Fox Undercover Informants

Some Fox Undercover informants are legitimate whistle-blowers.  Those who expose government corruption or genuine corporate greed, like any other media informants have clear consciences.  They typically have no personal motive, but are putting themselves at risk to uncover a problem which cannot be solved just be bringing it to the attention of the proper authority. 

In a growing number of cases though, the target of Mike Beaudet’s investigation is typically a single individual who, if really involved in wrongdoing, can be easily removed, suspended, fired or reviewed by simple telling a few people.  And in these cases, it is clear that telling a few people will more directly and discreetly solve the problem (if there even is one), without creating a media circus that exposes children, disrupts communities and schools, and creates fear, anger and polarity.  In some cases, a school might be forced to remove a teacher without a clear cut legal cause – just because of bad publicity – and thus still pay them.  And when someone choses to expose their community to a media circus, to leave vulnerable populations who are allegedly at risk – still at risk, to keep the secret for weeks on end until Fox gets their TV slot that person’s motives must lie elsewhere.  Communities need to get tough on Fox Undercover informants as soon as everyone knows who they are, confronting them, exposing them and holding them accountable for their actions. 

So, the simple litmus test is this:  Was informing Fox the only way that anyone would listen?   Our country has a history of journalists uncovering a government or corporate corruption scandal that traditional law enforcement were afraid to uncover, didn’t have the resources to uncover or were involved in themselves.  In the 1970’s Hooker Chemical Corp sold a piece of land to the Niagara Falls School Board for $1, hiding the extent of toxic waste that they had dumped there.  It was not until local residents became informants to the Niagara Falls Gazette that the cover up was investigated and finally revealed, and this was after more than half of children born in what became known as the “Love Canal” had at least one birth defect.  Individuals often just don’t have the resources, the clout or the knowhow to fight corruption and cover ups.    But this does not apply to the vast majority of Fox Undercover stories, where a note to a person or two, an email, even a phone conversation, might easily address the employment of one private person doing one small job.  And thus the test fails for the vast majority of Fox Undercover informants, whose tip off seems to us like someone who simply wants a smear campaign and a circus, and is willing to put their own community at risk.

Finally, there is a great danger when you have an informant who is tattling on a person, rather than an underlying problem:  And that great danger is that possibility that there may be misinformation that cannot be truly verified, resulting in a news report full of hearsay and speculation.   In 1997 a US Customs official in San Diego passed a memo to CBS 60 Minutes allegedly written by the head of the branch about ignoring drug trafficking.  The memo was verified by the same informant “certifying” the document himself.  After the branch manager’s career was devastated, it was later found out that the informant forged the document as an act of personal revenge.

Fox Undercover provides a phone number and a web form for someone to become a Fox Undercover informant, ie to provide Fox 25 Undercover with a tip for a story.  We wonder how many of these are anonymous and why.

Update:  Occasionally we are contacted by people thinking that we are Fox Undercover.  We have never once claimed to be affiliated with Fox or Fox News or News Corp in any way and we always tell people that they have contacted the wrong people.  We will just point out though that those who have contacted us have appeared to be not particularly literate and in all cases, it seems like they are tattletales more than concerned citizens.  Maybe these are not the most typical Fox Undercover informants (since they did mistake us for Fox afterall) but we couldn't help but notice a trend and we thought you had a right to know.

Finally, we have startling new data on local and state police use of Mike Beaudet as a pawn of sorts.   More to come on how police in Massachusetts use Fox Undercover to their advantage.

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