Update (7/28/20): Sinclair Broadcast Group told CNN's Oliver Darcy that “upon further review,” it has “decided not to air” Eric Bolling's interview with conspiracy theorist Judy Mikovits and her lawyer. Sinclair added: “Given the nature of the theories she presented we believe it is not appropriate to air the interview.”
Update (7/25/20): Following Media Matters' reporting, Sinclair Broadcast Group released a statement on July 25 addressing “feedback” the company had received about America This Week host Eric Bolling's interview with and coverage of coronavirus conspiracy theorist Judy Mikovits and her lawyer, Larry Klayman. The company stated that it was “a supporter of free speech and a marketplace of ideas and viewpoints, even if incredibly controversial.” Hours later, the company announced that it would delay airing the episode featuring Mikovits and instead instruct its local news stations to re-air the previous week's episode. However, Media Matters has found that the segment already aired on at least one local station based in Charleston, West Virginia. The video now appears to be scrubbed from Sinclair stations' websites without a correction or note. Bolling claimed to CNN's Oliver Darcy that he was unaware of Mikovits' Plandemic video before interviewing her, and shifted blame to others on the show's production team for the booking as well as the on-screen graphics used during the episode.
Baseless conspiracy theories about the novel coronavirus and Dr. Anthony Fauci, a prominent member of the White House coronavirus task force, found a platform on the new episode of Sinclair Broadcast Group’s America This Week. The episode is available for streaming on Sinclair-owned or -operated television station websites and is set to air on dozens of Sinclair stations over the weekend.
Toward the end of his show, host Eric Bolling interviewed Judy Mikovits of the conspiracy theory video Plandemic and her attorney Larry Klayman about their plans to sue Fauci. He introduced the prerecorded interview by referring to her as “an expert in virology” who previously “worked with Dr. Anthony Fauci.”
Mikovits gained notoriety after she made multiple false and misleading claims about the coronavirus and public health in Plandemic. Mikovits argued that mandatory coronavirus vaccines will “kill millions as they already have with their vaccines,” and falsely claimed that "flu vaccines increase the odds by 36% of getting COVID-19" and are part of a plot against what filmmaker Mikki Willis called “natural remedies” for the virus. Mikovits also asserted that it’s "insanity" to close beaches because somehow the sand and “healing microbes in the ocean” will actually help treat the virus. She also touted antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for the virus, despite multiple studies casting doubt on its efficacy, and she and the film pushed the false claim that the death count from COVID-19 is being inflated. The news magazine Science also reported that Mikovits made false claims about Fauci and her own credentials in the film, and FactCheck.org explained that she made false claims about face masks and Ebola. At the end of May, Mikovits also defended a bogus bleach product as a treatment for COVID-19. YouTube, Facebook, and multiple other platforms have removed Plandemic from their sites for containing potentially harmful misinformation about COVID-19.
But Bolling did not present any of this information, all widely available since early May, to Sinclair’s audience. Instead, Bolling gave Mikovits and Klayman -- who has peddled various conspiracy theories of his own in past decades -- free rein to make baseless accusations against Fauci, such as that he “manufactured the coronaviruses” and shipped them to Wuhan, China. Klayman said he’s “looking at a possible RICO case” -- a reference to the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act -- against Fauci and said, “We know that $3.7 million was given as a grant during the Obama administration to that Wuhan laboratory. That’s not in dispute.” Except the amount is about $3 million less than Klayman said, as PolitiFact, USA Today, FactCheck.org, and BuzzFeed News have all explained. (Bolling attempted to rebut him later by saying the funding was for vaccine research, but failed to correct him on the figure he quoted.) Klayman then said “the Chinese then engineered it into a bioweapon,” a claim which has also been debunked.
(To view the transcript of this segment, click here)
Bolling immediately followed this interview with an interview of Fox News medical contributor Dr. Nicole Saphier to respond to these claims -- despite her own record of misleading audiences about the coronavirus. Saphier labeled those who believe Fauci created the coronavirus as “conspiracy theorists,” saying “it’s highly unlikely” and that she thought “Dr. Fauci in no way, shape, or form has been involved in the manufacturing of this virus.” But in the same breath, she also suggested it’s likely that the virus was “man-made within a laboratory.” Bolling proposed his theory that China “accelerated the virus” while researching a vaccine and “it somehow leaked out of a laboratory.”
Bolling has previously spread dangerous misinformation about the coronavirus on his Sinclair program. He and his guests have pushed conspiracy theories that the coronavirus was engineered in a lab, suggested the coronavirus death toll was being inflated, and promoted unproven coronavirus treatments. In March, he suggested that media outlets were inciting panic about the outbreak to damage President Donald Trump politically. He has also repeatedly used racist names for the virus. And in his previous episode, Bolling agreed with a guest that the economy must reopen despite the health risks, as the pandemic continues raging in most states.