“2000 Mules” conspiracy film pulled from circulation

2000 Mules, a debunked propaganda film falsely alleging ballot box stuffing in the 2020 election, has been pulled from circulation by its publisher and a companion book will not be published (read story here).

Its creator, Dinesh D’Souza, is an ex-felon. He was convicted of making illegal campaign contributions and lying to the Federal Election Commission (see details in his Wikipedia profile here). Trump pardoned him for those crimes.

Today, D’Souza is a neoconservative propagandist. His magnum opus, 2000 Mules, doesn’t document a single verified instance of voter fraud. It offers only “a single unverified anonymous witness who said she saw people picking up what she ‘assumed’ were payments for ballot collection” (read details here).

Propaganda, however false, is protected by the First Amendment. Our system leaves it to citizens to sort through truth and lies, and allows people to believe whatever they like. Some of us are better at this, and more responsible citizens, than others.

But in 2000 Mules, D’Souza also falsely accused a specific person, Mark Andrews of Gwinnett, Georgia, of being a “ballot mule” and depositing fraudulent ballots in a drop box (photo below). Predictably, this led to Andrews and his family being threatened by anonymous strangers.

A state investigation found that Andrews, a black man, “was dropping off ballots for himself, his wife and their three adult children, who all live at the same address. That is legal in Georgia and a state investigator said there was no evidence of wrongdoing by Andrews” (see story here).

That story continues, “D’Souza’s film uses research from the Texas-based nonprofit True the Vote and suggests that ballot ‘mules’ aligned with Democrats were paid to illegally collect and deliver ballots in Georgia and four other closely watched states. An Associated Press analysis found that it is based on faulty assumptions, anonymous accounts and improper analysis of cellphone location data.”

Andrews sued D’Souza and True the Vote for defamation and invasion of privacy. According to NBC News, “Late last year, attorneys for True the Vote admitted in a Georgia court that they could not produce any documents to back up [the film’s] allegations about ballot stuffing in the 2020 presidential election in that state” (quoted from first link above); and on May 31, 2024, the film and book publisher, Salem Media Group, apologized to Andrews. The lawsuit against D’Souza and True the Vote is still pending.

2000 Mules earned millions in theaters, and became a go-to source for 2020 election conspiracists. The entire film is a colossal lie, and because D’Souza took a large wrecking ball to our democracy, it would be nice to see a large libel judgment make his life miserable.

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