News Donald Trump urges followers to dump Rupert Murdoch’s ‘unwatchable’ Fox News
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Donald Trump urges followers to dump Rupert Murdoch’s ‘unwatchable’ Fox News

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They used to be a match made in heaven.

A president that viewers wanted to watch, and a TV network with a big and attentive base.

But in the weeks since Donald Trump lost his re-election bid, his relationship with Fox News has fallen apart.

Since losing the election Mr Trump has tweeted that Fox, once a bastion of supportive coverage, is “as bad as CNN,” “pandering to the left” and that its “ratings have completely collapsed”.

Mr Trump turned away from the network after what he deemed unfavourable coverage on election day and has started heavily promoting a new network – the far-right One America News, known as OAN.

On Twitter, the outgoing president has been posting about the channel that is unashamedly pro-Trump, far-right, and has little journalistic credibility. He loves to share the network’s clips that claim he still has a way to win the election and get back into the White House.

On Saturday, he tweeted: “@FoxNews Weekend Daytime is not watchable. Switching over to @OANN!”

Mr Trump has also encouraged viewers to switch to the MAGA-friendly Newsmax TV. Both TV networks purport to be legitimate news channels but peddle misinformation on voter fraud and the election outcome.

Since his loss, Newsmax has recorded growing numbers of viewers and its CEO, Christopher Ruddy, has been doing interviews on CNN, CNBC, with the Daily Beast, the New Yorker and Variety to promote and defend the channel.

According to Bloomberg Intelligence, since Mr Trump lost the election Newsmax has seen an average of 370,000 nightly viewers – a 277 per cent boost. Meanwhile, Fox’s viewership has dropped by 29 per cent.

But OAN appears to be the current favourite – often spruiked on Mr Trump’s Twitter feed.

Launched in 2013, OAN predates the Trump presidency, but the network has passionately supported him from the start of his political pursuits.

In 2015, when many news organisations were treating Mr Trump’s campaign as a sideshow affair, OAN decided to play his rallies in full.

It was an instant ratings hit. The network even tweeted out a public apology when it missed one.

OAN is anti-immigration, pro-police and rejects climate science.

When the president claimed that hydroxychloroquine, a controversial and potentially dangerous drug, was a cure for the novel coronavirus, OAN reported it as true.

While the total viewership is unknown, the network reaches 35 million homes across the US, a fraction of the 90 million reached by Fox, CNN, MSNBC.

Trump News?

It has also been reported Mr Trump may be considering his own channel.

In November, Axios reported Mr Trump wants to start a subscription-based digital media outlet to “wreck” Fox News and steal its audience.

Many analysts think that is exactly what he is planning to do.

“Watching @FoxNews is almost as bad as watching Fake News @CNN. New alternatives are developing!” Mr Trump tweeted on Wednesday – leaving many to wonder if he was referring to his own channel.

Mr Trump would only need a handful of his base to watch his channel for it to be a success, US election analyst and Australian National University professor Wesley Widmaier previously told The New Daily. 

“The long and short of it is, yes, he could do it – the plan is certainly plausible,” Professor Widmaier said.

“The question is, ‘can Trump set up an oxygen tent to rival Fox? That’s an open question.”

After leaving office Donald Trump could start his own TV network. Photo: AAP

Meanwhile, Lachlan Murdoch has said ‘bring it on’.

In an earnings call with investors on November 3, he was asked if it would welcome competition from Mr Trump.

“We love competition. We have always thrived with the competition,” Lachlan said.

“And we have strong competition now.

“I would say the only difference today versus some years ago, as our audience has grown and our reach has grown, we see our competition as no longer only cable news providers, but also as the traditional broadcast networks.”

Professor Widmaier said that as an experienced TV host, Mr Trump would be at home on his own channel.

“He’s very good at setting up that dramatic framing which is entertaining to watch,” Professor Widmaier said.

“I can see a lot of people watching it if that’s what he does.”