How right-wing radio is frightening listeners about 2022
Mail-in Ballots

On Tuesday, The New York Times reported that listeners around the country to right-wing talk radio stations are being bombarded with breathless, and baseless, warnings that Democrats are about to steal the 2022 midterm elections — just like they supposedly stole the 2020 election from former President Donald Trump.

"Mr. Trump introduced the nation to a flurry of false claims about widespread voter fraud after his electoral loss in 2020. The extent of his efforts has been outlined extensively in the past couple of weeks during the hearings on the Jan. 6 Capitol riot — including a speech that day in which he falsely said Democrats changed voting laws 'because they want to cheat,'" reported Stuart Thompson. "Republican politicians and cable outlets like Fox News have carried the torch for Mr. Trump’s conspiracy theories ever since. But the loudest and most consistent booster of these unfounded claims has been talk radio, where conservative hosts reduce the jumble of false voter fraud theories into a two-word mantra: 'Democrats cheat.'"

The article gathered several instances from recent broadcasts in which right-wing talk radio hosts claimed that the fix is already in for 2022.

“These people are not going to sit by and just accept the big loss. They have the same poll numbers we do. What are they going to do? They're going to cheat," said one broadcast on KFAB-AM 1110 in Omaha. “The Democrats will hold on to the House and the Senate and the gubernatorial races, where they'll be able to cheat in the 2024 election. That’s the plan,” said another on KTRH-AM 740 in Houston. “They’re going to get smoked so bad it’s going to be embarrassing, if they can’t cheat. They got to be able to cheat, and the way they got to do that is with mail-in ballots,” said yet another on KEEL-AM 710 in Shreveport, Louisiana.

According to the report, however, talk radio hosts have conspicuously stopped going after Dominion Voting Systems, an elections equipment company that is a common bogeyman of right-wing conspiracy theorists. This comes after the company filed suit against Fox News and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, both of whom were instrumental in spreading false claims the company's voting systems switched votes from Trump to Biden.

Another concern for Republicans is that at least some of the listeners bombarded with all of these claims now think voting is worthless: "Callers repeatedly expressed doubts about voting at all, falsely claiming that elections are so rigged by Democrats that their votes no longer matter. In response, radio hosts have implored Republicans to vote in even larger numbers — so much so that a supposed Democratic cheat would prove ineffective. 'I’ll tell you what’s happened — and I give the Democrats a lot of credit for this,' said Michael Berry, a radio host based in Houston, 'is they have convinced a lot of people on our side that it’s not worth it to vote.'"

You can read more here.