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Texas Matters: Should TX GOP leaders apologize for promoting '2000 Mules'?

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Screen shot from "2000 Mules" trailer
Screen shot from "2000 Mules" trailer

Salem Media Group, a Texas based right-wing multimedia company, has ceased distribution of its film "2000 Mules" which was spreading false conspiracies about the 2020 presidential election being stolen.

"2000 Mules" was written and directed by right-wing political commentator Dinesh D’Souza, and it presents disinformation in a false narrative about alleged ballot fraud.

The film that falsely alleges Democrat-aligned individuals were paid to illegally collect and deposit ballots into drop boxes in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin during the 2020 presidential election.

The Associated Press reported the film was based on faulty assumptions, anonymous accounts and improper analysis of cellphone location data.

D'Souza has a history of promoting false and misleading claims while profiting off them.

The film on its face is clearly not factual but has been promoted by former President Donald Trump. The convicted felon held a screening at his Florida country club.

And top Texas Republicans have been promoting the debunked film and citing it as proof that the election was stolen.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office, which oversees investigations into voter fraud, screened the movie. And Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick sponsored a watch party at a Houston area church.

Texas Agriculture commissioner Sid Miller pointed to the film when asked about the election on "The Texas Standard."

So now as Salem Media Group, which helped produce and distribute the film and book, is releasing a public apology and also disavowed the book and the film and withdrew them from distribution.

They admit, it’s entirely false and there is no evidence to support their claims.

What about the Texas political leaders who have promoted this false message?

Should they apologize?

I asked Jessica Hausman – editorial director of Vote Beat.

Juneteenth Rodeo

During the late 1970s, Texan photojournalist Sarah Bird found herself captivated by non-mainstream rodeos. She documented a variety of competitions for many years, and truly fell in love with the Black rodeos. But she could not find outlets willing to publish her work.

Now decades later, these images are finding an audience in a new book Juneteenth Rodeo.

Sarah Bird is a best-selling author. Her new book is a collection of photos from the 1970’s of black rodeos, Juneteenth Rodeo. It's published by the University of Texas Press.

Maverick on 1939 Radio

The word "maverick" gets tossed around a lot. It’s been used as the name of fictional characters to denote their independent or rebellious nature, for example, the Tom Cruise character of Maverick in the movie Top Gun. Actor James Garner embodied the maverick idea in his role as Bret Maverick in the old western TV show "Maverick." But there was a real Maverick who was known for being a political wildcard from San Antonio in the 1930’s. Some found that the sound of an archive radio show gives of a listen to how Maury Maverick was a national celebrity in the heyday of radio.

David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi