Fluffing The MyPillow Guy
The Media Research Center had no problem inserting businessman-turned-Trump obsessive and conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell into its right-wing social media "victimization" narrative. But why did it stop?
By Terry Krepel
In April 2020, the MRC twice touted Lindell's unproven claim that Twitter was "shadowbanning" him, gushing over the number of followers he had and his engagement rate. In June 2020, Joseph Vazquez praised Lindell for refusing to pull MyPillow ads from the increasingly extreme and hateful content on Fox News: "In a country where corporate liberal pandering to violent mobs is the new trend in business, one CEO decided to stand on principle and go against the tide."
After the 2020 election, though, Lindell's embrace of Donald Trump and his dubious claims about election fraud ramped up -- and so did the MRC's embrace of Lindell as a victim. In a Jan. 4 post -- whose most notable attribute is that it is the final post in which the MRC complained about how may times Trump was "censored" by social media, a talking point that became moot after he was banned from most platforms to helping to incite the Capitol riot two days later -- Corinne Weaver declared that Lindell was a Trump supporter who was being "censored." She huffed that Lindell's tweet that "@realDonaldTrump will be our President for the next 4 years!!!” got a label put on it (which, again, is not "censorship" no matter how much Weaver thinks wants you to believe otherwise) and claimed that "implies that Twitter has a double standard," adding: "For this particular message to be censored implies that Twitter has a double standard. Myriads of celebrities and figures have tweeted that Trump was not their president."
When Lindell got banned by Twitter later in January, Kayla Sargent was on hand to recite the victim narrative:
Perhaps Twitter was losing sleep over the fact that it’s been a whole three days since it censored a prominent conservative.
Sargent is lying when she claims that Twitter banned Lindell because "it’s been a whole three days since it censored a prominent conservative," and that "many media outlets despise" Lindell because he's "been an avid supporter" of Trump. Lindell was originally banned because he continued to spread the Big Lie that the election was stolen from Trump -- which Sargent played dumb about by not mentioning that relevant fact, or that Dominion Voting Systems was threatening to sue Lindell for promoting falsehoods about the voting-tech company. He's despised not for mere support of Trump; it's because he's been pushing lies. Indeed, Lindell has gone so far over the edge that an interviewer for conservative channel Newsmax TV literally walked off the set rather than put up with his ranting conspiracies any longer.
Sargent has demonstrated once again that at the MRC, the narrative is more important than the truth.
Soon, the MRC was granting Lindell full victimhood. Jeffrey Lord ramped up the victimization narrative in a Jan. 30 post:
What was Mike Lindell’s offense? Why, the man had the audacity --- the nerve!! --- to support former President Trump and to say what he thinks about the 2020 election results. And with Twitter going out of its way to cancel the ex-president himself, how tough is it to cancel one of his most prominent supporters?
Actually, Hannity was lying: The drop in Bed Bath & Beyond stock that day had everything to do with it being turned into a bit player in the GameStop stock short-selling craziness and nothing to do with MyPillow.
Lord's item appeared under the provocative headline "The Twitter Censors Come for Mike Lindell; Are You Next?" Unless you're spreading repeatedly debunked lies like Lindell did, the answer is no -- not that Lord will tell you that, of course.
When Lindell's crazy video filled with bogus election fraud conspiracy theories was removed from YouTube and Vimeo, Sargent was there to paint Lindell as a victim again:
The self-proclaimed truth overlords have struck again, lest anyone raise questions about possible election fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
Sargent didn't mention the pertinent fact that fact-checkers found Lindell's video to be filled with lies -- so much so that when Lindell bought time on One America News to repeatedly air the video, OAN added a massive disclaimer stating that it doesn't endorse the video's claims in general or regarding specific people and companies like Dominion and Smartmatic, which have not been shy about suing right-wingers who lie about them. The disclaimer also added that the video is "not intended to be taken or interpreted by the viewer as established fact."
But telling the truth is not Sargent's job here; keeping the narrative alive is.
On March 10, Sargent promoted Lindell's would-be social media platform:
Many dream of a world without the constant barrage of Big Tech censorship. Soon, a new censorship-free platform may not be confined to their dreams while resting on a MyPillow.
Sargent went on to play the victim card for Lindell:
Lindell has been an avid supporter of former President Donald Trump, and an outspoken critic of the 2020 election. Twitter banned Lindell from its platform in January for “repeated violations of our Civic Integrity Policy,” a Twitter spokesperson told MRC TechWatch.
Sargent failed to acknowledge that if Lindell and other right-wingers want to live in "a world without the constant barrage of Big Tech censorship," they should stop telling lies and respect the terms of service of social media platforms. She also didn't mention, as the MRC previously failed to do, that "Absolute Proof" is absolutely filled with lies and that OAN added a massive disclaimer to it.
The MRC continued to promote Lindell's ventures. An April 13 post by Joseph Vazquez touted how Lindell "is launching an online store to combat Big Tech giant Amazon’s hold over e-commerce," which Lindell insisted would be “a patriotism-themed e-commerce platform.” The site has apparently launched, though we haven't heard much about it since; Lindell was planning to launch an IPO for the operation, but claimed that his getting sued by Dominion Voting Systems for $1.3 billion over false claims he allegedly made about the company supposedly put those plans on hold. Still, Vazquez went on to rehash Lindell's victimhood bona fides:
Just recently, both YouTube and Vimeo removed Lindell’s documentary Absolute Proof. The documentary called the results of the 2020 presidential election into question.
On April 15, Alexander Hall promoted the launch of Lindell's social media operation:
MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell chose to take matters into his own hands after Twitter banned him in January. He has now created a new social media platform called “Frank” that is reportedly close to launching for conservatives seeking to speak their minds in a more wholesome atmosphere.
Well, actually, it kinda is. If you block certain kinds of speech you find objectionable, -- even to create "a more wholesome atmosphere" -- you're no longer a "free speech" operation.
In a May 7 post, Vazquez got some amusement out of the Democrats allegedly compiling an opposition-research file on Lindell in case he does something political in the future: "Allies of President Joe Biden are apparently so worried about his political future that they decided to compile an entire opposition file on MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell." Actually, that's smart political work, because it's a good idea to be prepared for anything in the political arena.
That, however, was the last post dedicated to Lindell (though he received passing mention in two posts in August). The Frank platform appears to have not caught fire (unless you count the dumpster fire of its launch), and the MRC seems to have put its rhetorical chips on GETTR, the Twitter clone run by former Trump aide Jason Miller (which also has its dumpster-fire aspects). And it may be that Lindell has become too crazy for the MRC -- which would be an achievement given the kind of extremists it has portrayed as mainstream conservatives who are being "censored" by "Big Tech" in order to pad its victim narrative. The MRC did not promote last month's "cyber symposium" hosted by Lindell, and it didn't even note that Fox News "censored" Lindell by refusing to run ads for it, causing Lindell to pull all his MyPillow advertising off Fox News -- something that would fall under the MRC's incredibly loose definition of "censorship" if a non-right-wing channel had done it. The utter failure of the symposium made Lindell look even worse than he already did.
Too crazy for the MRC? Not exactly a pillow-soft landing for Lindell.