OF THE 2020 ELECTION
We have recently been treated to two very different accounts of the Trump-Biden clash…
The second is “Absolute Proof,” a two-hour video documentary exploring the indications of electoral fraud, produced by entrepreneur and Trump supporter Mike Lindell.
These two versions of our great political trauma could not possibly be more different.
The first, written by TIME National Political Correspondent Molly Ball, is a ripping good yarn. It portrays a “Star Wars”-like struggle between a “rebel alliance” of activists and the malign forces of Darth Trump, a “dangerous dictator” and evil nemesis of freedom-loving Progressives everywhere.
“Trump and his allies were running their own campaign to spoil the election,” Ball writes. “The President spent months insisting that mail ballots were a Democratic plot and the election would be ‘rigged.’ His henchmen at the state level sought to block their use, while his lawyers brought dozens of spurious suits to make it more difficult to vote — an intensification of the GOP’s legacy of suppressive tactics.”
Fending off this assault required a veritable crusade of disparate factions, a grassroots network of “resistance groups.”
(Whom are these groups devoted to resisting, you ask? Well, not to put too fine a point on it, they’re resisting you. But that’s a digression. Excuse me.)
According to Ball, “a vast, cross-partisan campaign” was mounted to protect the election…
“an extraordinary shadow effort dedicated not to winning the vote but to ensuring it would be free and fair, credible and uncorrupted.”
“Their work touched every aspect of the election. They got states to change voting systems and laws and helped secure hundreds of millions in public and private funding. They fended off voter-suppression lawsuits, recruited armies of poll workers and got millions of people to vote by mail for the first time. They successfully pressured social media companies to take a harder line against disinformation and used data-driven strategies to fight viral smears. They executed national public-awareness campaigns that helped Americans understand how the vote count would unfold over days or weeks, preventing Trump’s conspiracy theories and false claims of victory from getting more traction. After Election Day, they monitored every pressure point to ensure that Trump could not overturn the result.”
Ball admits that this massive effort might seem like…
“a well-funded cabal of powerful people, ranging across industries and ideologies, working together behind the scenes to influence perceptions, change rules and laws, steer media coverage and control the flow of information.”
Yeah, right…it might seem that way.
But then, in a breathtaking inversion of reality she swears that participants in the cabal “were not rigging the election; they were fortifying it.” And she is sharing their story because, “they believe the public needs to understand the system’s fragility in order to ensure that democracy in America endures.”
As you read her inspiring revelation (and please do read it), you can almost imagine Molly Ball as Princess Leia, flinging her petite frame into the fray, wielding Microsoft Word with the deadly precision of a light saber, John Williams’ rousing score echoing in the background.
This remarkable article has to be considered one of the masterworks of modern propaganda. At its conclusion we’re assured that…
“Democracy won in the end. The will of the people prevailed. But it’s crazy, in retrospect, that this is what it took to put on an election in the United States of America.”
How ironic. How heroic. How self-sacrificing.
I’m moved to establish the Joseph Goebbels Award for Imaginative Factual Interpretation. TIME will be its first recipient.
Mike Lindell’s video, on the other hand, views all those “fortifying” efforts in a quite different light. The “My Pillow Guy” interviews a group of statisticians, security specialists, and data-system analysts who dissect some of the highly peculiar election results, and explain how the voting system’s “fragility” was exploited to bring those results about.
His two-hour presentation doesn’t quite deliver the “Absolute Proof” promised in its title. But it raises some very compelling questions which have not been answered by those trying to dismiss Lindell’s program as a rightwing fantasy.
And, my oh my, how they’ve tried. Lindell and his company have been deplatformed by social networks. He’s come under pressure from banks, credit card companies, and other professional services on which his business depends. And of course, he’s received the all-too-predictable threats and intimidation that are standard operating procedure for Molly Ball’s “resistance groups.”
To be honest, “Absolute Proof” isn’t easy to sit through. Lindell no doubt paid big money for a flashy set and on-screen graphics. But his tendency to interrupt the expert guests, repeat their points for them, and remind viewers how these arguments support his overall charge of election fraud are annoying and slow things down.
My wife was charitable, noting that people listening to a recitation of numbers and confusing points need clarity and reinforcement. True enough. But the impression you’re left with is one of amateur production.
And that’s too bad, because Lindell’s program has substance.
Most impressive are the charts that show online interference with vote tabulations in various precincts around the country. His experts have documented where the interference came from, including IP addresses of the originating computers, as well as how hackers were able to penetrate the tabulating systems, and whether each individual attempt at changing vote totals succeeded or failed.
It goes without saying that the FBI and other law enforcement agencies now under the control of the Biden administration are unlikely to do anything with all this highly specific information. But Mike Lindell has certainly demonstrated the folly of applying online technology to so important a task as vote counting — that is, if you wish to have honest elections. A very big if.
(I say: Bring back the old mechanical voting booths!)
Several times during the show, Lindell insists that the exposure of voter fraud is miraculous, in that it reveals the extent to which our electoral system — the basis of our government — has been corrupted. This he sees as a wake-up call, providing an opportunity to take corrective action and, in the process, restore honesty and bring about a sort of national moral renewal.
I would definitely cheer efforts at reform.
Meanwhile, as I wrote in my last blog post, my focus these days is on communication. And I appreciate the fact that both Molly Ball and Mike Lindell can tell their versions of the election story, different as they are.
That’s what you call freedom of expression.
Granted, restricting that freedom was one of the tactics of which Molly Ball writes so glowingly. And clearly, Mike Lindell’s freedom of expression has been severely impinged upon (YouTube and other platforms have blocked his video).
But to the extent that Ball and Lindell and the rest of us are able to express ourselves, I celebrate that freedom.
For as long as we have it, anyway.
…and watch Mike Lindell’s “Absolute Proof” here…
Paul Blest at Vice News does the obligatory hatchet job on Lindell’s production, calling it “unhinged” and insisting that it has “Absolutely no Proof.” According to Blest, Lindell’s guest experts are “fringe witnesses,” and the video merely…
All very predictable…
Ah well, let Vice News trash Lindell. They have the right to enjoy freedom of expression too. But they mustn’t get complacent. Suggestions have been made about setting up a presidential “Truth Commission” and appointing a “Reality Czar” to ensure media “accuracy” and “accountability” — as described by Western Journal…
Writing in the New York Post, Jonathan Tobin, editor in chief of Jewish News Service, reviews Molly Ball’s TIME screed. He notes that Ball’s essay isn’t “an exposé of illegal activity that would justify the Trumpian challenges.” But the piece is…
“disturbing enough, even if most of those involved are proud of what they did to help elect President Biden: underhanded methods made all the more galling by the preening self-righteousness of those who deployed them.”
Tobin also delves into media suppression of news that could have damaged the Democrat’s, such as the questionable business dealings of Biden’s son, Hunter…
“Though Time claims the censorship was ‘defending democracy,’ it was actually just the opposite. In a campaign that was represented as a counterattack against Trumpian lies, what the anti-Trump group pulled off was perhaps the biggest lie in modern American political history.”
Mike Lindell posted this list of retail outlets participating in the pressure campaign against his business…