Fox News has been trying its hardest to be Donald Trump’s cheerleader during this election, but apparently Trump still isn’t satisfied. According to sources working close to the Republican presumptive nominee, Trump is angry that he’s not getting any of the profits he thinks his candidacy brings to the news networks. So like any good grifter, he plans on cutting out the middle men and creating his own Trump-branded cable empire.
All Trump. All the time.
As if the idea of running for president merely for the chance to be of service to the country is fundamentally abhorrent to him, Trump has been spending a lot of time dreaming up his own Trump Television Network – a 24-hour propaganda center that can pump out pro-Trump stories for the supporters Trump views as dollar signs. As Vanity Fair reports:
Trump, this person close to the matter suggests, has become irked by his ability to create revenue for other media organizations without being able to take a cut himself. Such a situation “brings him to the conclusion that he has the business acumen and the ratings for his own network.” Trump has “gotten the bug,” according to this person. “So now he wants to figure out if he can monetize it.
Obviously, tipping his hand before he can set up the network would mean all-out war with Fox News and other right-wing media outlets. It would also further prove to many voters that Trump is in this exclusively for the money. It may explain why his spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, freaked out when Vanity Fair first asked her about it:
There is absolutely no truth to this whatsoever. This hasn’t been even uttered. Not even thought about.
Only to later to look foolish when Trump himself seemed to tip his hand by tweeting:
The press is so totally biased that we have no choice but to take our tough but fair and smart message directly to the people!
Vanity Fair‘s sources say that Trump would likely hold off on launching Trump TV until after the election, namely to avoid enraging Fox News, but partly because doing so would be patently illegal.
It’s also unclear whether Trump thinks he will be allowed to run a for-profit right-wing news network while also being president of the United States. Trump has certainly pushed the boundaries of what portions of fascism Americans are comfortable with, but the idea of a money-making propaganda network run by the President of the United States might be a bit much. Even Hitler didn’t have the stones to actually charge people for his propaganda. It would suggest that even Trump may believe, in his heart of hearts, that he’s on the cusp of a walloping defeat in November. He may view a media center as his golden parachute when things go south. He might not be wrong.
Leveraging failure into right-wing media jobs is, of course, a popular ploy for many Republican also-rans. For reasons that will forever remain unclear, getting demolished in elections actually gives some conservatives more credibility with their base. They are so “anti-establishment” that they can’t even become the establishment when they try to! At one point or another, nearly every Republican nominee to go down in flames in the primaries has worked for Fox News. Sarah Palin, ever the trailblazer in outrageous cons, even led the way for Trump TV by launching her own web-based Palin TV. For a monthly subscription, conservatives could watch the Palin family reality show, glorified ads for Sarah Palin’s dormant political career, and spectacularly incoherent ramblings by Palin herself.
It didn’t last. Less than a year after she started taking people’s money, Palin lost interest and announced she was done with Palin TV. Now she’s a Trump adviser,= and is no doubt the go-to point person on questions of grift, scams, cons, and publicity whoring. Trump’s going to need her particular set of skills.
Featured image via Darren McCollester/Getty Images