The question remains over exactly why Sinclair Broadcast Group decided to pull the plug on airing a segment featuring former Fox host Eric Bolling and coronavirus conspiracy theorist Judy Mikovits and her lawyer, Larry Klayman. Public outrage? The threat of lawsuits? Regardless of why the decision was made, it's of little concern now given the fact that the damage has already been done as Media Matters explained in an update to their report on the segment from last week:
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.
And there's this from Judd Legum on Twitter:
Sinclair currently covering its tracks.
The segment was posted to DOZENS of local news sites. Some of the posts have been up for several days.
They are all being taken down but the links do not lead to a correction. Just a 404 error. Completely irresponsible. pic.twitter.com/OXGT9jQlb8
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) July 25, 2020
Here's the excuse the network gave to CNN for allowing someone like Mikovits on the air in the first place:
The segment ignited significant controversy after CNN Business reported on it Friday night. Local stations across the country started receiving complaints from viewers who requested they not air the segment, people who work at Sinclair stations told CNN Business, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk publicly.
On Saturday morning, the company had defended airing the segment in a series of tweets, saying it did not endorse the conspiracy theory but was committed to providing its audience diverse viewpoints.
Bolling had also previously stood by the segment, telling CNN Business that he also did not endorse the conspiracy theory, but that he was comfortable airing it because in a segment after the interview with Mikovits he spoke to a doctor who dismissed the idea Fauci was responsible for the virus.
In a statement provided to CNN Business Saturday afternoon, Bolling said he has "always welcomed all points of view" on his show, but that he was "caught off guard" by Mikovits' claims.
"I recognize this segment does need to be reworked to provide better context, and as such we are delaying the airing of the episode for one week," Bolling said. "Let me also add that I have immense respect for Dr. Fauci and recognize him as the leading expert on this topic. For the past two months, I have consistently pursued the opportunity to bring Dr. Fauci on air so that he may provide critical information to the public about the virus. The invitation stands."
Here's more from Steve M. on their plan to provide more "context" if they do air the segment later:
How about not airing it and issuing a correction wherever it was already viewed? This is on the same level as flat-eartherism. It doesn't need to be presented with "additional context." Its advocates need to be shunned.
Amen to that.