Right-wing Sinclair Broadcast Group has cancelled its weekly program hosted by former Fox News personality Eric Bolling, after it had become a hub for COVID-19 misinformation and election fraud conspiracy theories in recent months.
Bolling, a close Trump ally, began hosting America This Week on Sinclair in 2019, after leaving Fox amid reports that he sent unsolicited pictures of genitalia to colleagues. The show was broadcast weekly on dozens of local Sinclair stations across the country and was also available to stream on the stations’ websites.
Bolling's show had been a source of dangerous COVID-19 misinformation since the beginning of the pandemic, and Sinclair was twice forced to edit portions of it containing coronavirus misinformation following reporting by Media Matters’ Zachary Pleat. Recently, the show has served as a platform for right-wing conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election, in addition to the general pro-Trump sycophancy that has been a feature since its inception.
Bolling’s viewers were subjected to months of COVID-19 misinformation
As coronavirus first began to spread across the United States, Bolling suggested that the media was exaggerating the danger the virus presented to damage former President Donald Trump. Bolling and his guests also promoted the conspiracy theory that the virus had been created in a lab in China.
In July, Media Matters reported that America This Week was set to air an interview with Judy Mikovits, the COVID-19 conspiracy theorist behind the video Plandemic, and her lawyer Larry Klayman. The reporting sparked widespread backlash against Sinclair, which led the network to first delay and then cancel the airing of the interview entirely.
A few months later following additional reporting by Media Matters, Sinclair removed portions of one of Bolling’s monologues in which he claimed that masks and lockdown precautions do not help to slow the spread of the virus.
Bolling has also promoted vaccine misinformation, once suggesting on Twitter that Dr. Anthony Fauci stood to personally profit from the vaccine, and he has also boosted the right-wing false narrative that COVID-19 death tallies are exaggerated.
America This Week brought right-wing, pro-Trump messaging to local audiences
More recently, Bolling and his guests helped undermine public faith in the 2020 presidential election.
Bolling cast doubt on the integrity of mail-in voting prior to the election, and he promoted a debunked right-wing conspiracy theory about voter turnout in Wisconsin on Twitter on November 4. Appearing on America This Week a few weeks later, former Trump adviser Steve Bannon promoted the false Dominion voting machine conspiracy theory.
The show also provided a space where Trump and his allies could push their messaging without facing tough questions. Bolling interviewed Trump three separate times, allowing the former president to misinform viewers without pushback each time.
America This Week also hosted former administration members, including Vice President Mike Pence, and Trump defenders like Roger Stone and Bill O’Reilly, another former Fox personality who left the network the same year as Bolling amid reports of sexual harassment. In 2019, Bolling appeared on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ Infowars program to promote both his Sinclair show and a previous show he hosted on BlazeTV. Bolling also brought Jones on his BlazeTV show as part of a cross-promotional event.
Unlike many others in the pro-Trump media, Bolling had direct access to a broad swath of the American public that receives their local news on Sinclair stations. And even though Bolling may no longer be with the network, Sinclair seems committed to the right-wing messaging that he delivered each week.