Auburn men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl took issue with ABC News Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s vaccine claims after the Democrat presidential candidate talked about his beliefs in a recent interview.
Pearl quote-tweeted Fox News Media contributor Jonathan Turley on Monday.
“How is this Ok? How can the media simply edit or censor what a candidate has said about a topic, in this case COVID, because ABC says that it’s dangerous or misinformation? Isn’t it our job to hear a candidate and determine that for ourselves?” the longtime coach tweeted.
Pearl has been a full-time Division I college basketball coach since 2002. He got his start with Milwaukee and then moved onto Tennessee in 2005. He became the coach at Auburn in 2014 after he was let go by the Volunteers following the 2010-11 season and the announcement of NCAA violations.
He returned to coaching at Auburn in 2014 and has been with the Tigers ever since. Auburn was 21-13 overall in 2022-23 and made the NCAA Tournament.
On Friday, ABC News admitted to editing Kennedy’s remarks after the news outlet pressed him on his stance on vaccines.
Journalist Linsey Davis gave a warning ahead of the interview, telling viewers that the President Biden challenger peddled misinformation and disinformation about vaccines.
“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,” she stated. “But can a Kennedy break through in 2024? Will RFK Jr.’s controversial stances limit his appeal?”
During the contentious 14-minute interview, Davis grilled the candidate on not just his vaccine beliefs, but also his willingness to take on President Biden as the Democratic nominee, his criticism of government agencies and his appearances on conservative media shows.
Afterward, the journalist acknowledged they edited Kennedy’s remarks on 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 added.
ABC backed up its fact-check by listing medical and advocacy organizations which disagreed with Kennedy’s statements on vaccines.
“Data shows that the COVID-19 vaccine has prevented millions of hospitalizations and deaths from the disease. He also made misleading claims about the relationship between vaccination and autism. Research shows that vaccines and the ingredients used in the vaccines do not cause autism, including multiple studies involving more than a million children and major medical associations like the American Academy of Pediatrics and the advocacy group Autism Speaks.”
During the interview, Kennedy said he has been “vilified” for the past three years with “total blanket censorship” from the media.
Fox News’ Kristine Parks contributed to this report.