A number of media outlets and blogs are wondering if Donald Trump’s livestream debate show on his Facebook page represents the beginning of what’s become known as “Trump TV.”
Trump and his associates have been exploring the possibility of launching a new TV network after the November election. Nothing is set in stone and things are at the preliminary stage of planning. But Trump’s blasts at the media are becoming more pointed and more vitriolic. Might his Facebook livestreaming of the debate be a test broadcast for a new Trump-branded news network?
Proclaiming itself an antidote to the “mainstream media” which Trump has said is guilty of tipping the scales of this election against Trump and the American people and in favor of a Clintonocracy, the nearly three hours of programming on Facebook cycled through Trump surrogates, family members and former Apprentice cast members, all of whom praised Trump endlessly.
Right Side Broadcasting Network, a conservative online media network that live streams Trump rallies, filmed the pre- and post- debate show, on which the common refrain was: “The mainstream media is against us.” Another common refrain following Trump’s debate performance: “By far his best debate. A clear and decisive victory.” Trump adviser Boris Epshteyn, who served a a co-host along with Trump adviser Cliff Sims, declared it “the greatest Republican debate performance since Abraham Lincoln.”
During their post-debate show, the show’s hosts and guests repeated the oft-debunked claim that Trump said he was against the Iraq War, thanked Trump repeatedly for being inspirational, and expressed their excitement for the inevitable Trump presidency.
They also, at one point, suggested that Clinton Foundation money was used for Clinton’s “white teeth,” though Trump’s looked whiter, actually.
The livestream “news” report appeared to “break” for pro-Trump advertisements and repeatedly asked for campaign donations, and it featured exclusively Trump surrogates and his family members, along with several former contestants of “The Apprentice.”
Ivanka Trump made an appearance in a call for campaign donations before the debate, and both Eric and Donald Trump Jr. appeared afterward to talk about what they thought was a decisive win for their father.
The post-debate show also featured cameos from The Blaze show host Tomi Lahren and Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro, which could signal the types of personalities who might be on a more permanent media venture if Trump loses in November.
Rumors have swirled about a Trump TV venture that could emerge if Republican nominee Donald Trump loses the election in November. Skeptics have painted a dark picture for the business prospects of any new cable news networks, but large- scale digital media companies are still attracting significant capital and making significant revenue; it remains to be seen how much longevity they will have.
The “greatest Republican debate performance since Abraham Lincoln”? Sounds like the new network won’t be shy about promoting its owner.
All the exaggerated praise and hyperbole aside, what kind of audience could a Trump news network draw? Politico reports that as of this morning, there were 8.7 million cumulative views of the Facebook livestream, so I don’t think there’s any doubt that the viewers would come if Trump went ahead.
But TV itself is undergoing a revolution that may make any venture like Trump’s obsolete before it even gets started. Streaming services and social media platforms are drawing more and more subscribers away from cable and dish. Perhaps Trump can find a formula that other networks haven’t discovered to attract eyeballs.
History tells us that when it comes to new ventures, don’t sell Trump short.