In characteristic fashion, the President has stirred up a controversy by tweeting about his favorite topic, the media. In his tweet, he made specific mention of 'NBC and the Networks' and posed a rhetorical question about challenging their licenses. As expected, this has drawn a lot of criticism from the public as well as politicians.
NBC nuclear arsenal article draws Trump's ire
It was NBC's article on Trump's desire to increases the country's nuclear arsenal that drew the caustic comments from the President. According to the report, the President looked at a briefing that showed that the nuclear arsenal in the country has been reducing since the 1960s and then, allegedly, he said that he wanted to increase it tenfold. The article also mentioned that three officials heard the President make this statement. As soon as this article hit the headlines, the President responded, quoting the news and equating NBC to another favorite enemy of his, CNN, calling them both purveyors of fake news and describing the news itself as 'fiction'.
'Moron' comment followed this meeting
The article also said that it was after this meeting during which the President wanted an increase in the nuclear arsenal that his Chief of Staffs, Rex Tillerson, called him a 'moron'. Tillerson refused to talk about the comment when reporters asked if he had indeed said that. But, as usual, President Trump tweeted that his Chief of Staff had denied calling him that and also said that this too was 'fake news' created by media.
Is it possible to revoke licenses?
The million dollar question making the rounds is whether or not the President can actually make good on his threat and revoke the license of media houses that appear to criticize him. While NBC has not made any comments on the tweet yet, Democrats have been talking about it. Senator Ed Markey has even appealed to the FCC Chairman asking him to oppose any request from the White House to carry out any such action.
Interestingly, NBC does not have a license that is issued by the government, unlike local stations. The FCC is not in any way controlled by the government either, so it might be impossible to bring any pressure to bear upon the FCC to restrict or revoke licenses. Also, in what is good news for the industry, the FC Chairman is very industry-friendly, as well.