By Brian Stelter, CNN Business
Mike Lindell’s pillows have been propping up Fox News for years. But now the relationship is on “pause.”
Here’s the context for the Thursday evening announcement: Lindell, the CEO of MyPillow, has had beef with Fox for months. He brought it up with The Atlantic’s Anne Applebaum when she interviewed him for a profile titled “The MyPillow Guy Really Could Destroy Democracy.”
Applebaum said Lindell “told me that if it weren’t for attacks by ‘the left’ — by which he means Politico, the Daily Beast, and, presumably, me — his message would never get out, because Fox News ignores him.”
In addition to selling pillows, Lindell also moonlights as a talking head at far-right outlets. He has been consumed by an illogical attempt to prove that his pal Donald Trump won the 2020 election that he actually lost.
Lindell hasn’t been interviewed on Fox in a while, but he has been visible all over the channel due to his ads. The ads have been practically unmissable.
But maybe not anymore.
On Thursday Lindell told the Wall Street Journal that he is pulling his pillow ads from Fox. Why? Because, he said, Fox won’t run his promo for a live streamed event in August that seeks to prove Trump won.
According to Applebaum, Lindell believes the Supreme Court will “decide ‘9–0’ in favor of reinstating Donald Trump to the presidency sometime in August, or possibly September.”
A fantastical idea like that wouldn’t normally get any airtime. But Lindell has sway through his day job of selling pillows. He has paid Fox News, for instance, tens of millions of dollars to run his ads.
So if Lindell really withholds his ad money -— and I say “if” because every word he says should be treated skeptically — then it might pinch Fox’s bottom line.
MyPillow specifically supports Tucker Carlson’s show when other advertisers are skittish to be associated with him. And the firm is one of Fox’s biggest sponsors overall: Lindell told the Journal that he has spent about $19 million on Fox ad time so far this year.
Lindell also buys lots of spots on other right-wing outlets such as Newsmax. But I have to wonder if he needs Fox more than Fox needs him, since he relies on direct response ads to sell sheets and pillows, and Fox is such a dominant force among Republicans. The truth is, he’s a household name in large part thanks to his omnipresent ads on Fox.
That’s what the network pointed out in a statement obtained by CNN Business Thursday night: “It’s unfortunate Mr. Lindell has chosen to pause his commercial time on Fox News given the level of success he’s experienced in building his brand through advertising on the number one cable news network.”
In other words — won’t he come right back to Fox when his pillows and towels stop selling?
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