Inside the Loony MAGA Media Career of Top GOP Michigan Governor Pick Tudor Dixon

The years that Tudor Dixon spent hosting a daily show on the conservative television network Real America Voice, she has said herself, prepared her the job she is looking for now: Governor of Michigan.

Recently, Dixon said, “I was in the media, and I was politically savvy,” “knowing exactly what is going on with all of our federal affairs, as well as the state matter”.

Indeed, Dixon has frequently been in the weeds throughout her media career – but in a very different way than she meant. And the show she describes in her campaign as a “pretty standard news show” is usually anything but.

For two years, Dixon’s daily afternoon show served as a platform for a parade of fringe figures who have amplified a host of conspiracy theories about everything from the COVID-19 pandemic- 19 to the 2020 election to the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.

One of Dixon’s frequent co-hosts, Matt Locke, is conservative, often filling her airtime with conspiratorial and violent rhetoric.

In a July 2020 segment, Locke talks about Democrats creating a “perfect storm” to defeat former President Donald Trump, showing COVID-19 and George’s protests and riots Floyd in 2020 is part of a conspiracy.

In another segment, from June 2020, Locke and Dixon defend the McCloskeys, the St. Louis, who famously swung a gun at a crowd of protesters marching through their homes.

“These people are lucky they don’t show up at my house, because there’s going to be a lot of them lying on the ground,” Locke said. “I’ll shoot first and ask questions later.”

After Locke’s original defender, Dixon simply replied, “this is why so many people say we’re headed for a real civil war in this country.”

In the weeks following Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory, Dixon hosted Angela Stanton King, a former GOP congressional candidate in Georgia. who promoted the elements of QAnon. She spoke to Dixon about “praying” that “this election will be overturned” because Joe Biden has “shown his true color” on criminal justice reform. Then Dixon moved on to the next question.

In June 2020, Dixon hosts Anti-abortion activist Abby Johnsonwho did not share on the show a convoluted theory that Planned Parenthood was conspiring to profit by providing women with birth control so they had to go to Planned Parenthood to have an abortion.

“The answer to abortion is not really birth control, it’s self-control,” Johnson told Dixon. “But autonomy doesn’t make money for Planned Parenthood.” Dixon didn’t back down, and gave Johnson a chance to further elaborate on the theory.

That same summer, Dixon held a meeting with New York Republican activist Gavin Wax, who gained attention in 2018 for writing an essay defending the far-right gang. Proud Boys titled “We Are All Proud Boys”. At one point in the interview, Dixon asked Wax if “what needs to happen is that people like you… get involved in government and start turning the tide so we can get our land back. the water we’re losing so quickly?”

Tudor Dixon speaks with Donald Trump during a Save America rally in Warren, Michigan, on October 1.

Jeff Kowalsky / AFP via Getty

Such comments are inevitable on Real America Voice, the simple network that, despite its often poor production value, has become commonplace among MAGA’s hardened audience increasingly dissatisfied with Fox. News.

But unlike the typical network’s cast of characters, Dixon isn’t just looking for an audience: she’s looking to be governor of Michigan, one of the nation’s most populous states and key political battlegrounds. . Even in an election year in which a bumper crop of GOP figures are running for key offices across the country, few have the same background as Dixon.

Amid her campaign to oust Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Dixon’s past as a right-wing media figure remains largely unexplored. Jared Holt, a research fellow at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, an anti-extremism organization, says her participation in Real America Voice – and the fact that she sees it as proof that she’s prepared ruling – is very important.

“It signals to me that Tudor Dixon views the job of a governor as a fundamental no-no – as a place to pursue bizarre conspiracy theories and send state resources down these rabbit holes. ,” Holt said.

“It’s not even the Democratic-Republican thing. It’s like, if you’re going from a very rickety podcasting type of activity and think that’s going to prepare you to be governor, immediately, there are red marks all over my brain. “

In response to a question from The Daily Beast, Dixon spokeswoman Sara Broadwater said that “Tudor believes in free speech and has hosted a show that has a wide range of opinions — both Democrat and partisan. Republic”.

Democrats appearing on Dixon’s show include Robert Patillo, an Atlanta civil rights activist, according to Broadwater.

It was Dixon’s views that became the focus of the Michigan race, as Whitmer argued that the former TV host was too radical for the state. Dixon has repeatedly said that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump. She has been steadfast in her position that abortion should be banned under all circumstances, including rape or incest, except to save the mother’s life. And she’s made culture war issues like transgender rights a cornerstone part of her campaign.

If the public vote and fundraising are any reflection, Dixon’s message won’t resonate further than a conservative constituency. A recent poll from Detroit News showed Republicans with 32 percent support — 18 points behind Whitmer. The governor insulted Dixon horribly. On Thursday, Bridge Michigan, a local newspaper, reported that major GOP sponsors had “evaded” Dixon’s campaign.

But Dixon’s hardline political vibes were all over the air on Real America Voice.

Founded in 2018 by a media mogul from Colorado with a felony record, the budding network started out as a minor player, even compared to rambunctious outfits like One America News.

But RAV got its big break in 2019, when it began distributing the War Room podcast by former Trump strategist Steve Bannon, which eventually became one of the most influential platforms in wing media. possess. The network has maintained a close relationship with Bannon and ensures his daily programming reaches approximately eight million viewers via satellite television, based on washington articlesalso reported that the network employs no more than 20 people.

Dixon’s program ran from June 2019 to May 2021, the month she launched her campaign for Michigan governor. Those years, she later said, “gave me access to congressmen and senators and all the people in politics that you need to do something about” like running for governor.

Dixon’s time online has allowed her to rub her elbows with all sorts of MAGA, though. “Most of the guests are a rotating group of people who are just as much outside the wall as they are,” says Holt.

She interviewed James O’Keefe, who runs the conservative Veritas project, and appeared in a panel segment with Ben Bergquam, The celebrity went live vlogs of his time in the hospital for COVID-19 after he refused to take the vaccine.

During her time online, Dixon has won fans – including Bannon, who says she does “a great job” and calls her a “fantastic talent”. During the gubernatorial campaign, she continued to be a regular guest on Bannon’s War Room podcast, most recently appearing on September 30.

The network’s current roster of personalities includes Charlie Kirk, founder of US activist organization MAGA Turning Point, whose daily time is online, as well as Jack Posobiec, who promotes the baseless Pizzagate conspiracy theory . Ted Nugent, the rocker who once called for the executions of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, also performed nightly.

While Dixon’s time online was an important résumé to her, it wasn’t much of a topic of discussion during the campaign, and Democrats weren’t overly involved in the profile either. hers there.

In response to questions about this story, Whitmer’s campaign spokeswoman Maeve Coyle said the governor has worked with Republicans on her agenda while Dixon “dedicated her career.” to promote conspiracy theorists, anti-abortion extremists and those who refuse to vote because she shares their dangerous agenda.”

It is likely that the GOP will produce as many candidates as Dixon, if not less, with the rise of right-wing media. Another prominent GOP candidate running in 2022 also has an RAV on their résumé: Eric Greitens, the scandal-ridden former governor of Missouri who tried to re-apply as a U.S. Senate candidate this year. but lost in the GOP preliminary.

“Having an online following and trying to turn it into electoral success is a model that is already in common use at the moment,” Holt said. “But success rates vary widely.”

It is these echo chambers that have nurtured many Trump-loving Republicans in the belief that any election they fail to win is a rigged election.

Indeed, before the theft movement shut down, Dixon’s program was a cornerstone of the kind of rhetoric that underpinned Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election.

“We’re monitoring a group of people, a group of people, who are working overtime to make sure that President Trump doesn’t get re-elected,” her co-host Matt Locke said in a news release. period in May 2020.

“Why do you think they want mail-in ballots? Where do you think the coronavirus came from? Why do you think they have ruined our economy? ‘ he asked.


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