Photo: William Thomas Cain/Getty Images

Sinclair Broadcast Group asked its dozens of local affiliates across the U.S. this weekend not to air a controversial interview conducted on its program "America This Week," which touted conspiracy theories that NIAID director Anthony Fauci started the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Sinclair has been caught up in controversies around journalism ethics before. Most notably, it asked journalists at affiliates to read pro-Trump scripts about "fake news" in 2018.

Catch up quick: The interview, conducted last week, features host by Eric Bolling, interviewing researcher and activist Judy Mikovits and her lawyer Larry Klayman, a right-wing activist, about the coronavirus.

  • In the interview, Mikovits says she believes that Fauci "manufactured the coronavirus" in monkey cell lines and paid for and shipped the cell lines to Wuhan, China. That assertion has been widely discredited by scientists and health officials.

Details: In a series of tweets, the broadcast giant said it decided to delay the episode's airing and "will spend the coming days bringing together other viewpoints and provide additional context."

  • "All stations have been notified not to air this and will instead be re-airing last week’s episode in its place."
  • "We would also like to clarify that at no point did we air the 'Plandemic' documentary, nor do we have plans to."
  • "This documentary has been widely discredited and we as a company do not support the baseless claims that were rebutted during the original segment."
  • "Further, we valiantly support Dr. Fauci and the work he and his team are doing to further prevent the spread of COVID-19 and are proud to have welcomed him to 'America This Week' as well as our stations via our national bureau to update and inform viewers."

Be smart: Mikovits came under fire earlier this year when a video she posted with similarly falsified information about Fauci's role in the pandemic went viral on social media.

  • Even big social media sites, which are usually more hesitant than traditional media companies to remove misinformation, yanked the video from their platforms.

The big picture: In the past few years, Sinclair as a company has solidified its reputation as a right-wing broadcaster by investing in a slew of conservative hosts and commentators.

Go deeper: The coronavirus conspiracy news cycle

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Oct 20, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump threatens to post "60 Minutes" interview early after reportedly walking out

Trump speaks to reporters aboard Air Force One, Oct. 19. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Tuesday that he was considering posting his interview with CBS' "60 Minutes" prior to airtime in order to show "what a FAKE and BIASED interview" it was, following reports that he abruptly ended the interview after 45 minutes of taping.

Why it matters: Trump has escalated his war on the media in the final stretch of his re-election campaign, calling a Reuters reporter a "criminal" this week for not reporting on corruption allegations about Hunter Biden and disparaging CNN as "dumb b*stards" for the network's ongoing coronavirus coverage.

Obama: The rest of us have to live with the consequences of what Trump's done

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Campaigning for Joe Biden at a car rally in Miami on Saturday, Barack Obama railed against President Trump's response to the coronavirus pandemic, saying "the rest of us have to live with the consequences of what he's done."

Driving the news: With less than two weeks before the election, the Biden campaign is drawing on the former president's popularity with Democrats to drive turnout and motivate voters.