Fringe Media Outlets Peddle Trump Storylines Through Biden Inauguration

Brian Steinberg
·3-min read

President Trump’s White House tenure is over, but some members of the far-right media think there’s more of the now-former Commander-in-Chief’s story to tell.

Several of the outlets, many of which have gained a reputation in media circles for promoting opinions based on falsehoods, spent part of a day devoted to the inauguration of a new president (Joe Biden) devoted to maintaining some echo of the one he replaced (Donald Trump).

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On the far-right cable network Newsmax, for example, guests and analysts were quizzed during a segment that took place after Biden’s inauguration ceremony about what sort of role Trump might play in politics in the not-too-distant future. Kimberly Klacik, who recently ran as a Republican candidate for Congress in Maryland, reminded viewers that “there are 75 million people that voted for President Trump” and agreed when asked if his followers might try to start a “Patriot Party” that breaks away from traditional Republicans.

Many mainstream readers hold such outlets at arm’s length, recognizing that they often traffic in items and sentiment that stoke reaction and outrage, rather than a solid grounding in evidence. Newsmax took weeks, for example, to acknowledge Biden won the 2020 election, giving viewers false hope that Trump might ultimately prevail. But the beliefs and opinions of conservatives and the far right have been elevated during the Trump administration, becoming part of the former president’s media diet and playing a role in the remarks he has made on events of national import.

On Wednesday, some of the outlets seem to be continuing to vie for the attention of Trump and his adherents.

On Bongino.com, an outlet backed by popular right-leaning personality Dan Bongino, a lead story offered readers a chance to listen to a podcast that urges listeners to “have open eyes to the pending threats of liberty and freedom.” The Gateway Pundit, another conservative outlet, offered multiple posts examining what it said was a low-key Biden inauguration with sparse attendance (crowds were limited by coronavirus protocols), while also featuring a video of people greeting Trump when he arrived in Florida earlier in the day.

Some right-skewing outlets weren’t shy about noting the end of Trump’s current chapter. Breitbart poked fun at Biden’s age and noted remarks he made about opponents, but also featured headlines like “Trump Presidency Ends” and “Democracy Has Prevailed.” The Daily Caller featured this overarching headline on Wednesday afternoon: “46th President.”

Even Newsmax coverage had to point out Trump’s new absence from the political scene. When asked about the prospects for a “Patriot Party,” Sean Spicer, the former White House press secretary turned anchor, had to demur. “A national party takes a lot more than launching an effort” to start one, the host cautioned, noting that a split Republican base would lose influence over the lawmaking process. “If we become fractured, you may as well hand the Democratic party a permanent majority,” he said.

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