Poll: Republicans Back Power to Pull News Media 'Licenses'

According to a new Morning Consult/Politico Poll, 46% of respondents said they thought the news media fabricated stories about President Donald Trump or his administration, compared with 37% who said they did not.

A majority (51%) said the government should not have the power to revoke broadcast licenses of major news organizations, versus 28% who said yes (the rest had no opinion). But more Republicans think it should (46%) than should not (33%).

The online poll was conducted Oct. 12-16 among 1,991 registered voters. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

Currently the FCC can't revoke a license of a news organization because they aren't licensed by the government. It can pull the licenses of TV stations owned by companies that also own news outlets, which is what appears to have many Hill Democrats worried.

The poll question refers to President Trump's tweets in response to an NBC News story he said was "fake news." The President said media outlet licenses should be challenged and, if need be, revoked.

That drew a host of critics among Hill Democrats and news organizations, though relative silence from Republicans.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said this week that the commission does not have the power to pull licenses over news content.

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.