What is it about Donald Trump that his closest associates seem to all go irredeemably insane?
On Thursday, the CEO and chief priest of MyPillow Mike Lindell announced that he is suspending his advertising on Fox, ‘immediately and indefinitely’. This is no minor boycott or tiff. MyPillow and Fox News are tethered together like no sponsor and sponsee since Michael Jordan spiritually merged his consciousness with Nike.
Lindell claims his firm bought $50 million in ads on Fox in 2020, meaning he supplies almost two percent of Fox’s revenue. Fox doesn’t just market Lindell’s cushions, but also his life: the channel has aired the ad for his self-published memoir, What Are The Odds?, so many times that the phrase ‘American tourist goes missing in Mexico’ is burned into viewers’ brains, right next to the part of the brain that remembers Janet Jackson’s nipple.
But now, Lindell is bringing it all crashing to Earth. Fox’s offense? According to Lindell (who rambled about it for 40 minutes on Friday), the network refused to air an ad promoting Lindell’s August ‘cyber symposium’ in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. That symposium will, Lindell claims, definitively prove claims of election fraud in the 2020 election. Fox blocking the ads is bad news, since Lindell has expressed hopes that the event’s viewership might exceed one billion people. Of course, if Lindell wants those kinds of ratings, diversifying his ad buys would be a nice start. Even if he could convince every single Tucker Carlson Tonight viewer to tune in, he would still need to find another 997 million people.
Why is Lindell claiming he wants a billion people to watch his broadcast? Why is he doing any of this? Most outlets are too polite to say, so Cockburn will: Mike Lindell is nuts, but too rich to be ignored or to be stopped. Lindell represents, better than anyone, the tragic changes Donald Trump seems to wreak on the mental state of his most fanatical supporters. Three years ago, Lindell was just a former drug addict turned born again businessman. In 2019, he put $1 million into the production of the anti-abortion film Unplanned, and in return got to make a cameo appearance dismantling a Planned Parenthood clinic. But now, Lindell has followed the same course followed by Sidney Powell and Lin Wood from political activism to genuinely worrying insanity.
It started with Lindell’s proposal to have President Trump declare martial law to nullify and then rerun the election. Then, after being banned from Twitter (and then getting his company banned too), Lindell spent $1 million to launch his own social networking startup, Frank, except that it isn’t a social networking site, and is really just a college student-grade page for hosting Lindell’s own sponsored broadcasts. When Dominion Voting Systems sued Lindell for $1.3 billion over his claims about the election, the pillow merchant countered with his own suit for $1.6 billion. In March, Lindell claimed that both Twitter founder Jack Dorsey and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg would go to jail for blocking his content online. But with all this political drama afoot, Lindell hasn’t neglected his personal life: He’s also sued the Daily Mail for claiming his had a nine-month romantic fling with actress Jane Krakowski (which arguably would make him look better!)
Now, Lindell claims to have spent the past five months having white-hat hackers ‘validate’ evidence that the Chinese Communist party rigged the 2020 election for Joe Biden. Presenting this evidence is the purpose of Lindell’s cyber symposium. Lindell says he’s booked a thousand Sioux Falls hotel rooms to host participants, a claim that surprises Sioux Falls hoteliers. He also claims he’ll give $5 million to anybody who can debunk his claims. Cockburn isn’t holding his breath that any ‘cyber guy’ will measure up to Lindell’s expectations.
Lindell’s Boomerbrain meltdown hogs the spotlight, but the biggest loser in all this is almost certainly Fox. The company certainly didn’t decline Lindell’s ad because of concerns about telling the truth; after all, they let Lindell spend years claiming the MyPillow is a quality pillow, which Cockburn’s friends tell him is a damnable lie. Instead, the company rejected the ad because election conspiracies have already embroiled the company in a billion-dollar lawsuit. Now, the company is caught between digging itself a deeper legal hole, or losing an account worth $50 million each year and enraging the most unreasonable factions of their base. In that sense, it’s much like the relationship between the conservative movement and Donald Trump.
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