Houston’s Fox 26 reporter Ivory Hecker said she couldn’t take the biased misinformation peddled by news organizations and decided to do something about it. On June 14, the general assignment reporter was live on air to give an update about the weather when she decided to make a personal announcement about her upcoming whistleblowing to none other than Project Veritas (PV). That revelation resulted in her losing her job.
When the cameras started rolling on Hecker, who was standing in front of an air conditioning unit to talk about the high heat in Texas, the reporter went off-script to say:
“Before we get to that story, I want to let you, the viewers, know that Fox Corp. has been muzzling me to keep certain information from you, the viewers. And from what I’m gathering, I am not the only reporter being subjected to this.”
Hecker added that the information had been released to PV and would appear on June 15. Before the airing of the interview, she received notification that she had been suspended from Fox until further notice. On the day of the exposé, Hecker revealed she had been fired.
What was the information the now former reporter had to share, and why did she do it? “The viewers are being deceived by a carefully crafted narrative in some stories,” Hecker said to PV. She added that some of the decisions about which stories to publish or broadcast were based on race, as well as who was purchasing the most advertising, and sticking to the corporate narrative. Hecker recorded conversations with management, which she shared with the project. The first was from the assistant news director, Lee Meier:
“I have passed on Bitcoin stories by almost every single reporter for our five o’clock audience, because that’s not our five o’clock audience. So, there are lots of reasons. If I know our numbers are tanking from five to six [p.m.] and in one particular segment, you know, an older white whatever, I may say, yeah and Bitcoin for a poor African-American audience at five [p.m.], it’s probably not going to play. That’s a choice I’m making. An editorial choice.”
Hecker said Meier had decided that evening slots were watched mostly by “poor black people” who wouldn’t be interested in Bitcoin.
The big turning point for the journalist, however, came in July 2020, after watching a video featuring Dr. Stella Immanuel, who talked about the effectiveness of treating COVID patients with hydroxychloroquine. The footage had gone viral, but Fox 26 wasn’t reporting on it. Instead, Hecker said she produced a piece that ended up being about how the National Institutes of Health, run by Dr. Anthony Fauci, said the drug was not particularly dangerous, but that it wasn’t helpful either.
During a phone conversation, Hecker asked why Fox was censoring the story. D’Artagnan (Dart) Bebel, the senior vice president, gave her the answer:
“He said, look. It’s obvious why this is getting censored. President Trump said that hydroxychloroquine works, he retweeted her [Dr. Stella Immanuel], and whatever he does, everyone wants to do the opposite.”
Hecker said she took to social media to talk about the problems of censoring news. “Fox came at my throat for standing up against censorship,” she claimed. To make matters worse, she was sent on assignment to the United Memorial Medical Center to report on COVID and how it was being handled there. She spoke with Dr. Joseph Varon, chief of critical care, and asked if the medication worked, and he answered yes. Susan Schiller, Fox 26 KRIV vice president and news director, told Hecker, “You need to cease and desist posting about hydroxychloroquine. In my opinion, you failed as a reporter.”
Hecker said she is dismayed by the news industry in general now. According to her, it is controlled by the corporate entities instead of the viewers. This message was further emphasized when Meier told her:
“Industry executives, who are the people who hire us and keep us employed. That’s the part that needs to make a difference to you. It’s not just about the viewers, it’s about what our CEO reads. It’s about what our GM reads.”
Advertising is a necessity in the news business. Without advertisers, the companies would have a hard time staying in business. Hecker claimed that a lot of the station’s ads promoted getting the COVID vaccination, which, she suggested, is part of the reason the station didn’t cover any negative aspects of the vaccine, such as unpleasant reactions.
“I’m so horrified at what the news business has stooped to,” Hecker concluded.
Fox 26 Houston responded to the allegations through a spokesperson, saying: “FOX 26 adheres to the highest editorial standards of accuracy and impartiality. This incident involves nothing more than a disgruntled former employee seeking publicity by promoting a false narrative produced through selective editing and misrepresentation.”
You can watch the interview here.
Read more from Kelli Ballard.