A new film supporting the discredited conspiracy theory that the results of the 2020 presidential election were fraudulently obtained is quietly finding an appreciative U.S. audience on multiple platforms. And while the company behind the film is declaring its release to be a commercial success, those claims are not independently verified.
What Happened: Dinesh D’Souza’s “2000 Mules” presents the thesis that organizations eager to prevent the re-election of former President Donald Trump hired "mules" to illegally collect and deposit ballots into drop boxes across five swing states during the 2020 election, thus giving Joe Biden a phony election victory.
Salem Media Group SALM, which has executive producer status on the film, issued a press statement calling the film the “most successful political documentary in a decade,” with claims that 1 million people have accessed the production via “download and DVD purchase on SalemNOW.com, and has become a huge hit on Rumble and its Locals platform.”
Salem, which produces conservative-based programming, added the film has grossed $10 million to date, with D’Souza adding, “The movie is a success financially for sure, but also it is successful in its political and cultural influence. It’s the most talked about movie out there right now, making headlines in multiple publications, and is trending extremely high on social media.”
What Really Happened: D’Souza has made a career out of right-wing video production and publishing. He pleaded guilty to a campaign donation fraud charge in 2014 and was issued a pardon by Trump in 2018.
Not unlike the film’s claims of election fraud, D’Souza’s declaration that it has been “successful in its political and cultural influence” appears to have a tenuous acquaintance with reality.
There is no independent audit of Salem’s claim of a $10 million gross for “2000 Miles” — and if it is, this might be the best-kept secret in the motion picture industry. None of the three major news outlets focused on the film industry — Deadine, IndieWire and Variety — have made any mention of the film, with Deadline only acknowledging the film existed (albeit not by name) in an article about how the right-wing broadcast outlet OAN belatedly acknowledged the absence of confirmed fraud in the 2020 election.
“2000 Mules” had a brief theatrical run in 270 theaters, but there's no evidence the film is, as D’Souza insisted, “the most talked about movie out there right now.” In fact, this is the rare contemporary release that is absent from the Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic aggregator sites. The IMDb, an Amazon AMZN company, lists no critic reviews, although it links to a praise of the film by a columnist with the conservative-focused TownHall.com and to an Associated Press article fact checking the film’s claims — which are found to be incorrect from start to finish.
On May 9, a Facebook fan account for Trey Gowdy, the former Republican congressman from South Carolina and Fox News talk show host, published a post that claimed Gowdy saw the film at its May 5 premiere at former Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida and backed the claim of "rampant cheating" in the 2020 election. However, USA Today contacted Gowdy and received a very different response.
“Both assertions are completely false. Wasn’t at Mar a Lago. Haven’t seen the movie,” Gowdy told USA Today in an e-mail message. “Didn’t even know there was a movie. So it’s 100% false.”
As for the squire of Mar-a-Lago, Trump is featured in the film’s promotional material commending its contents, and he blasted Fox News for supposedly preventing any on-air mention of “2000 Mules.”
"Fox News is no longer Fox News," he posted on his TruthSocial account. "They won't even show or discuss the greatest & most impactful documentary of our time, '2000 Mules.' The Radical Left Democrats are thrilled – They don't want the TRUTH to get out."
Photo: President Donald Trump in the "2000 Mules" trailer, courtesy of Salem Media Group
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