In May, Real America host Dan Ball interviewed right-wing fraudster Dinesh D’Souza as part of OAN’s promotional blitz for D’Souza’s new movie, 2000 Mules. Discussing the movie, which falsely purported to prove election fraud, Ball told D’Souza that “hopefully we can air it here on OAN as well” someday. That day has come.
After 2000 Mules’ complete dismemberment by a wide variety of fact-checkers, a pained interview with D’Souza in The Washington Post, and the sudden recall of a book version, the election conspiracy theory movie is making its TV premiere on One America News Network on October 15, just weeks before the midterm elections — and the network promises to air it at least four times that weekend alone.
OAN's commitment to airing 2000 Mules incessantly before the midterms fits the network's broader pattern of hammering its viewers with dubious claims of widespread election fraud supposedly perpetrated by Democrats. Meanwhile, OAN has urged viewers to “make sure your elections are secure” by becoming poll workers to guard against this nonexistent conspiracy, potentially disqualifying legitimate votes in the process.
On October 4, Ball announced that not only did OAN acquire “the exclusive debut television rights” to 2000 Mules, but there will also be “multiple encore presentations all the way until Election Day, November 8.” In his interview which followed, Ball suggested that he connected D’Souza to OAN owner Robert Herring to get “this important film on our network so millions can see it,’ adding, “Everybody needs to see this; left, right, indifferent.”
To further promote the film, OAN D.C. Bureau Chief John Hines held a two-part interview with Heather Mullins, who interviewed an alleged election fraud witness in D’Souza’s movie. As the date of the premiere approaches, OAN has also begun running brief promos for the “groundbreaking film” during news hours.
2000 Mules uses assumptions, flawed reasoning, and cell phone geotracking data -- provided by conservative group True the Vote -- to supposedly prove that the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald Trump by “mules” depositing fraudulent ballots at drop boxes in key states, even though no actual evidence of this is shown. One thing D’Souza and his partners do excel at, however, is promoting the movie.
Leading up to May, 2000 Mules was heavily promoted by influential figures from Salem Media Group, which made the film with D’Souza, as well as by OAN, which aired over eight hours of programming about 2000 Mules in the three months leading up to and around its release, including coverage of the red carpet premiere at Mar-a-Lago. OAN continued to occasionally discuss 2000 Mules over the summer as part of its broader obsession with conspiracy theories about election fraud — an effort which now features D’Souza’s asinine movie front and center once again.