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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

Go deeper

Oct 28, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Right-wing misinformation could gain steam post-election

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

With less than a week until the 2020 election, researchers have expressed concern that the information ecosystem today is ripe for an unprecedented level of exploitation by bad actors, particularly hyper-partisan media and personalities on the right.

Why it matters: The misinformation-powered right-wing media machine that fueled Donald Trump's 2016 victory grew stronger after that win, and it's set to increase its reach as a result of the upcoming election, whether Trump wins or loses.

Ina Fried, author of Login
2 hours ago - Technology

Intel CEO sees making own chips as a matter of national security

Pat Gelsinger. Photo: Axios on HBO

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger is putting the pressure on the U.S. government to help subsidize chip manufacturing, insisting the current reliance on plants in Taiwan and Korea as "geopolitically unstable."

Why it matters: There is bipartisan support for funding the domestic semiconductor industry, but Congress has yet to sign the check. The Senate has passed the CHIPS Act that includes $52 billion in semiconductor investment, but it has yet to pass the House.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

17 U.S. and Canadian missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

Haitian soldiers guard the public prosecutor's office in Port-au-Prince this month. Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images

Children are among a group of 17 missionaries kidnapped in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, per a statement from Christian Aid Ministries Sunday.

The latest: "The group of 16 U.S citizens and one Canadian citizen includes five men, seven women, and five children," the Ohio-based group said. Haitian police inspector Frantz Champagne on Sunday identified the 400 Mawozo gang as the group responsible, in a statement to AP.