Trump Takes on NBC, Threatens to ‘Challenge Their License’

Is the president planning to attack NBC's broadcasting rights?

Donald Trump NBC License Threat
Donald Trump continues to go after the media. MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

“Fake News” may be get a bit more official if President Donald Trump has anything to say about it. On Wednesday morning, the president described an NBC News report about his nuclear policies as “pure fiction” and threatened to “challenge their license.”

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Many took Trump’s tweet to be a reference to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) license that enables broadcasters such as NBC to utilize public airwaves to deliver programming (networks that deliver content over cable are not subjected to government control). It is unlikely that Trump has any reasonable legal recourse to challenge NBC’s broadcasting license at this time.

NBC News originally reported that Trump had inquired about increasing the United State’s arsenal of nuclear weapons by tenfold at a meeting this past summer with the nation’s highest-ranking national security leaders.

Per the report:

“Trump’s comments, the officials said, came in response to a briefing slide he was shown that charted the steady reduction of U.S. nuclear weapons since the late 1960s. Trump indicated he wanted a bigger stockpile, not the bottom position on that downward-sloping curve.

According to the officials present, Trump’s advisers, among them the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, were surprised. Officials briefly explained the legal and practical impediments to a nuclear buildup and how the current military posture is stronger than it was at the height of the buildup. In interviews, they told NBC News that no such expansion is planned.”

Trump says the report is “pure fiction.”

NBC further reported that Trump’s comments caught many in the meeting by surprise.

For what it’s worth, this isn’t the first time the president has gone after the peacock network. Recently, NBC broke a story that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson may have called Trump a “moron,” which the State Department and the president refute. At the time, Trump once again took to Twitter to slam the network.

Trump’s recent outbursts aimed at the NFL have drawn criticism from many in pro sports and even in the music industry, with Hip Hop star Eminem targeting the president in a recent freestyle rap at the BET Hip Hop Awards.

Trump Takes on NBC, Threatens to ‘Challenge Their License’