Former president and current presidential candidate Donald Trump has renewed threats he made against the media and broadcast licenses.
As president, Trump attacked Comcast over its ownership of MSNBC (it also owns NBC TV stations licensed by the FCC), as well as CNN and many others, and has renewed those attacks on the media with renewed vigor. He said Comcast and other media outlets have committed “country-threatening treason” and pledged to investigate them if he becomes president again.
“Why should NBC or any other of the corrupt and dishonest media companies be entitled to use the very valuable airwaves of the USA, FREE?” he said in an online posting on his Truth Social platform.
Saying it was fake news, Trump in 2017 leveled the license challenge threat in a Tweet, saying: “Network news has become so partisan, distorted and fake that licenses must be challenged and, if appropriate, revoked. Not fair to public!”
That threat drew some bipartisan pushback, though the opposition was primarily from Democrats.
Another Republican President, Richard Nixon, famously targeted TV station licenses--owned by The Washington Post when the paper was reporting on something that angered him — Watergate.
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.