Rats, ship: Even far-right channel Newsmax is cutting ties with Mike Lindell

Lindell claims right-wing news channel sees his Frank Speech as "too much competition." But that might not be it

Published October 21, 2021 1:37PM (EDT)

Founder and CEO of My Pillow, conservative political activist and conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell listens to former U.S. President Donald Trump addresses supporters during a "Save America" rally. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Founder and CEO of My Pillow, conservative political activist and conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell listens to former U.S. President Donald Trump addresses supporters during a "Save America" rally. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

As Republicans and denizens of TrumpWorld increasingly distance themselves from MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, he even finds himself at odds with Newsmax, a previously supportive far-right news channel.  

Last week, Lindell said on his live-streaming site Frank Speech that Newsmax, which increasingly seeks to position itself as a further-right alternative to Fox News, had pulled all its ads from his site. He suggested that Newsmax was concerned about "competition" with Frank Speech, which seems objectively unlikely. A Newsmax spokesperson did not return numerous Salon requests for comment on the reasons for pulling back ads, which might also include the $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit against Lindell filed by Dominion Voting Systems over his outlandish and largely disproven 2020 election claims. 

"We had Newsmax call up, and they canceled all their ads on Frank Speech," Lindell said last week on the nightly program he hosts on his clumsily-engineered site. He turned to co-host Brannon Howse and joked, "I'm blaming this one on you, Brannon [Howse]. They said a different reason. They said you're too much competition for them." Howse also hosts an evening program on Frank Speech that often involves hostile segments about immigrants and praise for Lindell's conspiracy theories.  

After an exchange with Howse, Lindell continued: "They said it wasn't because of Dominion, which they [had] proven. They just said they're not going to put ads up because they said it's a competitive brand." It's not clear what Lindell believes Newsmax has "proven" regarding Dominion Voting Systems. 

RELATED: Mike Lindell's new genius plan: Knock on your door and ask whether you're dead

"It's kind of, like, weird," the pillow magnate continued. "I guess it'd be, you know, advertising another station on a station. But, you know, that's too bad because for me this is about saving our country. It's not about any competition with Newsmax or anyone. It's about getting our voices, so we can get the word out." 

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Howse then pivoted by claiming tha Lindell's blundering media operation has a "great relationship" with One America News, more commonly referred to as OAN, and Real America's Voice, the organization that produces Steve Bannon's podcast. There's "a lot of cross-promotion between those networks," Howse said. He and Lindell have claimed that Lindell's primetime show, "The Lindell Report," reaches millions of homes nationwide, which is highly implausible. 

RELATED: Idaho asks Mike Lindell to pay up for pricy election audit

"Absolutely," Lindell replied. "He made a bad decision, but, you know, I'm not gonna dwell on it," likely referring to one of his Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy, a close friend of Donald Trump's.

Howse concluded by claiming the Newsmax decision was a sign from higher powers that Lindell's media operation is "rising."

Lindell and his legal counsel didn't return a Salon request for comment. He has largely ended communication with Salon after deeming the site "evil" for requesting for the raw data behind his infamous claims that the 2020 election was fraudulent.

RELATED: Mike Lindell pushes election fantasies at CPAC, accuses Salon reporter of "destroying the country"

Newsmax's apparent turnabout is something of a surprise. Lindell has previously received vocal support from both Ruddy personally and his entire operation. In August, a Newsmax reporter took to the Manhattan streets outside the Fox News headquarters building, berating the network for refusing to run Lindell's "cyber symposium" ads.

"Here at Newsmax, we believe in a good night's sleep, so we're running that ad," Newsmax correspondent Mike Carter said at the time. "And today, we're taking Fox News to the mattresses!" 

More from the frontlines in Mike Lindell's war on democracy:

By Zachary Petrizzo

Zachary Petrizzo was an investigative reporter at Salon. Follow him on Twitter @ZTPetrizzo.

MORE FROM Zachary Petrizzo

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Brannon Howse Brief Fox News Media Mike Lindell Newsmax Oan Right-wing