US President Donald Trump has threatened to shut down NBC and other American TV networks by revoking their media licenses, claiming they broadcast “fake news
” and are “bad” for the country.
“With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country!” Trump said in a tweet on Wednesday.
Trump has repeatedly used the term “fake news” to cast doubt on critical media reports about his administration, often without providing any evidence to support his case that the reports are false.
NBC News has reported on tensions between Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
NBC said last week that Trump sought a dramatic increase in the US nuclear arsenal during a meeting in July with national security advisers in July.
NBC reported Tillerson made his “moron” comment after that meeting and was on the verge of resigning amid mounting policy disputes with the White House.
“Fake @NBCNews made up a story that I wanted a ‘tenfold’ increase in our US nuclear arsenal. Pure fiction, made up to demean. NBC = CNN!,” Trump once again tweeted against the media on Wednesday.
This is not the first time Trump has attacked NBC. Trump wrote on Twitter on October 4 that “NBC news is #FakeNews and more dishonest than even CNN. They are a disgrace to good reporting. No wonder their news ratings are way down!”
Trump’s willingness to potentially challenge the broadcast licenses of a media he disapproves, marks an escalation in Trump’s anti-media rhetoric.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) does not license broadcast networks, but issues them to individual broadcast stations. The agency does not issue similar licenses for cable networks like CNN and MSNBC, or regulate internet news or other websites.
The FCC has said the First Amendment “expressly prohibits the commission from censoring broadcast matter” and that its role “in overseeing program content is very limited.”
As a candidate, Trump had pursued the same anti-media rhetoric threatening to “open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money.”