Everyone knows you can't be a proper real authoritarian regime without state-run media, and after the twin disasters of Sean Spicer's departure as Press Secretary and the short-lived "Tony Scaramucci as Communications Director" era, the Trump regime is turning to one of their own to bypass the Fourth Estate.
After months of denigrating the media as fake news, President Trump has launched a news program of his own on Facebook featuring his daughter-in-law.
"Watch here for REAL news!" a post on the president's Facebook page said Sunday.
Lara Trump, who is married to the president's son Eric, appeared as the video's host in front of a Trump campaign background. Speaking to the camera like a TV news anchor, she offered updates on news favorable to her father-in-law.
"I bet you haven't heard about all the accomplishments the president had this week because there's so much fake news out there," she said.
A Google search shows mainstream media outlets did cover the stories she recounted, such as Trump donating his salary, a new Foxconn manufacturing plant in Wisconsin, and economic growth. But they also reported on the turmoil within the White House, the failure of his party to repeal and replace Obamacare, and the president's tweets saying that he wanted to ban transgender people from serving in the military.
Trump's abrupt reversal of Department of Defense policy was a dominant news story in the mainstream media last week. BuzzFeed News reported that the White House did not have a plan for its implementation, how the news seemed to stun military leaders, and how the news was received by trans veterans.
Those stories were not included in Lara Trump's news update.
"The president also met with some incredible veterans this week in Ohio, giving his thanks to them for their service to our country. Likewise, the vice president visited Walter Reed hospital, where he sat down and talked to so many wounded soldiers who have put their lives on the line for all of us."
The White House did not immediately respond to questions about how the video came to be produced and if Lara Trump should be considered part of the president's communications team. She previously worked as a producer for Inside Edition and has frequently made appearances in support of the Trump campaign.
She first promoted what will apparently be a series two weeks ago, encouraging the president's 23 million followers on Facebook to tune in every week.
"We're going to bring you nothing but the facts — stay tuned," she said.
I'm honestly surprised it took this long for the Trumpies to set up a propaganda show like this. They've been kicking around the idea of "Trump TV" since the beginning but it seems those plans have fallen through.
On a Wednesday night last month in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, it was just like old times for Right Side Broadcasting.
Live on YouTube, hosts Steve Lookner and Liz Willis interviewed people sporting “Make America Great Again” hats, who waited eagerly in line to watch President Trump take the stage at a jam-packed, campaign-style rally. Some of the Trump fans doubled as Right Side fans, and asked Lookner and Willis to pose for selfies in their branded polos.
Once the event started, Right Side streamed Trump's remarks in their entirety, just as it did hundreds of times during a presidential race that vaulted this Auburn, Ala., start-up from Internet obscurity to a media partnership with the Trump campaign.
The president's Facebook page featured Right Side's video feed from Cedar Rapids — and racked up 1.8 million views.
But nights like this one have been rare since Trump pulled off an upset victory in November.
After generating $1.1 million in advertising revenue and donations in 2016, Right Side entertained grand expansion plans. Founder Joe Seales told Business Insider last fall that he wanted to add news shows to his company's YouTube channel and build toward 24-hour programming.
Instead, Right Side has been forced to cut back amid steep revenue declines. A staff of 12 is down to four. Shows hosted by Mike Cernovich, Wayne Dupree, Margaret Howell and Nicholas J. Fuentes have been canceled.
Far from seeing a gusher of donations from energized Trump supporters, Seales said he has been propping up Right Side Broadcasting with money from his own pocket.
“I think a lot of them feel like the mission has been accomplished,” Seales said of the president's backers. “I think that after Trump won, people thought, 'Well, hey, our job is done.' Our donations went down significantly after the campaign. I think everybody sort of has that feeling of, 'Why are you guys still doing this? Trump won.' ”
Ahh, but now the mission has changed. Now it's all about propaganda and leveraging social media, something the Trump regime is fairly familiar with. Something tells me we're going to see a lot more of Lara Trump in the future.
That's not a good thing.