When Trump shafts Fox News

Bruce Maples (bruceinlouisville@gmail.com)
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Everyone who has ever worked for Donald Trump has, sooner or later, been sorry. Just ask Michael Cohen. Or Paul Manafort. Or John Kelley, now boasting that his greatest achievement was acting as #PresidentDunce’s babysitter. Or Sean Spicer. Actually, this list could go on ad nauseam. Naturally, you could also ask the untold number of contractors he stiffed.

And soon, you’ll also be able to ask Fox News.

Few media outlets have been more deceptive and shrill than the news that Grandpa watches. Brian Kilmeade, one of the dolts on Fox & Friends, actually lamented on Jan. 27 that John Bolton’s new book makes it harder for Republican senators to cover up for Trump. Really, you can’t make this stuff up.

But it is all going to be for naught, because, once Trump leaves the White House — unless he goes to prison — he’s going to set up his own Fox News competitor.

Can’t believe it? Look around you. Already, Trump is criticizing Fox News, building up his argument that he’s starting his own network because Rupert Murdock’s lovechild has failed him. On Jan. 28, Trump denounced Fox News for having the temerity to book a Democratic congressman. What? He’s never been bothered by that before. So why now?

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1222183788924502017?s=20

So only he, of course, can fix it!

It’s an open secret that Donald J. Trump ran for president not to win, but to lay the groundwork for his very own television network. Trump TV, very alliterative! Trump pitched his own television network as recently as October.

What! Fox News, Trump’s own personal propaganda machine, isn’t enough? Apparently not, as they pay Trump only in free commercials, not cold, hard cash. And Trump is nothing if not greedy.

Now, Trump could start a television network from scratch, but he’s likely too lazy for that. He gave up building hotels long ago, instead settling for “branding” them (e.g., slapping his name on them in large gold letters and taking a cut). Expect the same here.

The most likely candidate is Trump’s newest sweetheart, One America News Network (OANN). On Jan. 28, he promoted OANN while slighting Fox News. Early in April, OANN “journalist” Chanel Rion was ousted from the daily Trump Follies at Five for not following the White House Correspondents’ Association’s rules of social distancing and those for rotation, which were designed to give everyone a chance. Like Trump, Rion thought that rules were for other people. A day later, the Trump Administration made sure that Rion, who asks softball questions too sycophantic even for Fox News,  had a permanent spot at Trump’s daily pressers as a friend of the show, or something.

Actually, OANN, launched in 2013 at CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference), makes Fox News look like the BBC. Awash with ridiculous conspiracy theories, outright lies, the quashing of inconvenient stories (reporter Christopher Woods says he actually got fired for covering Ferguson, Mo.), and obsequious coverage of Trump, this would be a marriage made in heaven: Trump gets a cut while basking in OANN’s lickspittle coverage, while OANN gets to expand its reach.

Currently, San Diego-based OANN has few viewers — one-third the viewership of Fox News, according to Vox, which added that OANN “is available via DirecTV and Verizon’s Fios but not most cable packages, and its ratings are reportedly beneath the Tennis Channel.” But its journalists — if that’s what you want to call inexperienced fresh-out-of-college propagandists — were making $12 an hour in 2017. That leaves plenty of profit to share with Trump. OANN began as a vanity project for millionaire owner Robert Herring, but who knows? If Trump can avoid the Club Fed and adds his name to OANN (“Trump TV” anyone?), then Fox News’ aging viewers might make the switch to follow their golden calf, and OANN will finally make it to cable TV.

And all of Fox’s fawning would have gone to create the man who would then steal their viewers and revenue stream. As they say – Karma’s really something.

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