Donald Trump Jr. is reportedly in the process of a deal which would give him and Tommy Hicks, the co-chair of Republican National Committee (RNC), a major stake in the far-right cable channel One America News Network (OANN), according to Gabriel Sherman of Vanity Fair.
The plan is for Don Jr. and Hicks to “buy a station for Trump TV,” a source told Sherman.
Additionally, OANN would then become a major competitor to Fox News, which President Donald Trump has grown increasingly unhappy with:
“Trump’s frustration with Fox has only intensified during the coronavirus pandemic. As the nation’s COVID-19 death count rises, and Trump’s poll numbers slide, Fox executives have sidelined the network’s most flagrant coronavirus deniers.
“This is all about building a Fox competitor. Trump is really aiming to take down Fox.”
OANN, for those who aren’t familiar with the fledgling channel, has gladly adhered to the White House line on every single issue that has confronted the administration. During the lead-up to Trump’s impeachment, the network ran a three-part series hosted by Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani. In that series, Giuliani alleged (without any proof) that it was Ukraine, not Russia, who attacked the 2016 election.
The Wall Street Journal first reported on talks between Hicks and OANN, Sherman notes:
“Sources told me OANN president Charles Herring was asking $300 million for the channel, a price the Trump group felt was too high (one source said the final price was around $200 million). It’s unclear whether Don Jr. invested Trump family funds in the deal or was given equity. The infusion of cash will allow OANN to improve production values and expand its modest distribution of 35 million homes (Fox News is available in more than 90 million homes).”
Asked about the possible investment by Don Jr., a spokesperson issued a halfhearted denial:
“While Don has long enjoyed a close friendship with Tommy Hicks and his family, he is not part of any investment group looking to acquire OANN. Should the Hicks family acquire the network, Don has no doubt that they will make OANN an even bigger success.”
The Trump family may be hoping to buy a beachhead on OANN for the president’s use after he leaves office:
“Trump’s big thing was always to own a network and be a multibillionaire,” the source said. “If Trump loses, he can be on OANN all the time. And before he leaves office, he has months to pump it up.”
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