Suspicions Donald Trump is using campaign to pave way for new TV network
Suspicions that Donald Trump is using his campaign as a launch pad for a right-wing media empire have grown with reports that his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has met with Aryeh Bourkoff, an investment banker with media experience, to discuss the possibility.
Some analysts have long speculated that Trump was planning on building some form of "Trump TV" after the election. Their suspicions have grown throughout the campaign as he surrounded himself with men who have already monetised right-wing discontent. The speculation has increased with the Financial Times report of the meeting.
Some of the most senior figures of the Trump campaign have already successfully built right-wing media machines. Roger Ailes, the founder and chief executive of Fox News has been advising Trump ever since he was forced out of his seat by Lachlan and James Murdoch after allegations of sexual harassment. The chief executive of Trump's campaign is Steve Bannon, the head of the alt-right online news outfit Breitbart.
In response to the story the Republican anti-Trump senator Ben Sasse tweeted sarcastically, "Who could possibly have seen this one coming."
Who could have possibly seen this one coming? https://t.co/wWYrP3Onnl— Ben Sasse (@BenSasse) October 17, 2016
The creation of a Trump TV would likely cause even more grief for the Republican Party that has already fallen into civil war by the Trump campaign. Trump's anti-establishment campaign has won the backing of around 40 per cent of the American people. Many of them view the Republican Party as suspiciously as they do the Democratic Party. Trump is as scathing on the hustings of the Republican leadership, which has distanced itself from his candidacy, as he is of the Democratic Party.
Under Steve Bannon, Breitbart has cast itself as a crusader against both parties and mainstream media, including Fox News.
As far back as June unconfirmed reports, such as one in Vanity Fair, suggested that Trump had grumbled that he had amassed a huge audience for cable news outlets throughout the primary campaign and that he wanted his cut.
In recent years American elections have proved to be fertile grounds for new media organisations.
During the 1990s CNN and Fox established themselves in part via election coverage. The Drudge Report established itself by breaking news on the Monica Lewinsky scandal and since then the Huffington Post and Buzzfeed have proved themselves as serious players with their election coverage.
David Folkenflik, who covers media for National Public Radio said that given it growing less likely that Trump would win next month, he understood conversations were being held within the campaign on how to harness the passion it had created among its supporters.
In media and political circles the idea was being discussed as a "Trumpbart" network.
He said though a business model might be hard to create, such an outlet would only need to secure half a percent of the US population at any given time to be considered a significant cable player.
He noted that aside from Ailes and Breitbart the Fox News star Sean Hannity, at present noted for his "aerobic sucking up" to the Trump campaign, could become another high profile player.
- Sydney Morning Herald