Democrat presidential candidate Robert Francis Kennedy Jr. slammed ABC News on Friday after the network admitted that it censored some of its Thursday interview with him.
RFK Jr., who has faced criticism for years over some of his staunchly anti-vaccine views, is surging in Democrat primary polls, amassing nearly 20% support despite having only recently announced his campaign for president.
ABC News journalist Linsey Davis said before the interview aired, “RFK Jr. is one of the biggest voices pushing anti-vaccine rhetoric, regularly distributing misinformation and disinformation about vaccines, which scientific and medical experts overwhelmingly say are safe and effective based on rigorous scientific studies.”
After the interview, Davis revealed that the network decided to censor some of his remarks about vaccines. “We should note that during our conversation, Kennedy made false claims about the COVID-19 vaccines,” she said. “We’ve used our editorial judgment in not including extended portions of that exchange in our interview.”
Davis cited the American Academy of Pediatrics and the advocacy group Autism Speaks to say that Kennedy made “misleading claims about the relationship between vaccination and autism.”
Kennedy responded to the censorship by citing a statute that he claims makes it illegal for TV networks to censor presidential candidates.
“47 USC 315 makes it illegal for TV networks to censor Presidential candidates but Thursday, ABC showed its contempt for the law, democracy, and its audience by cutting most of the content of my interview with host Linsey Davis leaving only cherry-picked snippets and a defamatory disclaimer,” he said. “Offering no evidence, @ABC justified this act of censorship by falsely asserting that I made ‘false claims.’ In truth, Davis engaged me in a lively, informative, and mutually respectful debate on the government’s Covid countermeasures.”
“I’m happy to supply citations to support every statement I made during that exchange,” he said. “I’m certain that ABC’s decision to censor came as a shock to Linsey as well. Instead of journalism, the public saw a hatchet job. Instead of information, they got defamation and unsheathed Pharma propaganda.”
Kennedy said that Americans deserved to hear the full interview so they could make up their own minds and that democracy could not function without “a free and unbiased press.”
“As President, I will free FCC from its corporate captors and force the agency to follow the law by revoking the licenses of networks that put the mercantile ambitions of advertisers ahead of the public interest,” he concluded.
47 USC 315 makes it illegal for TV networks to censor Presidential candidates but Thursday, ABC showed its contempt for the law, democracy, and its audience by cutting most of the content of my interview with host Linsey Davis leaving only cherry-picked snippets and a defamatory…
— Robert F. Kennedy Jr (@RobertKennedyJr) April 28, 2023