One day President Trump asserts a moral equivalency between neo-Nazis, anti-Semites, and violent racists relative to the protestors who are reviled by their bigotry, and two days later he fires Steve Bannon.
- Rebrand the “alt right.” The term “alt right” suggests that it is a fringe group, not the heart of the party. Expect Bannon to come up with some new term – the “True Right,” the “Authentic Right” – that attempts to position Breitbart as the home of true ideological believers.
- Hand in glove with this effort will be an attempt to reposition Fox News as merely the mouthpiece of the traditional Republican beltway establishment. Bannon will characterize Fox News as being loyal to party and personality, but not to ideology. Fox will endure a barrage of fake news that attempts to stamp it as the network of Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, and aging establishment dogma.
- Expect some version of Breitbart TV soon. Disclosure: as this piece was being finished for posting, we saw today’s New York Times article on a similar topic. The Times journalist seemed to feel that television was not in the game plan for Breitbart, but it is hard to see how Breitbart could expand its scope and impact dramatically without the broad reach of television. Sure, this will require big money, but that is where the billionaire Mercer family comes in. It was of more than passing interest that The New York Times piece did not mention the words “alt right” a single time, which suggests that they are not seeing the opportunity as a classic exercise in market segmentation. Bannon is out to segment Fox’s audience just as the original Fox segmented network news.
- Welcome back, Bill O’Reilly. A short-cut to an instantaneous large audience would be to give Bill O’Reilly the 9:00 prime time slot, and watch the Fox faithful come home to Papa.Hannity and Carlson would then be hot commodities in a bidding war.
- Finally: if we thought that Fox News owned the market in sensationalism and fake news, get ready for master classes in fictional narrative. Breitbart manufactures fake news by the gross. But if you are trying to build audience fast, you will be looking to make headlines with bigger, bolder, shocking news stories that demand the attention of the establishment news industry. Watch out, Jared Kushner… you are about to become the red meat Breitbart needs to break through into the big time. If Steve Bannon knows anything that hasn’t gotten out about Russian collusion, Breitbart will bleed it out until Kushner himself is out.