President Trump has threatened to retaliate against NBC, following NBC’s report that Trump is seeking a tenfold increase in the United States’ nuclear weapons arsenal. On Wednesday, Trump 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!” The federal government licenses television airwaves through the FCC. Trump went on to tweet, “Network news has become so partisan, distorted and fake that licenses must be challenged and, if appropriate, revoked. Not fair to public!” The threats drew immediate concerns Trump is undermining the First Amendment. This is constitutional lawyer Floyd Abrams.
Floyd Abrams: “The idea of any president saying that broadcast licenses ought to be at risk because he disapproves of their news coverage raises a really dangerous First Amendment issue. This is unadulterated Richard Nixon. This is precisely the sort of thing that the Nixon administration did, threatening broadcasters with antitrust actions, threatening them with taking their license away, all to get better coverage. And it’s the most direct sort of threat to the First Amendment that President Trump has made since he was sworn in.”