MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell is unhappy with Fox News over what he saw as its disregard for his upcoming rally, so he plans to buy more ad time on the network, Salon reports.
Lindell said the news network hadn’t yet covered his “cyber symposium” event, scheduled to start August 10 in South Dakota.
“Fox [News] does not talk about anything with the election,” he told Salon. Fox News did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Lindell said he planned to respond by buying more ads on Fox News. Those ads would promote his website, FrankSpeech.com, and include information about the event in an attempt to “get the word out,” he said.
“So I’m going to make ads that will talk about – at least advertising for FrankSpeech.com – that we’re going to be televising this [cyber symposium] for 72 hours straight,” he said.
Lindell has said his symposium would reveal new information about voter fraud in the 2020 election. An ally of former President Donald Trump, he has been a leading voice in spreading conspiracies theories about the election being “stolen.”
In December 2020, Lindell said “the biggest fraud is the Dominion machines,” a reference to machines used to cast votes. He said Dominion’s technology switched votes for Trump to votes for Joe Biden. Dominion sued Lindell for $1.3 billion, and Lindell countered with a lawsuit for $1.6 billion.
Lindell told Salon: “Fox News has refused to cover election fraud, especially the machines.” He added: “Shame on Fox News!”
Following the 2020 elections, Lindell’s relationship with Fox News soured. He said the network was “unwatchable” after it announced Biden’s victory. He championed other conservative networks, like Newsmax.
MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, a staunch ally of former President Donald Trump and leading promoter of voter fraud conspiracy theories, said he’d give $5 million to anyone who can disprove data that he claims shows election interference.
But there’s a catch. To be eligible, you have to attend his upcoming cyber symposium conference, which is taking place in South Dakota between August 10 and 12.
And the event isn’t open to the public, according to an advert for the event posted on Lindell’s website Frank. Invitees include current politicians, cyber experts, and the media, though it will also be streamed for 72 hours on Frank.
Lindell said he wants the symposium to be the most-watched live event in history, and is aiming for 1 billion people to watch it via his website, Salon’s Zachary Petrizzo reported. He has reserved 800 rooms for the event, but few officials have said they will attend.
There is nothing to suggest Lindell’s event will draw anywhere close to those numbers. For context, the most-watched Super Bowl ever drew in around 114 million viewers, and the first 2020 presidential debate had a total of 73 million viewers.
At the event, “Mike will reveal the cyber data and the packet captures from the November 2020 election,” the advert says. “A $5,000,000 prize will be offered to any attendee who can prove that this cyber data is not valid data from the November 2020 election.”
Lindell told Steve Bannon on Monday that he has 37 terabytes of information related to voter fraud, Salon reported.
Kevin Skoglund, president and chief technologist of Citizens for Better Elections, told The Dispatch that Lindell’s data theory is “technically incoherent and wrong in several ways.” According to Skoglund, Lindell claims that his team of anonymous experts collected internet traffic from foreign computers that infiltrated US voting systems.
“An extraordinary claim needs extraordinary evidence,” Skoglund said to The Dispatch. “And they provide little evidence at all.”
Lindell, who said in April that he still spoke to Trump around once a month, has repeatedly supported the former president’s debunked claims challenging the integrity of the 2020 election.
Discussing the media, Lindell said: “I’ve invited them all to the symposium. Why don’t you prove it there so then you can win $5 million?”
This isn’t the first time Lindell has held an event to spout his voter-fraud theories.
He also held a so-called “Frank Rally” at the Corn Palace in South Dakota in May to celebrate the launch of the site, which features videos and articles, many by right-wing conspiracy theorists, that largely focus on voter fraud.
The venue for the Frank Rally could fit around 3,000 attendees – but pictures circulating on Twitter showed that it was only half full.
The rally featured talks from Ben Carson, Trump’s secretary of housing and urban development, and conservative podcaster Eric Metaxas, as well as Lindell himself, who spread voter-fraud theories including an inflated estimate of Trump’s vote total in the 2020 presidential election.
Attendees received a free copy of both Lindell’s autobiography and his self-made voter-fraud film “Absolute Proof.”
Last fall, when President Donald Trump was spreading unsubstantiated claims about widespread election fraud, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was urging Attorney General Bill Barr to speak out against them, according to a forthcoming book by ABC News Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl.
Meanwhile, McConnell said nothing publicly to rebuke the president’s claims.
Barr told Karl that McConnell said he believed Trump’s claims were damaging to the GOP and to the US, but that he couldn’t speak out for political reasons.
“Look, we need the president in Georgia,” McConnell told Barr, in reference to the upcoming runoff election that would determine control of the Senate. “And so we cannot be frontally attacking him right now. But you’re in a better position to inject some reality into this situation. You are really the only one who can do it.”
According to Karl, McConnell thought the most effective message to win the Senate seats was to argue that because Joe Biden would be president, Republicans needed control of the Senate. But he felt he couldn’t acknowledge Biden’s win without upsetting Trump and risking the GOP Senate campaigns.
Karl said McConnell confirmed Barr’s account of the conversations.
After Barr told McConnell he was waiting for the right time to speak out, McConnell called him again and pleaded with him to dismiss the fraud claims, saying “you are the only person who can do it,” Karl reported.
The exchange was described in an excerpt of the book “Betrayal” that was published in The Atlantic on Sunday. The book is set for release in November.
As Barr and McConnell reportedly had these conversations, McConnell himself would not speak out against the fraud claims. Instead, he chose to point out that the president had the right to pursue legal challenges.
In December, after Attorney General Bill Barr told The Associated Press the Justice Department had uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud, President Donald Trump was livid, according to a forthcoming book by ABC News Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl.
“How the f— could you do this to me? Why did you say it?” Trump asked Barr, who up to that point had been considered a staunch ally of the president.
When Barr responded “because it’s true,” Trump said: “You must hate Trump. You must hate Trump.”
The exchange was described in an excerpt of the book “Betrayal” that was published in The Atlantic on Sunday. The book is set for release in November.
The AP story on Barr’s comment came after weeks of Trump spreading unsubstantiated claims of fraud that were going largely unchecked by some in Republican leadership and others in the administration.
“To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election,” Barr told AP.
Barr told Karl that he had expected Trump to lose the election, but that he looked into claims of fraud because he knew Trump would ask him about it. Shortly after the election, he told prosecutors in the Justice Department to investigate substantial allegations of fraud, diverging from long-standing agency policy.
Barr himself also looked into some of the biggest claims that were being made about fraud in the election, according to Karl.
“If there was evidence of fraud, I had no motive to suppress it,” Barr told Karl. “But my suspicion all the way along was that there was nothing there. It was all bulls—.”
After Trump confronted Barr about his comments to the AP, the attorney general left the meeting unsure if he still had a job, according to Karl. But Barr stayed with the administration for a couple more weeks while Trump continued to contradict him and repeat the fraud claims.
Barr resigned in mid-December with a resignation letter that profusely praised the president.
The Republican-controlled Arizona Senate is considering expanding its controversial audit of votes to all elections held in Maricopa County last year.
The Senate in April ordered a recount of votes in last year’s presidential and US Senate elections in Arizona’s most populous county on the basis of Donald Trump’s groundless claim that last year’s election was stolen from him as a result of mass fraud.
The recount, which is being conducted by contractors Cyber Ninjas, has been criticized by observers from the Arizona secretary of state’s office as shambolic and inaccurate. They said auditors appeared to be seeking to verify conspiracy theories about last year’s election using dubious technology.
Joe Biden flipped Arizona in his election win last year, becoming the first Democratic presidential candidate to win Arizona since 1991, and Democrat Mark Kelly was elected to the US Senate.
“We are looking with other companies to do a machine tabulation of all the races on the ballot to compare with the Dominion tabulation back in November,” Bennet told the outlet.
“We will be looking at the images of all 2.1 million ballots.”
Bennet told the publication that a California company which he did not name was being considered to conduct the audit. He added that it would not involve a physical recount of ballots like that being conducted by Cyber Ninjas but would involve digital images of ballots.
He appeared to be referencing groundless conspiracy theories spread by Trump and his allies that voting machines recorded millions of Trump votes for Biden last year as part of an elaborate plot to deprive Republicans of victory.
Dominion has issued a multibillion-dollar lawsuit against allies of Trump who were the most prominent backers of the allegation.
The result of the audits cannot be used to change the elections, but Republicans say will be used to ensure the integrity of future elections.
The recount of presidential and Senate election votes, which had been scheduled to be completed by May 14 but which may now drag on for months, was paused Friday so the venue where it is being conducted could be used for high school ceremonies.
Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobb and the US Justice Department have expressed concern about the recount currently being conducted.
“We already know this election was free from fraud,” Hobbs told a CBS News interview Saturday, referencing audits that have already been conducted into last year’s results. “This is unprecedented, and it’s not sustainable to think this will be the future of how we handle elections.”
Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer took to Twitter to refute a statement in which Trump repeated unsubstantiated claims about the election and claimed, without evidence, that the “entire Database of Maricopa County in Arizona has been DELETED!”
“Wow. This is unhinged. I’m literally looking at our voter registration database on my other screen. Right now,” Richer wrote. “We can’t indulge these insane lies any longer. As a party. As a state. As a country.”
The Razzies, Hollywood’s parody award show that honors the worst content created in the last year, has presented MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell with two awards.
Lindell won Worst Actor for his role in his own self-produced film, “Absolute Proof.” He has called the film a “documentary,” despite the fact that it’s laden with disinformation about the 2020 presidential election.
The premise behind “Absolute Proof” is that former President Donald Trump lost the 2020 election to now-President Joe Biden because of interference from Chinese cyberattackers.
“Now for a narcoleptic coma-inducing performance by a male lead that put our entire voting body to sleep – with or without a pillow,” said the voiceover announcing the Worst Actor award. “The Razzie for Worst Actor goes to Mike Lindell, the pillow guy, by a landslide for ‘Absolute Proof.'”
The movie also won Worst Picture award.
“The Razzie winner for Worst Picture of 2020 is Absolute Proof. Oh boy, here come the demands for a recount,” the voiceover said after announcing “Absolute Proof” the winner.
Lecinski said it makes sense to spend more money on advertising when interest, and consequently brand awareness, are already high.
“MyPillow is recognizing that bad press is still press and is taking advantage of the energy, no matter the sentiment,” Matt Klein, a cultural researcher and consultant, told Insider. “Lindell’s divisiveness is attractive to some.”
“So when there’s a press hit, negative or positive, he becomes top of mind again for those consumers,” Klein added.
Lindell previously told Insider’s Kate Taylor he tracks every MyPillow ad either breaks even or makes money, regardless of controversies he’s embroiled in at the time.
When Lindell is in the news, this can act as upper-funnel marketing, which has the purpose of raising brand awareness, Matt Voda, CEO of OptiMine, told Insider.
MyPillow can instead focus on lower tunnel direct response marketing, including paid search, social media, and TV ads, to drive sales, he said.
Some consumers may stop buying MyPillow’s products
There will be some consumers who “vote with their dollar” and stop buying MyPillow’s products, Lecinski said, referring to previous Nike boycotts, but he added that it’s not clear how long this will last.
Christina Eyuboglu, publicist and crisis-management expert at Adduco, told Insider that people support companies that align with their belief systems, and purchase accordingly.
“It’s a way to put your money, and your power, behind your ideologies,” she said.
MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images
Eric Schiffer, chairman of Reputation Management Consultants, told Insider that MyPillow should focus on boosting sales among Lindell’s most loyal supports.
“To save the MyPillow brand, Lindell must hyper-focus on the portion of his conservative audience not turned off by his conspiracies and his running amok with a brand suicide vest and close to pulling the cord with catastrophic effects to the company,” he said.
Schiffer added that Lindell’s support of voter-fraud theories has “[left] the MyPillow brand in the septic muck caused by its own CEO.”
Lindell is optimistic about the future of MyPillow
Lindell, however, doesn’t seem worried about the future of the company.
In a podcast in March, he said the companies who kept stocking its products were “thriving,” and that MyPillow has had to expand its workforce to meet demand. However, one large retailer, Costco, appears to have recently stopped stocking MyPillow items – but it declined to say whether it had fully cut ties with the brand.
Lecinski said some of Lindell’s supporters may choose to buy more MyPillow products to show their support for his beliefs. He added that a lot of people ultimately aren’t engaged in the news, so they may continue buying the products without knowing about Lindell’s controversies and the calls to boycott the brand.
The woman who made headlines late last year for her outlandish testimony as Rudy Giuliani’s “star” witness during a Michigan election-fraud hearing on the presidential election is joining the political fray herself.
The 33-year-old was parodied on “Saturday Night Live” by Cecily Strong after she made false claims about election fraud at a Detroit ballot counting center where she worked as a Dominion Voting Systems IT contractor.
She erroneously claimed that voter turnout in Detroit was over 120%, and when a Republican lawmaker questioned how there could be massive fraud when there was no discrepancy between ballot count totals and tracked votes, Carone questioned whether lawmakers “did something crazy” to the poll book totals.
Lawyers for Dominion hit Carone with a cease-and-desist order following her baseless claims, accusing the mother of two of spreading lies about the company.
Trump supporters positioned Carone as an insider whose key testimony could potentially help discredit President Joe Biden’s win over the former president. But a letter sent to Carone from Dominion said in reality, Carone was “hired through a staffing agency for one day to clean glass on machines and complete other menial tasks.”
Following her moment in the spotlight, reports revealed she was on probation for sending her fiance’s ex-wife sex tapes. Police records said Carone harassed the woman for two years, stalking her and sending her explicit videos from an anonymous account.
Carone told the Huffington Post that it was her fiance who had sent the tapes and that she agreed to a plea deal so they wouldn’t have to continue with court proceedings.
Former President Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election by propagating baseless claims of mass voter fraud have cost taxpayers more than $519 million, an analysis by The Washington Post found.
The Post tallied the cost from reviews of local, state, and federal spending records, and interviews with government officials. The costs included legal fees, damage costs from the Capitol siege in January, military and security expenses, and more.
Trump and his Republican allies spent the weeks leading up to Biden’s inauguration filing dozens of lawsuits in swing states attempting to overturn the results, delay certification, or throw out votes. They failed to win any of them.
Altogether, states spent $2.2 million on legal challenges and security for election officials, the Post found.
Pennsylvania, for instance, paid outside lawyers as much as $480 per hour to work against Trump’s election fraud lawsuits.
The House of Representatives impeached Trump for “incitement of insurrection” for his role in the riot. The Senate will hold an impeachment trial next week.
The riot led to a demand for increased security around lawmakers and the Capitol ahead of the impeachment trial.
National Guard troops were deployed to Washington, DC, following the attack and some will remain there until mid-March. The Post reported that the cost for that is at least $480 million. Additionally, the week of the attack, the DC Metropolitan Police spent $8.8 million protecting the Capitol.
Costs for repairing the Capitol to clean up the damage of the attack, the cost for the US Park Police to clean up the National Mall, and costs for additional staffing, overtime, and medical bills from Capitol Police are also still unknown.
Members of Congress are also now using their publicly funded Members’ Representational Allowances, which comes from taxpayer money, to secure personal protective resources, from bulletproof vests to private security details and surveillance cameras, the Post reported.
The move garnered pushback from local officials, but if it were to be implemented, beyond being approved by the Capitol Police Board, the House and Senate would also have to approve appropriating funds to fortify the building.
States so far also spent $28 million for security relating to the insurrection and inauguration, the Post reported.
The costs included protecting their own statehouses following the Capitol attack. For instance, state officials in California spent around $19 million deploying National Guard and state troopers to the state Capitol and other locations between Jan. 14 to Jan. 21, the Post reported.
In Texas and North Carolina, taxpayers paid for helicopters to monitor potential protests, and in cities like Lansing, Michigan, and Olympia, Washington, they paid for temporary fencing and extra security details for state lawmakers going to legislative sessions.
President Donald Trump wanted the Department of Justice to file lawsuits in the Supreme Court against specific states in an attempt to overturn their election results, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal.
Trump’s idea to sue states was pushed by his personal lawyers, The Journal reported.
“He wanted us, the United States, to sue one or more of the states directly in the Supreme Court,” a former administration official told The Journal.
DOJ officials refused to file the case, determining that there was no legal grounds and that “the federal government had no legal interest in whether Mr. Trump or Mr. Biden won the presidency,” according to The Journal.
The DOJ did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Trump and his allies pursued dozens of legal challenges in the wake of the election in an attempt to overturn the results based on unsubstantiated claims of mass voter fraud. The Trump campaign and Republican officials filed lawsuits across battleground states, but virtually none of the challenges held up in court.
On the night of the election during a speech where he falsely claimed victory, Trump threatened to go to the Supreme Court over the election, though it was unclear why or on what legal basis he planned to do so.
When Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg died in September and Trump and Republicans were determined to fill her seat, Trump also suggested the election would be decided in the Supreme Court, though again it was unclear what exactly he thought would constitute litigation.
Trump successfully nominated and appointed Justice Amy Coney Barrett, making her the third Trump-appointee on the bench alongside Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, solidifying the court’s conservative majority with a 6-3 split.