According to a new report from Axios (and in line with rumors that have been swirling for months, if not years), President Trump is planning to transition out of the White House, but not out of American politics. The site reports that Trump “has told friends he wants to start a digital media company to clobber Fox News and undermine the conservative-friendly network.”
“Some Trump advisers think Fox News made a mistake with an early call (seconded by AP) of President-elect Biden’s win in Arizona. That enraged Trump, and gave him something tangible to use in his attacks on the network,” reports Axios.
“He plans to wreck Fox. No doubt about it,” an insider source told the outlet.
Axios outlined the president’s plan:
There’s been lots of speculation about Trump starting a cable channel. But getting carried on cable systems would be expensive and time-consuming.
Instead, Trump is considering a digital media channel that would stream online, which would be cheaper and quicker to start.
Trump’s digital offering would likely charge a monthly fee to MAGA fans. Many are Fox News viewers, and he’d aim to replace the network — and the $5.99-a-month Fox Nation streaming service, which has an 85% conversion rate from free trials to paid subscribers — as their top destination.
In a recent interview with “Fox & Friends,” Trump was clear in his observations about the network.
“Fox has changed a lot,” he told the hosts. “Somebody said: What’s the biggest difference between this and four years ago? And I say Fox. I’m not complaining — I’m just telling people. It’s one of the biggest differences this season compared to last.”
There are certainly still good people working at Fox News – Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, and Sean Hannity come immediately to mind. But the truth is that Trump is right about a change in the waters. Ever since Roger Ailes passed away and Rupert Murdoch gave additional control over the network to his sons, Fox News has drifted further and further away from its original mission statement. It still works as a corrective to the fake news on CNN and MSNBC, but that says more about how radically terrible those networks have become than about Fox News’s direction.
Trump, even as president, is an entertainer and a man of the people in his heart. For that reason, we have no doubt that he can be a success in the digital conservatism space. Question is: Will this “media empire” replace his aim of running again in 2024? Or will it provide him with the perfect platform from which to Make America Great Again…again?