WASHINGTON—Blasting NBC and some of its recent report as “fake news,” President Donald Trump used Twitter to query whether or not it was appropriate to challenge NBC’s broadcast license. The tweet came after NBC News released a story asserting that the president wanted to increase the nation’s nuclear arsenal.
Networks are not licensed by the FCC, though NBC’s owned TV stations are. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has promised in the past to Congress that he would not penalize free speech “even if requested by the administration.”
NAB issued a response to the president's tweet from NAB CEO and President Gordon Smith: “The founders of our nation set as a cornerstone of our democracy the First Amendment, forever enshrining and protecting freedom of the press. It is contrary to this fundamental right for any government official to threaten the revocation of an FCC license simply because of a disagreement with the reporting journalist.”
Former FCC Commissioner and Common Cause Special Advisor Michael Copps released this statement in response: "This madcap threat, if pursued, would be blatant and unacceptable intervention in the decisions of an independent agency. The law does not countenance such interference. President Trump might be happier as emperor, but I think the American people would strip him of his clothes on this issue. Additionally, it's not just NBC stations that will find this threat chilling, but also smaller independent stations around the country who might lack the resources to fight back."
Read B&C's story here.