Trump’s threats against NBC aren’t empty — look at the damage done by Nixon

Donald Trump; Richard Nixon

Donald Trump; Richard Nixon (Credit: AP/Matt Rourke/Ron Edmonds/Photo Montage by Salon)

In another of his famous Twitter fits of rage, President Donald Trump on Wednesday went after NBC News for allegedly fabricating a report that he wanted a “tenfold” increase in the nation’s nuclear arsenal.

“Pure fiction, made up to demean. NBC=CNN!” Trump wrote.

He struck a more serious tone in a message sent 10 minutes later in which he seemed to threaten the broadcast network with intervention from the Federal Communications Commission:

“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!” he wrote.

The tweets predictably provoked much outrage even as some Trump defenders insisted that they should not be taken literally, in part because only NBC’s local affiliates are licensed by the FCC.

Gordon Smith, president of the National Association of Broadcasters, denounced the threat in a statement to the Los Angeles Times.

“The founders of our nation set as a cornerstone of our democracy the 1st Amendment, forever enshrining and protecting freedom of the press,” said Smith, a former Republican senator from Oregon. “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.”

Longtime Trump fan and former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly tweeted Thursday in what seemed a veiled statement of support.

“The President will not be able to impact licenses, but he is doing major damage to the NBC brand,” he wrote.

While Trump does seem to enjoy popping off in rage, his threat against NBC should be considered more than just an idle one for two reasons: 1) Trump almost always previews his strategies via speeches or …read more


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