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Trump May Be Gunning to Cripple Fox News

Axios says he plans a digital rival, while CNN's Brian Stelter sees a 'robust' challenge to Fox elsewhere
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 12, 2020 10:45 AM CST

(Newser) – It's no secret that relations between President Trump and Fox News have soured of late—especially after the network called Arizona for Joe Biden ahead of everyone else. Now, a report at Axios suggests things are going to get worse. The outlet says Trump plans to create a digital media company to compete with Fox for viewers on the right. Coverage:

  • Revenge: "He plans to wreck Fox," a source tells Axios. For now, expect Trump to publicly slam the network at rallies. The longer-term strategy involves creating a digital streaming service—much easier and cheaper to launch than a cable network—and making use of Trump's extensive database of supporters to lure subscribers away from Fox.

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  • Another rival: Trump of late has been promoting coverage at existing Fox rivals on the right such as Newsmax, which media writer Brian Stelter of CNN notes is seeing a big surge in ratings. Before the election, it averaged 25,000 viewers at any given time. Now, the figure is above 400,000. That's still small compared to Fox's 1.86 million, but "this is the most robust right-wing TV challenge to Fox that I have ever seen," writes Stelter. Newsmax doesn't view Joe Biden as president-elect, as Fox's news team does.
  • Still strong: But Newsmax's rise doesn't seem to be hurting Fox's numbers. Mediaite notes that the network swept the top three spots Tuesday on cable news and digs into the numbers.
  • Day-night split: At the Intercept, Robert Mackey takes note of Fox's day-night split. Daytime anchors see Biden as the winner, but nighttime anchors of opinion shows, led by Sean Hannity, are largely pushing Trump's message that Biden's victory is illegitimate. Mackey suggests Fox will continue providing this nighttime voice for the near future: "The goal, for both Fox and the Republicans, is to avoid alienating Trump—at least long enough to ensure that he doesn't turn on the party before control of the Senate is settled in the two runoff elections in Georgia on January 5."
  • Rupert's view: Rupert Murdoch, the media magnate behind Fox, is reacting to the election with a "realpolitik" view, writes Michael M. Grynbaum at the New York Times. The day-night split mentioned above is an example. Fox's news team won't budge in retracting its view that Biden won, but Trump still has Hannity and company pushing his views. Trump just shouldn't expect too much loyalty from the Murdoch empire—in fact, some of Murdoch's other outlets, including the New York Post, have turned relatively negative on the president since Nov. 3. As Grynbaum puts it: "Presidents come and go. Rupert Murdoch remains."
  • Trump's view: It might be summed up in an interview he gave to Fox & Friends on Election Day. "Somebody said: 'What's the biggest difference between this and four years ago?'" said Trump, per the Hill. "And I say Fox."
(Read more Fox News stories.)

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