The Sinclair Broadcast Group told CNN Business on Monday that it will no longer air a segment promoting a baseless conspiracy theory suggesting that Dr. Anthony Fauci played a role in creating the coronavirus.
According to CNN Business — which first reported on the segment that was set to air during the program “America This Week” hosted by Eric Bolling and features discredited “Plandemic” researcher Judy Mikovits — Sinclair initially announced over the weekend that it would postpone and “rework” the segment.
CNN Business reported that the segment slamming Fauci shows Mikovits telling Bolling that the nation’s top infectious diseases expert “manufactured” and shipped coronaviruses to Wuhan, China — the location of the first reported COVID-19 case — over the past decade. Although Bolling said that’s a “hefty claim” against Fauci, he did not press Mikovits further on the segment.
Last week, video clips of the segment was posted to local Sinclair websites, which have since been removed.
A Sinclair spokesperson told CNN Business on Monday that the network decided against airing Mikovits’ interview altogether “upon further review.”
“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,” a spokesperson for Sinclair told CNN Business in a statement on Monday.
The Sinclair spokesperson also told CNN Business that the network would like to reiterate its appreciation for Fauci and the rest of the White House coronavirus task force, saying that Sinclair and its affiliates have “positively and prominently” featured Fauci on air.
“There remains an open invite for Dr. Fauci to appear on our stations any time,” the Sinclair spokesperson told CNN Business.
Sinclair’s decision to back away from Mikovits’ segment targeting Fauci comes on the heels of the White House’s efforts to discredit the nation’s top infectious diseases expert amid COVID-19 cases continuing to surge nationwide.
Earlier this month, an unnamed White House official sent news outlets a list of Fauci’s past remarks on the coronavirus that later turned out to be inaccurate. Trump aides Peter Navarro and Stephen Moore also joined in on attempts to discredit Fauci soon after.
On Thursday, Fauci said in a podcast interview with CNN commentator David Axelrod that he and his family were assigned security detail in response to the “serious threats” they’ve been dealing with amid the Trump administration’s efforts to undermine his credibility.