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Broadcasters Group Blasts Trump Over Threat to NBC’s License as ‘Contrary’ to First Amendment

National Association of Broadcasters strikes back in tough statement

The National Association of Broadcasters struck back Wednesday against threats by President Trump that he would consider “challenging” NBC’s FCC broadcasting license.

“The founders of our nation set as a cornerstone of our democracy the First Amendment, forever enshrining and protecting freedom of the press,” the group said in a statement provided to The Wrap. “It is contrary to this fundamental right for any government official to threaten the revocation of an FCC license simply because of a disagreement with the reporting of a journalist.”

After NBC published revelations that President Trump has expressed interest in having a tenfold increase in the U.S. nuclear stockpile, the president tweeted his displeasure toward’s the network and floated his FCC idea.

Update: After a steady stream of backlash to his prior tweets, Trump declared later Wednesday in another tweet that all network news has “become so partisan, distorted and fake that licenses must be challenged and, if appropriate, revoked. Not fair to public!”


The threat by Trump, however, is likely more bark than bite.

“To me it’s just incomprehensible that because of the content of NBC news that somehow their license would be at risk,” Alfred Sikes, who chaired the FCC from 1989 to 1993 told The Wrap. “I think if they were put up for review based on the content of there news it would literally be a firestorm and it wouldn’t exclusively be generated on the left but also generated on the right.”

Sikes also chastised the president for attempting to bully the agency on Twitter.

“I believe any president using or attempting to use the levers of government to bring into line sources of news that he doesn’t like is inappropriate,” he said.

Blasting “fake news” has become one of Trump’s most reliable calling cards on the social network. Only earlier this month, he launched a similar fusillade against NBC after they reported on Rex Tillerson allegedly calling Trump a moron.

An NBC spokesperson declined to comment.