Newly released text messages show that the executive producer of Sean Hannity's radio show, Lynda McLaughlin, asked then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows for a meeting with President Donald Trump to share “hard data” that “show[ed] proof of the fraud” being pushed by the White House, Fox News, and the entire right-wing media in the 2020 election.
CNN’s Reliable Sources newsletter reported on the text messages, taken from a new book by former January 6 committee staffer (and former congressman) Denver Riggleman; as noted in the block quote below, CNN independently verified the messages as well.
Hannity Producer's Big Ask: In early January 2021, during the politically turbulent time before Joe Biden assumed the office of the presidency, the executive producer of Sean Hannity's radio show sought to meet directly with then-President Donald Trump.
The producer, Lynda McLaughlin, texted Mark Meadows, the former acting chief of staff, with a big ask, claiming she had "hard data" which "show[ed] proof of the fraud" — evidently about the 2020 election. McLaughlin characterized the dubious information as "irrefutable" and wanted to take it straight to Trump.
"Mark -- are we able to present our data to POTUS?" McLaughlin asked.
The messages underscore the intimate relationship that Hannity, his team, and the right-wing media writ large shared with the Trump White House. The cozy relationship exposed in the messages lays bare that in many cases, right-wing media outlets and personalities not only positively covered the Trump White House, but actively worked arm-in-arm with it.
For instance, when McLaughlin texted Meadows introducing herself ("Hey it's Lynda from Hannity") and told Meadows she was "rallying the troops," Meadows replied by thanking her for her "wonderful" contribution and connecting her with the Trump-supporting Rep. Jim Jordan. "Jim Jordon [sic] will gladly coordinate with the House team," Meadows texted McLaughlin. "Do you need his contact?"
CNN also reported that “Meadows seemed to stop responding to McLaughlin later in the conversation, after she asked to meet with Trump.”
This is not the first time McLaughlin has been directly involved in stoking right-wing conspiracy theories of election fraud. In December 2020, McLaughlin, as part of the so-called “Data Integrity Group,'' testified to the Georgia Senate Judicial Subcommittee that the group had proof of votes being taken from Trump and given to Joe Biden.
During the hearing, McLaughlin never revealed her connection to Hannity.
Hannity later lauded his producer for her strong efforts to overturn the election.
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): On December 30th, there is this really incredible group. Lynda McLaughlin works with them, our own Lynda, Data Integrity Group, they actually gave Senate testimony on December 30th about Georgia for example, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Elections. Let's see, the people you have involved in this seem pretty impressive to me. You've got one guy is a data scientist with over a decade experience in a lot of industries, what we have here is fraud that we can prove in this election and then I begin to look at the background and the people, one is a nine-year veteran of the US Navy, worked as an electronic warfare technicians, cryptologic technician whatever the hell that is, Arabic linguist, worked at the NSA as a mission manager, later worked as a CIA contractor at the Counter-terrorism Center. And I'm like, "wow."
On January 2, 2021, the claims were amplified by far-right The Epoch Times and its affiliated NTD YouTube channel.
McLaughlin appeared in an interview with The Epoch Times, released on its site on January 5, 2021, in which she suggests election fraud occurred in Pennsylvania as well.
Justin Mealey and Dave Lobue, other members of the “Data Integrity Group,” also appeared on Lou Dobbs' Fox Business show on January 5:
The claims from the Data Integrity Group have been debunked.
All together, this is another example of the close relationship between Fox News personalities and the Trump White House.
Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.
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