Here is perhaps the finest, most concrete sign that politics and entertainment have become far too intertwined, if they were ever separate at all: Today, Vanity Fair’s online vertical The Hive ran a particularly terrifying report, which argues that Donald Trump might be looking to start his own news network, or, maybe more accurately, his own media company. (Can you really call the stuff coming from Trump’s mouth “news” when it’s removed from the election cycle?)
This is maybe shocking to anyone who believes that Trump’s bid for the presidency was anything other than an ego play, but for those of us who were dead-set against Trump’s legitimate interest in ruling our country, this makes a lot of sense. As the report points out, Trump has, more than anything else, managed to tap into a base of interests and beliefs that has yet to be capitalized on by the media. Even Fox News’s sometimes hateful, definitely biased rhetoric has not stooped so freely to the caution-to-wind diatribes spewed by Trump, and so there is an untapped market there. And it seems Trump is looking to tap the hell out of it.
That said, the Hive report hinges dangerously on unnamed sources and overheard conversations. One of those conversations involved Trump’s son-in-law, Tony Kushner, who owns The New York Observer. He was overheard, apparently, saying, “the people here don’t understand what I’m seeing. You go to these arenas and people go crazy for him.” And, as for one of these unnamed sources, they’ve simply said the Trump rationale is this: “Win or lose, we are onto something here. We’ve triggered a base of the population that hasn’t had a voice in a long time.”
Now, these are commonsense statements to be coming from any presidential candidate, and even more typical from the players that would be surrounding Trump, who has notably shunned any media he doesn’t agree with, all the while manipulating the media that he’s able to exploit. (Unable to control the statements of many publications, he’s blocked Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, Gawker, and The Washington Post reporters from his events. Meanwhile, he happily calls in to Fox & Friends, The Today Show, and Good Morning America, as he can say whatever he wants, and go pretty much unchallenged.)
It’s worth noting, too, that Trump’s spokesperson, Hope Hicks, denied any of this was happening, though she did point out that Trump was a ratings draw: “While it’s true Mr. Trump garners exceptionally high ratings, there are absolutely no plans or discussions taking place regarding a venture of this nature.” The same day that Hicks issued her statement to the Hive, Trump tweeted that he’d have to bring his message directly to the people, as the media couldn’t be trusted. This could have just been a coincidence, but maybe not. Also, Trump’s move into a more regular spot in the media would not be entirely unprecedented, given the media pivots pulled by other former presidential hopefuls like Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin.
Whether this comes to pass probably hinges on the presidential race, as Trump would likely not want to alienate his few media friends before he’s finished with them. Either way, regardless of whether or not Trump ends up in the White House (and it’s not looking like he will), it seems we’re not going to stop hearing from him anytime soon. And we’re not talking about his new Pokémon likeness. We’re talking about an endless amount of Trump, piped straight into our homes. But then, hasn’t that been the case for the better part of the past year, anyway?