One of the most persistent patterns of behavior by Donald Trump is his knee-jerk reaction to anyone or anything that fails to show him unflinching adoration at all times. Trump can be relied on to launch a barrage of vicious and vengeful assaults in the wake of what he considers betrayal, even if it’s a trivial and temporary lapse in the observance of reality.
Trump spent Thursday morning working hard at what he considers to be his most pressing presidential duties: posting hostile and incoherent tweets aimed at the paranoid parade of his perceived enemies. On this particular morning it was Fox News that was the subject of Trump’s ire (and not for the first time). He retweeted more than a dozen messages by random Twitter bots blasting Fox News and insisting that it was either untruthful, corrupt, or dead, and that they would never watch it again.
— Yashar Ali ? (@yashar) November 12, 2020
Following that Trump tweeted his own opinion that focused on Fox’s tumbling ratings and his narcissistic illusions of grandeur:
.@FoxNews daytime ratings have completely collapsed. Weekend daytime even WORSE. Very sad to watch this happen, but they forgot what made them successful, what got them there. They forgot the Golden Goose. The biggest difference between the 2016 Election, and 2020, was @FoxNews!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 12, 2020
It’s telling that Trump believes that Fox News is obligated to promote him in a purely positive fashion at all times because he is, in his own mind, their “Golden Goose,” and the sole reason for their success. Never mind that Fox has been at the top of the cable news food chain since 2002, two years before The Apprentice aired, when he was just a failed proprietor of bankrupt casinos trying to sell the rights to his name for other developers to plaster onto their buildings.
Trump is also blaming his election loss on Fox News, citing the differences between how they covered him in 2016 (when they rapturously covered his every public utterance live and uninterrupted) and 2020 (when they employed a bit more discretion by only covering almost every public utterance). Throughout his presidency and the election campaign, Fox News was faithful to their Dear Leader, lavishing him with praise, while lambasting his critics.
Trump was nevertheless perturbed at Fox because they would occasionally interview a Democrat or allow a Democratic commentator to tell the truth about him. He also whined about Fox’s polling that often – and correctly – found him to be losing to Joe Biden. And now his anger at Fox is being channeled into a new media venture. As reported by Axios, “Trump is considering a digital media channel that would stream online.” And his intentions are not limited to the business aspects of this:
“‘He plans to wreck Fox. No doubt about it,’ said a source with detailed knowledge of Trump’s intentions.”
That’s right. Trump is acting out his revenge on the network that put him in the White House. Now Fox is just another one of the former Trump allies that fell out of favor with him and is therefore subject to his bitter wrath. But don’t mistake this for mere spite for perceived wrongs. This is also Trump’s marketing plan. He needs to diminish Fox News if he ever hopes to prevail over them. So he’s launching this scorched earth campaign to soften up the wingnut TV audience and prepare them for Trump’s debut.
What’s more, Trump’s efforts to contest the results of the election are all likely a part of the same marketing plan. By pushing hard on accusations that the election was stolen from him, and the need to fight back, Trump is keeping his fundraising operation humming. And it will not surprise anyone when most of those funds make their way into his new media startup. Similarly, his rallies, past and future, are not just opportunities to lap up the adoration of his cult followers. They are also useful in building contact lists (email and cell phones) that he can use to launch Trump TV.
In the end, all of these efforts are only likely produce the next Trump bankruptcy. It is incredibly difficult and expensive to launch a new network. And Trump doesn’t have either the work ethic or the money to do it. Furthermore, it is unlikely that he could sustain an audience for 24 hours a day and seven days a week. There is only so much that people can take of him and his trademark belligerence, childish insults, and relentless whining. And as an ex-president – and a loser – he won’t have the draw that the presidency conveys.
However, any project that pits Trump against Fox News is bound to have some entertainment value for America’s liberals and Democrats. It should be fun to see them go after each other in a war that is certain to be harmful to both. So stock up on popcorn and get ready to binge on a bizarre reality show that promises to be even more bizarre than anything Borat could dream up.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.