Sinclair’s local TV stations across the country are set to air the discredited “Plandemic” researcher’s conspiracy theory about Dr. Fauci this weekend. The segment that is set to air suggests Fauci is responsible for the creation of the coronavirus. https://t.co/fehw3e5ogZ
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) July 25, 2020
CNN reports on plans by the Sinclair Broadcast Group to give exposure across its more than 100 TV stations to a criticized theory that Dr. Anthony Fauci is responsible for the creation of the coronavirus.
It will happen on the group’s “America This Week,” a Trump-friendly show by Eric Bolling of news and analysis.
In this week’s episode of the show, Bolling spoke with Judy Mikovits, the medical researcher featured in the discredited “Plandemic” video that went viral earlier this year and which was banned from platforms such as Facebook and YouTube. Throughout the segment, the on-screen graphic read, “DID DR. FAUCI CREATE COVID-19?”Bolling also spoke with Mikovits’ attorney, Larry Klayman, a right-wing lawyer who also has a history of pushing misinformation and representing conspiracy theorists.
This is sheer madness. The deliberate mass spread of a damaging conspiracy theory, designed to create distrust in public health officials, is what happens in a crazy theocracy or an unhinged dictatorship. https://t.co/IbCcBWflw9
— Anne Applebaum (@anneapplebaum) July 25, 2020
This episode of Bolling (already available online) includes the bonus appearance of Sen. Tom Cotton in which he compares Donald Trump’s dispatch of storm troopers to rout peaceful protesters supporting racial justice with Abraham Lincoln attempting to put down the insurrection that led to the Civil War.
UPDATE: Since I posted this item, things have changed. The Bolling episode with Cotton and the Fauci discussion no longer appears on the KATV website as it had earlier today or that of another Sinclair station to which I linked in the preceding paragraph. The show is still slotted for 11:30 on KATV, but which episode will be shown is unclear.
A reader informs me of a message received from KATV after inquiring about the episode. That note said:
Thank you so much for reaching out to KATV. After further review of this week’s originally planned episode, it’s clear that we need to provide additional context to the highly controversial segment regarding the COVID pandemic and Dr. Fauci. In order to meet our standard of providing an open and honest marketplace of ideas and viewpoints, even if incredibly controversial, we will need to rework the segment to ensure viewers get the best information available. We will not be airing that episode tonight.
I’m trying to check. I’ve received no response, but a second reader reports the same canned comment that the episode would not air tonight.
UPDATE: It’s now official Sinclair-wide. Politico reports the episode will be delayed (though it had earlier been available online).
“After further review, we have decided to delay this episode’s airing, Sinclair said in a statement Saturday. “We will spend the coming days bringing together other viewpoints and provide additional context. All stations have been notified not to air this and will instead be re-airing last week’s episode in its place.”
Bolling touted the episode earlier this week on Facebook.
The episode mentioned isn’t listed on the landing page for the WJLA link.
Sinclair Broadcasting on Twitter early today seemed to defend the Bolling interview because, as CNN noted, he brought in someone who expressed some doubts about the theory.
We hear your feedback regarding a segment on this week’s “America This Week.” At no juncture are we aligning with or endorsing the viewpoints of Dr. Mikovitz or Mr. Klayman or endorsing the “Plandemic” documentary. Full stop.
— Sinclair Broadcast Group (@WeAreSinclair) July 25, 2020
That wasn’t good enough for never-Trumper Bill Kristol.
Sinclair Broadcasting, if it had existed 80 years ago: “We hear your feedback regarding our airing ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.’ We are not aligning with the viewpoints of the authors. But we believe in a marketplace of views. And we take no responsibility for anything.” https://t.co/L9YXP4k5hb
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) July 25, 2020
From there, the Twittersphere started having big fun with Sinclar.
i believe coronavirus was created in a lab by sinclair broadcast group to force us to stay home and watch sinclair broadcast group. please let me know when you want me as a guest on air to express this controversial opinion. thank you
— David Mack (@davidmackau) July 25, 2020
Next week on Sinclair: a 12-minute reading of the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion followed by 3 minutes of a very angry rabbi https://t.co/KUqC2xndHY
— Joshua Benton (@jbenton) July 25, 2020
“We hear your concerns about our airing ‘Birth of a Nation,’ but we *also* interviewed a high school history teacher!”
— DogDadBod (@DogsDadBod) July 25, 2020