On Monday night, Anthony Scaramucci invited friends, publicists, and reporters to the basement of the Hunt & Fish Club, his swanky New York restaurant, to announce the launch of a cryptic new media venture, the Scaramucci Post.
The New York Times, the Guardian, the Hill, McClatchy, BuzzFeed News, and others wanted answers. What is the Scaramucci Post? Why does it tweet bizarre Twitter polls and endless emojis? After a of day of horrific news coming out of Las Vegas, why do we care?
“I am looking you dead in the face and saying I don’t know,” Scaramucci told reporters, when asked about what the new media project will be.
“I just want to make sure I’m describing this right as I use words,” one reporter in the scrum said. “If I describe it as a social media news platform —”
“Say Scaramucci has absolutely no idea what he’s doing,” he interjected, “and he has absolutely no idea what Scaramucci Post is.”
Even in half-jest, Scaramucci still sounded like a conventional digital media executive: The ScarPo is, in his telling, an advertising-supported, politically centrist, millennial-focused news outlet distributed natively on social media platforms. There will be live-streaming. There will be discussions with political influencers. And he may even hire reporters down the road.
“It’s a social media, Periscoping, experiential thing,” he said. “I may drop some articles on the Twitter feed that I like. No landing page. On Twitter, Instagram.”
These are… kind of the right buzzwords? And in true media launch form, Scaramucci even showcased his first advertiser, a new women’s sports site called Knockout Times. “If I get four or five more sponsors, I’ll be converting this thing into a website,” he said.
As for editorial ethos: “I think that there’s a wide open space in the middle that is not being served,” Scaramucci told reporters gathered around him. “It’s the Walter Cronkite space. It’s the space in the middle where there’s a level of objectivity.”
Scaramucci was also asked about a recent BuzzFeed News report that he had told friends, in writing, that he wants to run for president or governor of New York some day. Scaramucci, whose correspondence was obtained by BuzzFeed News after he called the original report “fake news,” once again denied he has elected office ambitions. And anyway, Scaramucci told me on Monday night that media was more his thing: “I see myself as a TV host.”
Since Scaramucci got booted from White House after he told the New Yorker that Steve Bannon likes to “suck [his] own cock,” he has hosted an episode of TMZ’s live show; he went on The View alongside his actor doppelganger, Mario Cantone, and suggested that Bannon is a white nationalist; he announced the launch of the Scaramucci Post with a series of polls about just who the account should follow next, often selecting well-known people in the media; and he hosted this would-be party for a group of New York reporters in the basement of his own restaurant, a charade of sorts, where Scaramucci reflected on topics like gerrymandering and the Moon landing.
Reporters weren’t quite sure what they had witnessed. We knew we were at the Hunt & Fish Club with Anthony Scaramucci. We knew that Scaramucci is working on some sort of media outlet.
And we understood, I think, that Scaramucci shrewdly knows the best way to keep the media’s attention is to become part of the media.