With Fox News refusing to toe the line and prostrate itself at Trump's feet, the soon-to-be-former President has told friends and close advisers he wants to start his own digital media company, according to sources familiar with the matter. Axios reports that Trump’s intention is to “clobber Fox News and undermine the conservative-friendly network.”
The President’s relationship with Fox News has been increasingly tense as of late; the news network’s decision to call Arizona’s election race in favor of Joe Biden must have enraged Trump. The network calling Biden "President-Elect" was likely the last straw.
“He plans to wreck Fox. No doubt about it,” a source told Axios.
Fox News, once considered a dedicated Trump mouthpiece happy to regurgitate his administration’s every whim and reiterate every snippet of misinformation, has slowly but surely evolved in recent months to be less blindly in support of the Trump administration. No doubt because owner Rupert Murdoch is disinclined to start on the wrong foot with the next administration.
If Trump actually went ahead with his plans, it could deal a serious blow to Fox News’ viewership.
Fox isn’t Trumpland — As much as Fox News is certainly a haven for conservative viewers, it isn’t owned by Trump or his direct allies. It’s owned by Robert Murdoch — one of the most powerful media moguls alive who also owns the Wall Street Journal and The New York Post through his company News Corp.
Murdoch also controls a huge number of international titles, from large ones like The Times in England, to a host of local TV news outlets and papers. That gives him enormous power to shift public opinion. And if there's anything Trump hates, it's other people having power over him.
Would viewers leave Fox? — Fox News has been very popular for a very long time. Some conservative thinkers likely feel a sense of loyalty to the network beyond what they feel for Trump.
Others, though, are ready to make the jump. CNN reports that many Trump loyalists have already switched to news sources like Newsmax, which has made a point of not calling the race and continuously entertaining Trump’s spurious claims of widespread voter fraud.
Combine this willingness to shift attention with Trump’s huge database of voter contacts and you have a pretty sure bet that his hypothetical media network would have a dedicated audience from the outset.
The sources that spoke to Axios mentioned that Trump’s plan would be to launch the news network as a subscription-based online service. This would cut down the startup costs associated with going the traditional cable-network route, allowing Trump to get his network up and running with just a few clicks. Fox News has been excruciating and damaging enough in its sycophancy during the Trump administration. The prospect of a dedicated Trump network is downright nauseating.