NAB's Smith Decries Government Threat Against NBC

National Association of Broadcasters president Gordon Smith has come out strongly against President Donald Trump's tweet threatening NBC, saying no government official should level threats against journalists it disagrees with.

Smith, a former Republican member of Congress, fired back in a statement in no uncertain terms.

“The founders of our nation set as a cornerstone of our democracy the First Amendment, forever enshrining and protecting freedom of the press," Smith said. "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.”

Trump, angered by an NBC News story he said was pure fiction, fake news and meant to demean him--NBC said it had three sources in the room for the President's push for boosting the nuclear arsenal--the President tweeted:

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

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) Wednesday (Oct. 11) called on FCC chair Ajit Pai to pledge not to target licenses at the President's behest. An FCC spokesman was not available for comment at press time, but Pai has told Congress that he would not act in a manner that stifles or penalizes free speech "even if requested by the Administration."

John Eggerton

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.