Reported by NEWSSARAH TAYLOR | June 16, 2021
Ivory Hecker, the Fox affiliate reporter who went off-script during a Monday report that went viral, has been fired from her job at the Texas network. Hecker, who stated that “Fox Corp.” was “muzzling” her and stopping viewers from receiving “certain information,” now states that the station has been trying to prevent its reporters from covering hydroxychloroquine and its use in treating COVID-19 patients.
Hecker, a general assignment reporter, said Tuesday that she was fired after the viral report. In an interview with the Daily Beast, Hecker said that she lost her job via text after an initial suspension. KRIV-TV confirmed to the outlet that Hecker is no longer employed at the station and slammed her for going to James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas with the allegations.
In a statement, the station said, “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.”
Hecker told the outlet that she has no interest in working for another news corporation after this experience.
“I have been longing to part ways with this strange, slightly unhinged corporation since last August when I realized what they were,” Hecker admitted. “The piece with Project Veritas doesn’t touch what they did. Fox 26 knows I’m fearless. … I have zero interest in working for another corporation. They all toe the same line.”
The Project Veritas interview in question featured Hecker speaking with O’Keefe about what she said was an agenda in quashing reporting that didn’t follow the line of corporate headquarters.
According to the Daily Beast:
In one piece of surreptitiously recorded footage, Fox 26 assistant news director Lee Meier was seen explaining why the station does not do more stories on Bitcoin. In the clip, Meier said it’s “an editorial choice” to not cover the cryptocurrency because it likely would not appeal to the station’s early-evening broadcast viewership.
“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,” Meier stated. “So, there are lots of reasons. If I know our numbers are tanking from five to six and in one particular segment… I may say, yeah, and Bitcoin for poor African-American audience at five, it’s probably not going to play. That’s a choice I’m making.”
Reacting to Meier’s rather mundane remarks about the incentives of broadcast news, Hecker declared to O’Keefe: “I want out of this narrative news telling! I want out of this corruption!”
Hecker also said that the station attempted to prevent her from covering hydroxychloroquine in treatment of COVID-19 patients:
In a recorded call with Meier and Fox 26 vice president and news director Susan Schiller, Hecker was told she “failed as a reporter” for not looking at the “latest research” on the drug before boosting a post from a local doctor hyping it as a COVID-19 treatment.
“You need to cease and desist posting about hydroxychloroquine,” Schiller told Hecker.
Station management’s critical comments to Hecker appear to center around an August Facebook post the reporter shared last August, featuring Dr. Joseph Varon’s claim that he used hydroxychloroquine to “good success.”
In the call with her bosses, Hecker claimed the studies downplaying the effectiveness and safety of the drug made Varon’s comments more newsworthy. At the same time, she brought up Dr. Stella Immanuel, noting that she also referenced clinical research about hydroxychloroquine’s efficacy in her story about the controversial doctor. Immanuel, who believes sex with demons makes you sick, baselessly insisted that the anti-malarial drug is a “cure for COVID,” drawing praise from Trump but bans on social-media platforms. Hecker’s reporting on Immanuel at the time was largely sympathetic, painting her as a victim of “mass censorship.”
“They sent me to interview Dr. Joseph Varon, a highly respected doctor who did 1,600 media interviews,” Hecker told The Daily Beast. “They banned me permanently — after my interview — from covering COVID-19 medical treatments.”