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Sunday, February 28, 2021

Explained: What is ‘Absolute Proof’, the film that is pushing US election fraud conspiracy theories?

Absolute Proof is hosted by Mike Lindell, the CEO of the bedding company MyPillow, a known Trump supporter who also had a role in encouraging the voter fraud theories pushed by the former President.

By: Explained Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: February 15, 2021 9:14:37 pm
Michael Lindell, CEO of My Pillow, with President Donald Trump at the White House. (Source: Carlos Barria/Reuters)

On Friday, pro-Trump TV news channel One America News aired a two-hour-long film titled “Absolute Proof” that claims to expose the alleged election fraud theories related to the 2020 presidential elections.

The film

The film is hosted by Mike Lindell, the CEO of the bedding company MyPillow, a known Trump supporter who also had a role in encouraging the voter fraud theories pushed by the former President. In January, Twitter permanently banned Lindell’s account after he continued to perpetuate that Trump had won the 2020 presidential elections.

“Join MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell for a never-before-seen report breaking down election fraud evidence & showing how the unprecedented level of voter fraud was committed in the 2020 Presidential Election. Tune in to “Absolute Proof” with Mike Lindell on February 5th. Only on #OANN,” the tweet posted from the news channel’s Twitter profile read. Even so, the channel ran a disclaimer before playing the film that put the responsibility of its content fully on Lindell.

In the film, Lindell claims that a Chinese cyberattack “flipped” the 2020 elections and said that one “miracle” that happened on election night was that at 11:59 pm the algorithms of the voting machines “broke”. “What this means is that Donald Trump got so many more millions of votes that they didn’t expect…” Lindell said in the film.

The film was taken down by YouTube on Friday because it violated the platform’s policies regarding presidential integrity.

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What were the allegations made by Trump regarding the election fraud?

After the November 3 elections, as it started becoming clearer that Joe Biden would win, former President Donald Trump alleged that the Democrats were involved in a “large-scale election fraud”, “illegal vote-counting” and “voter suppression”. Some pro-Trump news channels in the US also questioned the legitimacy of the election voting machines and software and supported Trump’s allegations that vote counting in certain states might have been manipulated in favour of president-elect Joe Biden.

Some of these right-wing channels have aired statements in December that ran counter to their earlier claims supporting voter fraud and questions about irregularities in voting software after they faced the possibility of legal action from voting machine manufacturers. Lou Dobbs of the Fox Business Network, for instance, ran a segment in December where he questioned Eddie Perez of the Open Source Election Technology Institute about the legitimacy of the claims made against Smartmatic in what seems to be a backtrack on the channel’s previous statements.

Significantly, Lindell specifically targeted the voting machine manufacturer Dominion Voting Systems, which recently threatened to take legal action against him.

In the run-up to the 2020 presidential elections, Trump also questioned mail-in voting as many Republicans believed that it would favour the Democrats – in essence, they believe that more voters (especially low-income and non-white ones) will mean more votes for Democrats. Trump also alleged at the time that voting by mail will lead to fraud in the election process.

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