The conspiracy-theory-peddling media personalities in the Ginni Thomas texts



The texts were among 2,320 messages that Meadows provided to a House committee investigating last year’s Capitol riot before he refused to cooperate further. Committee said have said the messages may be just a portion of the pair’s exchanges.

Here is a short guide to the right-wing personalities Thomas cited in her texts, and the election-fraud theories some of them were promoting.

Nov. 5, 2020: In a message to Meadows, Thomas favorably quoted a bizarre passage that appeared on right-wing websites: “Biden crime family & ballot fraud co-conspirators (elected officials, bureaucrats, social media censorship mongers, fake stream media reporters, etc.) are being arrested & detained for ballot fraud right now & over coming days, & will be living in barges off GITMO to face military tribunals for sedition.”

The passage appears to refer to bogus conspiracy theories that circulated in the immediate aftermath of the election, holding that Democratic officials were being arrested en masse in a sting operation after being caught using counterfeit ballots to steal votes from Trump.

Nov. 10: “Mark, I wanted to text you and tell you for days you are in my prayers!!,” Thomas wrote. She continued by urging Meadows to “Help This Great President stand firm” and invoked “the greatest Heist of our History.” She went on to advise Meadows to “Listen to Rush [Limbaugh]. Mark Steyn, [Dan] Bongino [and] Cleta [Mitchell].

Limbaugh, who died last year, was a titan of conservative talk radio and a close ally of Trump, who awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom during the State of the Union speech in 2020. In the eight days after the election, Limbaugh mentioned “fraud” 204 times, almost always in the context of the election, according to a New York Times analysis.

Mark Steyn is an author and conservative pundit who appears frequently on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News program and has guest-hosted both Carlson’s and Limbaugh’s programs. “America has the least clean elections in the Western world,” Steyn said in a TV appearance days after the election, “… and in this case, in a handful of hardcore, Democrat cities that have run corrupt elections, in some cases, since the end of the Civil War.”

Dan Bongino is one of the biggest stars in conservative talk radio, as well as a podcast host and the proprietor of an eponymous website, Bongino.com. He also appears regularly on Fox News. In the wake of the election, Bongino wrote dozens of Facebook posts and aired hours of podcasts discussing “anomalies” in the election results, according to Politico. He said on one podcast that he’s “never been more fired up” in his life. “You wanted us to quit? How about you go [bleep] yourself, I’m not going anywhere.”

Cleta Mitchell, a lawyer and backer of Trump’s election fraud claims, was interviewed a couple days after the election by Fox host Maria Bartiromo. She accused “the Democratic Party apparatus and its massive left-wing allied network” of undermining voting laws so they could “send ballots to people whether they were alive or dead.”

Mitchell resigned from her law firm the following January, after The Washington Post revealed her involvement in Trump’s efforts to overturn valid election results.

Also Nov. 10: Thomas cited a CNN appearance by commentator Van Jones, a Biden supporter: “Van Jones spins interestingly, but shows us the balls being juggled too,” she wrote. It’s unclear exactly what Thomas is referring to here, but Jones had appeared on CNN three days earlier and, in a viral clip, reacted emotionally after the network had called the election for Biden. “This is vindication for a lot of people who have really suffered,” he said at the time.

Nov. 13: Thomas told Meadows of her support for Trump election lawyer Sidney Powell, who was appearing regularly on cable-news segments spinning wild theories about electronic voting systems switching millions of ballots in Biden’s favor. Powell had also claimed, without evidence, that Venezuela, Cuba and possibly China were behind efforts to swing the election to Biden. Powell was eventually dismissed by Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who told viewers that she had shown no evidence to support her assertions. “She never sent us any evidence despite a lot of requests, polite requests, not a page,” Carlson said on Nov. 19. “When we kept pressing she got angry and told us to stop contacting her.”

Nov. 19: Thomas advised Meadows to consult Monica Crowley, a veteran Fox News pundit, radio personality and Washington Times columnist, about crisis management. Crowley “may have a sense of this [from] her Nixon days,” she wrote. Crowley had been an aide to former president Richard M. Nixon years after he resigned from office in 1974. She was initially appointed by Trump in late 2016 to serve as a national security adviser but withdrew a month later following reports that she had plagiarized part of her 2000 PhD dissertation and a book. Trump in 2019 appointed her as spokeswoman for the Treasury Department.

Nov. 24: Thomas engaged Meadows again by sharing a video from Parler, a conservative social media website, that appeared to refer to conservative commentator Glenn Beck. “If you all cave to the elites, you have to know that many of your 73 million feel like what Glenn is expressing,” Thomas wrote.

Beck has had a long career on radio and Fox News, and he is the founder and owner of Mercury Radio Arts, the parent company of Blaze Media. In a video circulated on Twitter shortly after the election, Beck said he doesn’t know whether the presidency was stolen from Trump, but people who believe so have a “duty to overthrow that government and the chains and reinstitute something that protects those rights.”





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