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Photo: Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images

President Trump has told friends he wants to start a digital media company to clobber Fox News and undermine the conservative-friendly network, sources tell Axios.

The state of play: Some Trump advisers think Fox News made a mistake with an early call (seconded by AP) of President-elect Biden's win in Arizona. That enraged Trump, and gave him something tangible to use in his attacks on the network.

  • "He plans to wreck Fox. No doubt about it," said a source with detailed knowledge of Trump's intentions.

With loyal viewers and longtime dominance, Fox Corp. CEO Lachlan Murdoch said on a Nov. 3 earnings call:

  • "We love competition. We have always thrived with competition. ... Fox News has been the number one network, including broadcast networks, ... from Labor Day through to Election Day."

Here's Trump's plan, according to the source:

  • There's been lots of speculation about Trump starting a cable channel. But getting carried on cable systems would be expensive and time-consuming.
  • Instead, Trump is considering a digital media channel that would stream online, which would be cheaper and quicker to start.
  • Trump's digital offering would likely charge a monthly fee to MAGA fans. Many are Fox News viewers, and he'd aim to replace the network — and the $5.99-a-month Fox Nation streaming service, which has an 85% conversion rate from free trials to paid subscribers — as their top destination.

Trump's database of email and cellphone contacts would be a huge head start.

  • Trump's lists are among the most valuable in politics — especially his extensive database of cellphone numbers for text messages.

Axios is told Trump may use vote-count rallies to undercut Fox.

  • "He's going to spend a lot of time slamming Fox," the source said.

Trump has increasingly complained that Fox News interviews more Democrats than it used to. He has needled the network by promoting other conservative outlets, including One America News and Newsmax.

  • "Fox has changed a lot," Trump said during the most recent interview he has given anywhere, with "Fox & Friends" on Election Day. "Somebody said: What's the biggest difference between this and four years ago? And I say Fox."
  • "I'm not complaining — I'm just telling people," Trump added. "It's one of the biggest differences this season compared to last."
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Go deeper

Updated Dec 1, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Barr says DOJ has not seen evidence of fraud that would change election results

Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Attorney General Bill Barr told AP on Tuesday that the Department of Justice has not uncovered evidence of widespread voter fraud that would change the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.

Why it matters: It's a direct repudiation of President Trump's baseless claims of a "rigged" election from one of the most loyal members of his Cabinet.

Inhofe loudly sets Trump straight on defense bill

Sen. Jim Inhofe speaks with reporters in the Capitol last month. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Senator Jim Inhofe told President Trump today he'll likely fail to get two big wishes in pending defense spending legislation, bellowing into his cellphone: "This is the only chance to get our bill passed," a source who overheard part of their conversation tells Axios.

Why it matters: Republicans are ready to test whether Trump's threats of vetoing the bill, which has passed every year for more than half a century, are empty.

Conspiracy theories blow back on Trump's White House

Sidney Powell. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

President Trump has rarely met a conspiracy theory he doesn't like, but he and other Republicans now worry the wild tales told by lawyers Sidney Powell and Lin Wood may cost them in Georgia's Senate special elections.

Why it matters: The two are telling Georgians not to vote for Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler because of a bizarre, baseless and potentially self-defeating theory: It's not worth voting because the Chinese Communist Party has rigged the voting machines.