a treatment for COVID-19—and unsubstantiated claims about advertisers.
“Ivory Hecker came to us because she was upset about the corporate imperative being put above journalism, ethics, and truth,” Project Veritas Media Relations Manager Mario Balaban told Motherboard on the phone. “Her boss is recorded telling her not to worry as much about the viewers as what the CEO thinks.”
Motherboard reached out to Fox 26 Houston and Ivory Hecker but did not hear back.