The Sinclair stations will not air a segment that suggests Dr. Anthony Fauci was responsible for creating COVID-19. Over the weekend, Sinclair said it would “rework” the controversial segment, which featured researcher Dr. Judy Mikovits. It was to appear in America This Week, which Eric Bolling hosts.
Fauci has been director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984. President Trump has at times clashed with Fauci, deeming his reports on COVID to be pessimistic.
Mikovits was behind the discredited short film Plandemic, which surfaced earlier this year.
In the segment, Mikovits told Bolling that Fauci had "manufactured" coronaviruses and shipped them to Wuhan, China. Bolling countered that this was a "hefty claim.”
"Upon further review, we have decided not to air the interview with Dr. Mikovits," Sinclair told CNN. "Although the segment did include an expert to dispute Dr. Mikovits, given the nature of the theories she presented we believe it is not appropriate to air the interview."
"We also reiterate our appreciation for all that Dr. Fauci and his team have accomplished for the health and well-being of Americans and people worldwide," Sinclair added. "During this pandemic, Sinclair and its affiliates have positively and prominently featured Dr. Fauci on air, including interviews with our stations and our network, Stadium. There remains an open invite for Dr. Fauci to appear on our stations any time."
CNN Business said Sinclair initially defended airing the segment in a series of tweets July 25, saying it did not endorse the conspiracy theory but was committed to providing its audience diverse viewpoints.
Later that day, Sinclair told its stations to hold off airing the episode that included the segment.
Media Matters For America reported that one Sinclair station, WCHS Charleston, W. Va., aired the episode.
Sinclair owns 191 stations.
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Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.