Trump Could Provide The New Home For Conservative News
WASHINGTON – I wrote a column back almost two months ago that Republican nominee Donald Trump was seriously looking at launching his own cable news network. This not to say that he has given up becoming president, but should he fail he is still likely to get 60 to 70 million votes. My collogue Alan Steinberg, a former advisor and part of the President George W. Bush administration along with others have said all along the Trump News brand could be a force in media.
Last week the Trump campaign added Steve Bannon, the executive chairman of Breitbart News, someone he likes and respects. Breitbart is a conservative news operation that has done a great job of attracting a growing number of followers and has been a pro-Trump outlet.
For the moment expect Bannon to guide the ads being done by the campaign and to hit Hillary Clinton very hard from all angles. That is likely to become his focus all the way until November when if Trump loses, his job will be to help ramp up a media outlet.
Trump is also getting unpaid advice from his longtime friend and former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes. He could be a behind the scenes force in the possible Trump News venture, providing he can navigate a way through his involvement in a sexual harassment lawsuit against 20th Century Fox.
With or without Ailes, Trump has the media savvy to establish a very strong news outlet on his own. He knows the business and if he loses, he could make cable news great again.
Because Trump likes to spend time in the Sunshine State he could have a nice home base by acquiring the Florida’s own national media outlet Newsmax TV. The small network could be a player in a possible Trump News channel.
The key to the survival of any cable network is distribution and with 35 million cable subscribers through DirecTV and DISH Network Newsmax and a handful of broadcast stations around the country. They could be a partner or an outlet a Trump News would wish to buy. They also have a strong streaming video presence on Over The Top television and as more cut cable that is a good place to have a foothold.
In the upcoming presidential election win or lose Trump will have a hardcore 50 million people that is part of this “political movement.” I have help launch five cable networks and two major market television stations. To have a base of around 50 million potential loyal viewers would give Trump News an unprecedented launching pad.
How about a little evidence to prove my point Trump is planning to start his own media operation after election day Nov. 8. “There have been discussions about this,” Vanity Fair’s Sarah Ellison told the NPR show “The Takeaway” over the weekend. “This is not just something that we have all been thinking about in the media. This is something that Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner, [who owns The New York Observer], have had conversations about.” Ellison first reported in June, per anonymous sources, that “Trump is indeed considering creating his own media business, built on the audience that has supported him thus far in his bid to become the next president of the United States.”
“There is no doubt that there is a broader plan at play to extend the Trump brand and a conversation that they’re initiating right now beyond the November election,” former Breitbart News spokesman and political strategist Kurt Bardella said on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” yesterday. “When you have a person who up until a week ago was running a major audience-driven media entity [Breitbart chief Steve Bannon], when you know he’s obviously having regularly conversations with Roger Ailes who helped build FOX News, there’s no doubt that you don’t bring people like that into your orbit versus traditional campaign personnel who know how to run national campaigns. … [H]e’s making the case every day of when he loses this election, it will be because the media had it out for him and we need an alternative to make sure this never happens again.”
Also of note is the support of the highest rated show on cable news, Hannity on Fox News a fact brought forth by The New York Times. “Mr. Hannity uses his show on the nation’s most-watched cable news network to blare Mr. Trump’s message relentlessly — giving Mr. Trump the kind of promotional television exposure even a billionaire can’t afford for long,” Jim Rutenberg reports in his New York Times column today. “But Mr. Hannity … also veers into the role of adviser. Several people I’ve spoken with over the last couple of weeks said Mr. Hannity had for months peppered Mr. Trump, his family members and advisers with suggestions on strategy and messaging. He did not dispute that he lends his thoughts to Mr. Trump and others in his close orbit.”
The highly regarded media outlet The Wrap, has reported that Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and Greta Van Susteren have out clauses in their contract’s should Roger Ailes leave Fox News. O’Reilly, Hannity and Van Susteren could be free agents to a Trump News operations.
Things will become more clear once the election will be over but don’t be surprised if Trump News shows up at a cable company near you.
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