Sinclair Broadcast Group senior political anchor Eric Bolling has, in his own admission, spent months attacking Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s mental health this election season. The latest attack has come in an interview, which has not yet aired on Sinclair-owned stations, with the president's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani in which Bolling asked Giuliani about Biden’s “mental capacity” and Giuliani responded by accusing Biden of having dementia. These attacks from Bolling continued even after early September reporting that the Department of Homeland Security found that Russia has also been spreading disinformation about Biden’s health as part of its efforts to interfere in the 2020 presidential election.
Bolling has brought up Biden’s mental health dating back at least two months during interviews on other topics, and he has also used his monologues and panel discussions on his Sinclair program America This Week to push that narrative. On October 8, Bolling posted on his show’s YouTube channel an interview he conducted with Trump lawyer Giuliani for a future edition of his Sinclair show. Early in the interview, Bolling asked Giuliani about Biden’s “mental capacity.” Giuliani, who is so compos mentis that he didn’t realize he was being given disinformation by a Russian intelligence agent in recent months, ranted that multiple doctors who hadn’t examined Biden determined that he has dementia. Bolling has already promoted the interview on his Twitter account, and Giuliani likewise recently spread his claim to his Twitter following:
ERIC BOLLING (HOST): Let me just pick up on something you said. You said Joe Biden doesn’t have the mental capacity to, and then you followed that up. What is the -- what do you think about the upcoming debate, whether it's going to happen or not? Where do you think Joe Biden is with his mental capacity? What was that all about?
RUDY GIULIANI (ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP): He's either, he's either in first stages of dementia or the middle stages, according to two doctors. This is not my opinion. It’s the opinion of two -- actually it's the opinion of five doctors, two of whom were willing to go on camera, who analyzed -- oh I would say about 40 or 50 of his debates and speeches going back 10 years. The most dramatic thing to do is to take the debate that he had against Paul Ryan and put it up against any speech or debate he does now. The man talks at half the speed, he is much more deliberate, he misspeaks much more often, and then he does something that's a telltale sign of dementia: He forgets what the original subject of the sentence was. So the doctor explained it to me this way: The first thing that goes in dementia or Alzheimer's is short-term memory. And the shortest-term memory is the conversation we're having right now. And you can see it happen during the debate, except nobody pounced on it.
Bolling’s interview with Giuliani escalates his own more subtle trend of raising so-called “questions” about Biden’s mental health over the course of recent months. During an early August interview with Daily Wire founder Ben Shapiro, Bolling suggested Biden wouldn’t attend the first presidential debate in person and asked, “Can we see the real Joe Biden, his mental aptitude, if he’s fit to be president of the United States, if we do a debate from his basement?” (That itself is a bullshit right-wing media narrative. Biden has not been in “his basement.”) Later in the program Bolling said, “There’s a lot of people questioning Joe Biden’s mental facilities right now, and I think a debate would clear a lot of that up, one way or the other.” According to a transcript search of the Kinetiq video database, this show aired between August 8 and August 10 on at least 41 Sinclair-owned or -operated local TV stations in 30 states, and it has been available for streaming on Sinclair station websites since August 4.
Nearly a month later when Bolling brought this topic up for a panel discussion on his show, liberal commentator Ameshia Cross admonished him for even talking about it since “there's nobody on this panel who is a doctor.” Frequent panelist Sebastian Gorka ran with Bolling’s narrative and said Biden is senile. This edition of America This Week aired on at least 41 Sinclair stations in 31 states between September 6 and September 7 and has been available for streaming on Sinclair station websites since September 2.
ERIC BOLLING (HOST): Ameshia, I’ll start with you. Once is a slip-up, maybe even twice is a slip-up. Dozens of times is a pattern. There have been many, many times where the man who wants to be president is screwing up numbers. I’m concerned about it, I think there may be something more going on here. What do you say, Ameshia?
BOLLING: I’m focusing in on his speech -- he’s having problems, he’s losing his thought process. He’s losing his words. Sebastian, he forgot the Bill of Rights. He forgot very simple, basic stuff. He’s stumbling. What do you say, Sebastian?
SEBASTIAN GORKA (SINCLAIR BROADCAST GROUP PUNDIT): As Brit Hume, who's one of the most sober journalists out there, said on a recent podcast interview, he said, “Everybody knows that this man has severe cognitive issues.” This has nothing to do with stuttering in high school, not knowing the difference between your sister and your wife, that Super Tuesday isn't on Thursday, not being able to quote the Bill of Rights, or saying something like the last hundred years more deaths by corona, I don't know, you know what is. Come on man, the guy’s senile.
BOLLING: At one point he -- again, these are some examples. He talked about 150 million people dying at the behest of guns, and that's just an insanely inaccurate number. Ameshia, let’s be honest. Is there any concern among Democrats that he may be slipping a bit?
AMESHIA CROSS (COMMENTATOR): I think that for, you know, those who are watching, there's nobody on this panel who is a doctor. And consequently nobody who is Joe Biden's doctor. I think it's a problem when you want to label or consistently speak to someone's mental fitness and mental health when you're not qualified to do so.
About two weeks later in mid-September, Bolling dedicated his opening monologue to attacking Biden’s mental health. Repeatedly insisting he wasn’t trying to make fun of Biden, Bolling played several short snippets of him mixing up figures and misreading the placement of a comma in a large number as supposed evidence of mental decline. He then asked his first guest, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), to comment on his attacks. This episode aired between September 19 and 21 on at least 47 Sinclair stations in 37 states and has been available to be streamed from Sinclair station websites since September 16.
ERIC BOLLING (HOST): Just six week until we find out whether Donald Trump gets a second term or Joe Biden gets a first. Biden is ahead in the polls, but as you know, polls don't mean much to me, they never have. Yet, he leads. There is something that's happening that we need to highlight, though. Something the polls can't show. Something that is extremely important to the country. It’s also something I highlighted here months ago. I’ve noticed a very troublesome pattern with the former VP. Joe Biden struggles with numbers, and it appears to be getting worse. Much worse.
BOLLING: Look, I don't find this funny, it's not cute, and I'm not playing these clips to embarrass Mr. Biden. However, I do think it's important to highlight a man clearly struggling with comprehension -- especially when that man in question wants to be president of our country, the most powerful person on the planet, the same man who wants us to hand him the reins to lead America into battle against a very hostile world. China wants nothing more to their core than to overtake the U.S. as the world's most powerful economy. Russia, Iran, and North Korea, among others would love to see us fail too. So highlighting Biden’s slipping capacity isn't unfair, it's actually a public service.
This is simply not OK. Again, I'm not making fun of this guy. I'm not that guy. But Biden is becoming more and more incoherent as we approach the most important election of our lifetime, and still he leads in the polls.
BOLLING: Congressman, I just did a monologue about Joe Biden may be not fit for office. What do you say?
REP. DEVIN NUNES (R-CA): Well look, it kind of seems like he’s an avatar, and you even have Harris out talking about a Harris-Biden administration, which is quite peculiar I think. And look, I think that Mr. Biden, former vice president, he’s lost a step or two and he really needs to come out and tell the American public, you know, what his health status is.
BOLLING: Interesting, interesting. He said he would do it once he was elected president. Maybe we’d like to hear about that prior.
In a shorter, separate version of his show titled America This Week: United We Stand which was also available for streaming from Sinclair station websites on September 16, Bolling again attacked Biden’s mental health, saying he’s “concerned about Joe Biden’s mental acuity” and said he’s “been talking about it for months.”
About two weeks later, Bolling leaned into this attack again in another opening monologue, which aired between October 3 and October 5 on at least 46 Sinclair stations in 35 states.
ERIC BOLLING (HOST): The American people, the liberal-leaning media, and this host were watching for signs of Biden’s mental capacity. The challenger has some well-documented real problems with numbers. And I don’t mean math, I mean understanding the numbers coming out of his mouth.
BOLLING: I’m not making fun of Mr. Biden. I’m very concerned he may not be qualified to make life and death decisions for America
All these attacks from Bolling are vile enough, but he is also echoing Russian disinformation to interfere with the election. On September 8, well before Bolling’s latest attacks on Biden’s mental health, ABC News reported on the contents of a Department of Homeland Security intelligence bulletin to warn law enforcement agencies about a Russian effort to promote “allegations about the poor mental health” of Biden.
Russian actors are spreading “unsubstantiated allegations" that former Biden is of “ill-health," the DHS bulletin says, and speculates that “this narrative will resonate with some American voters and reduce their confidence in him as a candidate."
“Russia is using both covert proxy websites and overt state media to amplify these allegations, often in conjunction with other election-related malign influence narratives, which is consistent with their tactics in 2016 to undermine a former presidential candidate," it continues.
The bulletin says the current effort has been ongoing since September 2019.
“Russian covert and covert influence actors posted negative commentary and unsubstantiated allegations about the poor mental health of Biden. For example, proxy websites have claimed that the candidates gaffes are symptoms of dementia, that he is mentally unfit for the presidency, and that he is unlikely to serve his full term due to his age," the bulletin reads.
Much of that sounds exactly like what Bolling has been pushing for months. Bolling may not be part of the Russian disinformation effort, but he is pushing similar themes, which have been identified by DHS as “unsubstantiated allegations” -- brought to your local TV news channels courtesy of Sinclair Broadcast Group.