President Trump renewed his feud with the mainstream media Wednesday, going so far as to suggest that it may be time to revoke some outlets' licenses.
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 was seemingly reacting to a new NBC report that suggested he wanted to increase the U.S.'s nuclear arsenal tenfold.
The outrage against the president's tweet was swift, with more than one person condemning Trump for threatening the media's First Amendment rights.
The president is directly challenging the first amendment here. This should be a no brainer that this is NOT OK!!— Jeremy Travaglini (@JeremyTrav22) October 11, 2017
CNN's Brian Stelter even felt compelled to write a lengthy, researched reaction to the president's threat. In the piece, cowritten by Oliver Darcy, the journalists explain why Trump's threat is "toothless."
First of all, there is no single license for NBC or any other national television network. Licenses are granted to individual local stations -- and NBC doesn't even own most of the stations that broadcast its content across the country. And it is extremely unusual for any station's license to be taken away for any reason, much less for a political vendetta.
The licenses for local television stations are subject to review by the Federal Communications Commission every eight years.
It would not be possible for Trump or his allies to challenge all of the licenses held by NBC in one fell swoop. Individuals who reside in the areas the local channel airs would have to submit complaints to the FCC.
Stelter adds that one of President Nixon's allies also tried to strip the license of a Washington Post affiliate in the 1970s - and failed.
The FCC, Stelter explains, is "not subject to the president's orders."