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Stories, Stats, Impacts: Wyoming Public Media is here to keep you current on the news surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

Sinclair Pulls Program That Promotes COVID-19 Conspiracy Theory

A screenshot of Eric Bolling's recent interview with conspiracy theorist Judy Mikovitz.
A screenshot of Eric Bolling's recent interview with conspiracy theorist Judy Mikovitz.

This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

Fake news and misinformation about the pandemic run rampant these days. One of the culprits is the Sinclair Broadcast Group, which owns more than a dozen popular television stations across the Mountain West.

 Click 'play' to hear the audio version of this story.

Sinclair recently published segments suggesting the COVID-19 pandemic is, at best, overhyped. They include an interview with discredited virologist Judy Mikovitz who promotes a conspiracy theory about the nation's top disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci. 

"I believe that Dr. Fauci has manufactured the coronaviruses in monkey cell lines and paid for and shipped the cell lines to Wuhan, China," she told host Eric Bolling on his hour-long program "America This Week" on July 22. 

Bolling is a former Fox News host who has described his commentaries as "really right wing, hard-core conservative."

Sinclair said earlier this week it wouldn't air his interview with Mikovitz, but it remains on Facebook and other social media channels in its entirety. 

It's the latest in a string of Bolling segments that misinforms audiences about COVID-19 and criticizes the nation's response to it. His show, which isn't labelled as commentary or opinion, airs on local television stations in Reno, Salt Lake City and other towns in the region. 

"We've got to open the economy," Bolling said recently. "I know there are a lot of health risks to it and those need to be considered, but it's America, we've got to get this engine running again." 

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Copyright 2021 Boise State Public Radio News. To see more, visit Boise State Public Radio News.

Nate is UM School of Journalism reporter. He reads the news on Montana Public Radio three nights a week.
Nate Hegyi
Nate Hegyi is a reporter with the Mountain West News Bureau based at Yellowstone Public Radio. He earned an M.A. in Environmental Science and Natural Resource Journalism in 2016 and interned at NPR’s Morning Edition in 2014. In a prior life, he toured around the country in a band, lived in Texas for a spell, and once tried unsuccessfully to fly fish. You can reach Nate at nate@ypradio.org.
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