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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.
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."
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.