The dangerous shadow world of Donald Trump

The ex-president has a problem: most of the mass media ignore him. He remains blocked on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. That is why Donald Trump has created his own dangerous media reality.

“I want our country back,” said Donald Trump a few days ago in an interview with Bill O’Reilly, the well-known Fox News commentator who has since been shot because of sex scandals.

For his plan, he is doing what is necessary, said the ex-president. With Bill O’Reilly he will soon go on the “Trump Tour”. The two men have planned a series of public appearances, each with tens of thousands of viewers. The interview is intended to promote the paid shows. You can not see them on a conventional channel, but on “Billoreilly.com”. A “Concierge” membership there costs around 8 dollars a month – including an allegedly personal email contact with Bill O’Reilly.

Trump in an interview with Fox News legend Bill O’Reilly. (Source: billoreilly.com)

In fact, Trump is currently giving interviews almost weekly outside of the mainstream public. Far away from CNN, ABC or NBC, Trump has built a parallel media universe with which he can still reach an audience of millions. The channels are called Newsmax, OAN, Real America’s Voice, or Bill O’Reilly.

They all have a few things in common: They are strictly right-wing conservative, spread fake news, propaganda and disinformation, are closely networked, celebrate Donald Trump and do not let his successor, Joe Biden, look good. Journalism in the strict sense is not. But that’s not what matters to the makers. The point is to create a shadow world that is permanently played with a mix of falsehoods, half-truths and truths. So that the audience can hardly tell the difference between facts and falsehood.

The goal: to bring Trump back to the White House.

Not being able to directly record the conventional broadcasters and also the social networks Twitter, Facebook and Youtube is still Trump’s biggest problem. But he has long since made a virtue out of it. It is true that his alternative stations are nowhere near the range of the major media. But they could become a danger at the latest if Trump actually ran for the White House again. Then the conventional media would no longer get past him – and possibly the propaganda machine devoted to Trump would then set the pace. Even during his presidency, Trump favored media turned towards him. The rest was fake news for him.

These are Trump’s most important channels:

Bill O’Reilly

Cancel-Duo: Donald Trump und Bill O'Reilly (Quelle: billoreilly.com)Cancel-Duo: Donald Trump und Bill O’Reilly. (Quelle: billoreilly.com)

The disgraced ex-Fox News man Bill O’Reilly has long been promoting “no spin news” and “honest journalism”, supposedly objective news, on his website. In fact, in his interview with Trump, he gave more advice in the style of a Trump strategist. How could Trump convince even moderate voters? If he didn’t always hit the wall so aggressively. Couldn’t he shed this species? “At least a little?” Asked O’Reilly. Trump insisted: “If I have to be harsh, I’ll be harsh.” The “left radicals” are to blame for this.

The conversation was one of the more confrontational Trump interviews lately. O’Reilly asked several questions. Asked, for example, what would Trump really have done differently when he left Afghanistan? But everything quickly dissipated in amicable pleasure. The state of the country under President Joe Biden? “It’s a disaster,” said O’Reilly and Trump nodded again, “It’s a disaster.” O’Reilly asked, “Are they really all that stupid?” And Trump replied, “I don’t know, Bill, I’ve never seen anything like it.” And: “Bill, you are doing a really good job!” It is not known how many subscribers O’Reilly has. But his fame helps Trump. 30,000 tickets for the first show in Florida in December have already been sold, said O’Reilly.

Newsmax

Newsmax Logo (Quelle: Newsmax)Newsmax Logo (Quelle: Newsmax)

After last year’s presidential election, it briefly looked as if the right-wing cable broadcaster could become Trump’s new house broadcaster. Many disappointed viewers switched to Newsmax with the ex-president after Fox News announced Joe Biden’s victory. On Newsmax, the lie about the mass election fraud is upheld to this day. In the US state of Delaware, the Canadian voting machine company Dominion Votings Systems has been suing Newsmax since August because the broadcaster claims “without evidence” that the election had been manipulated.

The broadcaster also tries to preserve its own worldview in other ways. In September, following the Afghanistan withdrawal initiated by Joe Biden, a veteran was interviewed on Newsmax who did not say what the presenter wanted to hear. The interviewee was yelled at and thrown from the show: “You are not coming on my show and accusing Donald Trump! That really makes me angry!”

In the meantime, based on the number of viewers on a particular show, Newsmax had actually overtaken Fox News with an average of more than 300,000. The goal set by Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy, a close friend of Donald Trump, to really “take over” Fox News, has so far been a crashing failure. Fox News has long since adjusted its own strategy and has remained the number one news channel. Commentators like Chris Tucker are steadily fueling right-wing Republicans’ agendas and conspiracy ideologies. And yet: Newsmax has recently grown again, with an average of more than 140,000 viewers watching. The station has around two million subscribers on YouTube.

One America News Network (OAN)

OAN Logo (Source: OAN)OAN Logo (Source: OAN)

The right-wing populist cable broadcaster, headquartered in San Diego, California, was founded in 2013. There are around 150 employees at the location. At OAN, too, false reports and conspiracy ideologies are spread and the truth is deceived. The shows there have titles like “Real America” ​​or “The Real Story”. The video platform Youtube blocked the OAN channel with its 1.4 million viewers for a short time last year because of the spread of untruths about the Covid-19 pandemic. A lawsuit by the voting machine company Dominion Votings Systems in Delaware is also pending against OAN for false allegations of election manipulation.

It is true that there are hardly any reliable cable TV viewers from OAN. In October, however, it became known that the US cable provider AT&T, of all things, is said to have made a substantial contribution to the station’s financial success. AT&T apparently not only pushed for the station to be founded in 2013 to attract paying subscribers. OAN is said to have received significantly more license fees from the cable provider than other stations that can be received at AT&T.

Real America’s Voice (RAV)

RAV Logo (What: RAV)RAV Logo (What: RAV)

Compared to OAN and Newsmax, Real America’s Voice (RAV) is smaller and not a real TV station either. However, like many other similar propaganda channels, RAV plays an important role in the Trumpist environment. Here, too, the ex-president, as still-president, gives regular interviews on the desolate state he diagnosed in the USA under Joe Biden. Election fraud, inflation, open borders, Afghanistan disasters and pandemic failures run here around the clock. Trump’s ex-security chief, right-wing extremist and Breitbart founder Steve Bannon, is allowed to market his podcast show “War Room” on RAV.

Right Side Broadcasting Network (RSBN)

RSBN Logo (What: RSBN Logo)RSBN Logo (What: RSBN Logo)

The Right Side Broadcasting Network (RSBN) is basically Trump’s number one live streaming service. The broadcasts of his rallies, which often take hours, including the supporting program, can be reliably followed here, even if the major media are not present. RSBN dates back to the early days of Trump’s first presidential candidacy. More than 1.5 million users follow the channel on YouTube.

The right channel was allowed as one of the first to announce this Wednesday of this weekthat Donald Trump is apparently in the process of founding his own alternative social network called “Truth Social”. RSBN distributed a press release from a so-called “Trump Media & Technology Group”, which Trump apparently chairs. It is said to be about “creating a rival for the liberal media consortium and defending themselves against the ‘big tech’ companies of Silicon Valley”. They have too much power and are trying to silence opposition voices. it’s about “standing up against the tyranny of ‘Big Tech’.” A separate video streaming service called TMGT + is supposed to offer “non woke” entertainment, podcasts and news without “political correctness”.

Rumble, Telegram and Gettr

The move is only consistent, because the Trump-compliant parallel universe of fake news, propaganda and hate speech, mixed with harmless content, has been expanding for a long time, also with the help of alternative social media platforms. Many of the stations can still be received on YouTube. Donald Trump himself is blocked there and on Facebook and Twitter.

It was only in the summer that Trump decided to set up his own profile on the Canadian video platform Rumble, which is particularly popular with right-wing conservative supporters. Since then, he has gathered more than 800,000 followers there. In addition, there are countless Telegram channels that are busy around the clock, processing Trump’s content into sometimes even more drastic lies and disseminating it.

Numerous right-wing conservatives are currently also trying to promote a “censorship-free” Twitter alternative called Gettr around the world.

Ready when Trump is

It is difficult to estimate how many people Donald Trump will actually reach with his permanent presence in this parallel universe. But the ex-president, who poses as the rightful president, is nowhere near as invisible in the US as it could appear.

The force that these almost unmanageable networks could develop in the event of an actual nomination for Trump as a Republican candidate is likely to be enormous. The fear of a “perfect storm”, an unstoppable storm of disinformation, is not without reason. All broadcasters act on the announcement Steve Bannon is said to have made: “The Democrats don’t matter. The real opposition is the media. And the way to deal with them is to flood the area with shit.”

But apparently it will not work without conventional media. Trump has also appeared on Fox News for some time in the form of courtesy talks. No wonder, because the station lurches further in the direction of the camp of the Trump conspirators. The voting machine company Dominion Voting Systems also filed a billions-in-law lawsuit against Fox News in March for making false claims.

Before Donald Trump wants his country back, as he said with Bill O’Reilly, he wants most of all to get his old social media back. Since July he has been suing a federal court in Florida against his bans on Twitter, Facebook and Youtube. Trump invokes freedom of speech, guaranteed in the United States’ first amendment to the constitution.

Here, too, the ex-president and his media armada are again laying the wrong track. Because the “First Amendment” actually refers to any state censorship, but not to decisions by private companies. But the listeners and viewers don’t care. Because they have long believed: Behind the tech giants from Silicon Valley there is only a deep state controlled by Democrats.

.