The FCC chairman subtly shot down Trump's threat to revoke NBC's licenses

Ryan Caron King  WNPR

- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 11, 2017 Network news has become so partisan, distorted and fake that licenses must be challenged and, if appropriate, revoked.

Last week, the president suggested on Twitter that media outlets that have been unfair to him should have their broadcast licenses revoked.

But today, six days after Trump first said that NBC and other networks should have their licenses challenged, Pai said the FCC won't pull licenses based on the content of news reports. "I think it's unfair to jump up and down and insist that if he doesn't pick a fight with the president, he doesn't really care about the First Amendment". Nevertheless, it's important for the FCC to clearly state the limits of its authority, especially since Pai has been a leading voice in ensuring that the FCC sticks to those limits.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said Tuesday that the commission doesn't have the authority to revoke broadcast networks' licenses over content.

When reviewing licenses the FCC must determine if a renewal is in the public interest.

"We learned that it was an affront to the First Amendment to have the government micromanaging how much time a particular broadcast outlet made a decision to devote to a particular topic", Pai said today.

Other members of the commission and Democrats in Congress had called on Pai to issue a rebuke to Trump's demand.

This isn't the first time Pai has had to respond to a Trump attack against journalists.

Immediately, a number of Democrats - including Pai's colleagues at the FCC, Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Mignon Clyburn - expressed their dissatisfaction with Trump's comments. It did not require people to be nice to the president, though Trump's blatantly authoritarian call to restrict the broadcast rights of his opponents was met with unseemly silence by FCC chairman Ajit Pai.

"The President's tweets were alarming in both his disregard of the FCC's independence and flagrant disrespect for the freedom of the press", Blumenthal wrote.

What prompted Trump to make the controversial statement?

The president's threat came in response to NBC reporting last week that revealed he had hoped to expand the US government's nuclear arsenal.

Trump's tweets implied that he wants a change.

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