WASHINGTON (TV NEWSCHECK) – The National Association of Broadcasters and the Radio and Television Digital News Association blasted President Trump for his tweet this morning threatening the licenses of the NBC Owned & Operated stations for what he believes is a false story about him by NBC News.
“It is contrary to this fundamental right [of a free press] for any government official to threaten the revocation of an FCC license simply because of a disagreement with the reporting of a journalist,” said NAB President Gordon Smith.
RTDNA Executive Director Dan Shelley said the tweet “is not only dangerous to the American people’s right to access responsible journalism, it represents a clear misunderstanding on his part of how much control the federal government can exercise as it relates to networks and cable channels.
“Broadcast licenses are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission, but the FCC does not license broadcast networks. Nor does it license cable channels, and it regulates cable channels only in a very limited way.
“That means if Mr. Trump wants to challenge the ‘license’ of NBC, his only recourse under current law would be to go after the licenses of the network’s 11 owned local television stations.”
Trump’s ire was aroused by an NBC News story early this morning that said Trump, in a meeting last summer with national security leaders, called for a massive buildup of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, what amounted to a “nearly 10-fold” increase.
It was soon after that meeting that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Trump a “moron,” the story said.
“Pure fiction, made up to demean. NBC = CNN!,” the President first tweeted.
He soon followed that up with another: “With all the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country?”
Requests for comment from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and NBC Washington lobbyist Mitch Rose have so far gone unanswered.