Donald Trump's media network begins with debate livestream counterprogramming

Donald Trump's stream was one of the most watched in the world

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published October 20, 2016 11:23AM (EDT)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump takes the stage for the third presidential debate at University of Nevada in Las Vegas, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016, for the third presidential debate.  (AP)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump takes the stage for the third presidential debate at University of Nevada in Las Vegas, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016, for the third presidential debate. (AP)

Donald Trump may be widely viewed as the loser of Wednesday night’s presidential debate, but in the process he may have used his Facebook page to achieve a very different goal: Starting his own TV network.

The action began on Trump’s Facebook page, where the debate was livestreamed in a feed that declared itself as an alternative to the “mainstream media.” Trump has repeatedly accused the media of being biased against him throughout this election, and apparently the solution to that was three hours of content that focused on interviews with Trump’s family members and campaign surrogates, from Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump to retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn and former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer. One of the hosts, Jeff Dewitt, proclaimed afterward that their viewers had just witnessed “the greatest Republican debate performance since Abraham Lincoln.”

At its peak, Trump’s feed had 200,000 concurrent viewers, with a low point of 120,000 viewers. Overall it seemed to plateau at approximately 170,000 viewers, making it second to ABC News for the evening.

This wouldn’t be the first time Trump has hinted at creating his own network. Earlier this week, it was reported that Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner had informally approached an investment boutique known as LionTree about starting a Trump network, although Variety subsequently revealed that LionTree was not interested in pursuing that idea. According to CNBC, a Trump TV station would likely struggle because big name advertisers would probably be reluctant to be associated with his brand, although it remains to be seen whether that will ultimately deter many of them.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a professional writer whose work has appeared in multiple national media outlets since 2012 and exclusively at Salon since 2016. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012, was a guest on Fox Business in 2019, repeatedly warned of Trump's impending refusal to concede during the 2020 election, spoke at the Commonwealth Club of California in 2021, was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022 and appeared on NPR in 2023. His diverse interests are reflected in his interviews including: President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981), Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (1999-2001), animal scientist and autism activist Temple Grandin, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (1997-2001), director Jason Reitman ("The Front Runner"), inventor Ernő Rubik, comedian Bill Burr ("F Is for Family"), novelist James Patterson ("The President's Daughter"), epidemiologist Monica Gandhi, theoretical cosmologist Janna Levin, voice actor Rob Paulsen ("Animaniacs"), mRNA vaccine pioneer Katalin Karikó, philosopher of science Vinciane Despret, actor George Takei ("Star Trek"), climatologist Michael E. Mann, World War II historian Joshua Levine (consultant to "Dunkirk"), Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (2013-present), dog cognition researcher Alexandra Horowitz, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson (2012, 2016), comedian and writer Larry Charles ("Seinfeld"), seismologist John Vidale, Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman (2000), Ambassador Michael McFaul (2012-2014), economist Richard Wolff, director Kevin Greutert ("Saw VI"), model Liskula Cohen, actor Rodger Bumpass ("SpongeBob Squarepants"), Senator John Hickenlooper (2021-present), Senator Martin Heinrich (2013-present), Egyptologist Richard Parkinson, Rep. Eric Swalwell (2013-present), Fox News host Tucker Carlson, actor R. J. Mitte ("Breaking Bad"), theoretical physicist Avi Loeb, biologist and genomics entrepreneur William Haseltine, comedian David Cross ("Scary Movie 2"), linguistics consultant Paul Frommer ("Avatar"), Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (2007-2015), computer engineer and Internet co-inventor Leonard Kleinrock and right-wing insurrectionist Roger Stone.

MORE FROM Matthew Rozsa

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

2016 Presidential Debates Donald Trump Donald Trump Media Empire Trump Tv