“Tudor Dixon views the job of a governor to be…a place to pursue bizarre conspiracy theories and send state resources down these rabbit holes.” – Jared Holt
Tudor Dixon routinely references her years as a host on far right-wing and Steve Bannon-headlining media outlet Real America’s Voice as experience that has prepared her to lead Michigan, but new scrutiny into the extreme views she platformed “for a parade of fringe characters” and their conspiracy theories strips her claim from any credibility.
According to a deep dive from The Daily Beast, guests on Dixon’s show served as a reflection of her own ideology as they took to her show to air “conspiratorial and violent rhetoric,” disinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic, baseless lies about the 2020 election, promote QAnon, and downplay the January 6th insurrection on the U.S. capital that killed five and injured 140 officers.
Dixon never pushed back on any of the outlandish statements made on her show, instead often chiming in with responses entertaining and amplifying the dangerous conspiracies theories. During a segment with a conservative activist who penned an essay titled “We Are All Proud Boys,” Dixon stressed that “folks like you…have to get involved in government…so that we can get back the country that we’re losing so quickly.”
Real America’s Voice is still intertwined with Dixon’s platform. On the campaign trail, she has repeatedly echoed the claim that Planned Parenthood has employed a “business model” to “introduce sex” to “7th graders” so they can profit off of “plenty of abortions in high school” – a baseless conspiracy theory derived from her segment on the matter with anti-abortion activist Abby Johnson.
See excerpts below from The Daily Beast on the extreme rhetoric that spurred Dixon to declare on air “we are going toward a true civil war in this country” and read the full report here.
The Daily Beast: Inside the Loony MAGA Media Career of Top GOP Governor Pick Tudor Dixon
By Sam Brodey
The years that Tudor Dixon spent hosting a daily show on the conservative TV network Real America’s Voice, she has said herself, prepared her for the job she is seeking now: governor of the state of Michigan. […]
Indeed, Dixon was frequently in the weeds during her media career—but in a very different way than she might have meant. And the show she described during her campaign as a “pretty standard news program” was usually anything but.
For two years, Dixon’s daily afternoon show served as a platform for a parade of fringe characters, who amplified a range of conspiracy theories on everything from the COVID-19 pandemic to the 2020 election to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
One of Dixon’s regular co-hosts, conservative personality Matt Locke, often filled airtime alongside her with conspiratorial and violent rhetoric.
During one segment in July 2020, Locke talked about Democrats engineering a “perfect storm” to defeat former President Donald Trump, suggesting that COVID-19 and the 2020 George Floyd protests and riots were part of the plot.
In another segment, from June 2020, Locke and Dixon defended the McCloskeys, the St. Louis couple who famously brandished guns at a throng of protesters who marched past their home.
“These people are lucky they didn’t show up at my house, because there’ll be a lot of them laying on the ground,” Locke said. “I would be shooting first and asking questions later.”
After Locke’s stemwinder, Dixon simply responded, “This is why so many people are saying we are going toward a true civil war in this country.”
In the weeks after Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory, Dixon hosted Angela Stanton King—a former GOP congressional candidate in Georgia who has promoted elements of QAnon. She spoke to Dixon about “praying” that “this election gets overturned” because Joe Biden had “shown his true colors” on criminal justice reform. After that, Dixon moved onto the next question.
In June 2020, Dixon hosted anti-abortion activist Abby Johnson, who unspooled on the show a complex theory that Planned Parenthood is scheming to profit by providing women with birth control so that they have to go to Planned Parenthood for abortions.
“The answer to the abortion problem isn’t actually birth control, it’s self control,” Johnson told Dixon. “But self control doesn’t make money for Planned Parenthood.” Dixon did not push back, and gave Johnson an opportunity to explain the theory further.
Also that summer, Dixon hosted the New York Republican activist Gavin Wax, who gained attention in 2018 for writing an essay defending the far-right Proud Boys gang titled, “We Are All Proud Boys.” At one point in the interview, Dixon asked Wax if “what needs to happen is folks like you… have to get involved in government and start turning this around so that we can get back the country that we’re losing so quickly?” […]
In the context of her campaign to unseat Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Dixon’s past as a right-wing media personality has largely gone unexplored. Her stint on Real America’s Voice—and the fact that she has pointed to it as proof of her preparation to govern—is significant, said Jared Holt, a researcher at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, an anti-extremism think tank.
“What that signals to me is that Tudor Dixon views the job of a governor to be something that it fundamentally should not be—as a place to pursue bizarre conspiracy theories and send state resources down these rabbit holes,” Holt said. […]
Dixon’s own views have been a focal point of the Michigan race, as Whitmer argues that the former TV host is too extreme for the state. Dixon has repeatedly said the 2020 election was stolen from Trump. She has stuck to her position that abortion should be banned in all cases, including rape or incest, with an exception only for saving the life of the mother. And she has made culture war issues like transgender rights a foundational part of her campaign. […]
The governor has badly outraised Dixon. On Thursday, Bridge Michigan, a local news outlet, reported that big GOP donors were “shunning” Dixon’s campaign.
But Dixon’s hard-right political vibe was perfectly at home on the airwaves of Real America’s Voice. […]
But RAV got its big break in 2019, when it began distributing ex-Trump strategist Steve Bannon’s War Room podcast, which ended up becoming one of the most influential platforms in right-wing media. The network has maintained a close relationship with Bannon, and ensures his daily program reaches some eight million viewers via satellite television, according to The Washington Post, which also reported that the network employs no more than 20 people.
Dixon’s show ran from June 2019 to May 2021, the month she launched her campaign for Michigan governor. Those years, she later said, “gave me access to congressmen and senators and all those political insiders that you need to do something” like running for governor.
Regardless, Dixon’s time on the network did allow her to rub elbows with all manner of figures on the MAGA right. “A majority of the guests,” said Holt, “are a rotating array of people who are just as off the wall as them.” […]
During her stint on the network, Dixon won fans—including Bannon, who said she does “a fabulous job” and called her a “fantastic piece of talent.” In her campaign for governor, she has continued to be a regular guest on Bannon’s War Room podcast, appearing as recently as Sept. 30. […]
Although Dixon’s time on the network is a key resume line for her, it has not been much of a topic of discussion in the campaign, and Democrats have not engaged too much with her record there.
In response to questions for this story, Whitmer campaign spokesperson Maeve Coyle said the governor has worked with Republicans on her agenda while Dixon “spent her career promoting conspiracy theorists, anti-abortion extremists and election deniers because she shares their dangerous agenda.” […]
“Cultivating an online following and trying to translate it into electoral success is sort of a well-worn pattern at this point,” Holt said. “But the success rate varies wildly.”
It’s these echo chambers that have incubated among many Trump-loving Republicans a belief that any election that they do not win is a rigged one.
Indeed, well before the stop the steal movement came about, Dixon’s show was a platform for the kind of rhetoric that laid the groundwork for Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election.
“We are watching a cabal, a group of people, who are working overtime to make sure that President Trump is not reelected,” said her co-host Matt Locke in a May 2020 segment.
“Why do you think they want mail-in ballots? Where do you think the coronavirus came from? Why do you think that they tanked our economy?” he asked. “You start looking at all of this, Tudor, and I don’t want to go down the conspiracy theory rabbit hole, but I’ve been there. I’ve done it several times.”