President Donald Trump took to Twitter to level his most damning criticism of NBC--that it was like CNN, his favorite target--but upped the ante with the suggestion someone should challenge the broadcast network's "license." He repeated the threat later in the day during a press conference with the canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau.
Related: NAB Decries Government Threat Against NBC
Networks are not licensed by the FCC, though NBC's owned TV stations are. FCC chair Ajit Pai has pledged to Congress that he would not act in a manner that stifles or penalizes free speech "even if requested by the administration."
Related: Sen. Markey Wants Pai to Pledge No NBC License Action
After tweeting that an NBC News story asserting the president wanted to increase the nation's nuclear arsenal tenfold was "fake news" made up to demean him, Trump equated the network with CNN, literally, tweeting "NBC=CNN." Then followed it up with a threat.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 11, 2017
The president called the NBC story "pure fiction." NBC said the story was based on three officials in the room, though the officials were not identified.
At a press conference with the Canadian prime minister Wednesday, the President was asked about the NBC story and said he never discussed increasing the nuclear arsenal by a factor of 10, again calling it fake news and saying NBC reports a lot of fake news.
He also reiterated his threat. "It is disgusting the way the press can write whatever they want to write. People should look into it. The press should speak more honestly." He said the story was just made up, with sources that don't exist. He said they had made up their sources. "They don't exist."
Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel had a four-word response to the President's tweet:
— Jessica Rosenworcel (@JRosenworcel) October 11, 2017