FCC Commissioner Challenges Trump's 'Fake News' Challenge: 'Not How It Works'


After a succession of tweets making not-so-veiled threats to “challenge” the broadcast licenses of TV news organizations, one of the Federal Communications Commission’s commissioners schooled President Donald J. Trump that is “not how it works.”

In a tweet from her @JRosenworcel account, FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel instructed the President to go to a link hosting a 33-page document explaining how the commission works, including its regulatory authority and how it reviews broadcasting licenses.

“Freedom of the press is a cornerstone of our democracy,” she added in a subsequent tweet. “I hope my @FCC colleagues can all be on the same page with respect to the 1st Amendment.”

No tweets or statements were issued by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, a Trump appointee.

Rosenworcel’s followed @realDonaldTrump’s tweets first questioning a review of NBC’s broadcast licenses, and then another doubling down and suggesting a challenge of all broadcast news networks that he doesn’t agree with:

“Network news has become so partisan, distorted and fake that licenses must be challenged and, if appropriate, revoked. Not fair to public!”

Early Thursday morning, @realDonaldTrump added yet another tweet: “The Fake News Is going all out in order to demean and denigrate! Such hatred!”

Trump is not the first POTUS to try and challenge the FCC broadcast station licenses of media companies with news organizations whose reporting he didn’t agree with. During its coverage of the Watergate scandal, President Richard Nixon tried to do the same with the Washington Post Co.

7 comments about "FCC Commissioner Challenges Trump's 'Fake News' Challenge: 'Not How It Works'".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, October 12, 2017 at 11:21 a.m.

    It never ceases to amaze me that people take Trump seriously when he tweaks the media. They fall for it every time. He's crazy like a fox. 

  2. Fern Siegel from MediaPost, October 12, 2017 at 11:57 a.m.

    A threat to challenge broadcast licenses is not "tweaking the media." It's a fundamental disregard for the First Amendment and respect for core American values. Denigrating a free press, a hallmark of democracy, isn't crazy like a fox. It's just crazy. And it demeans the office of the presidency. 

  3. Neil Ascher from The Midas Exchange replied, October 12, 2017 at 12:21 p.m.

    Thank you Fern.  Exactly right.

  4. David Reich from Reich Communications, Inc., October 12, 2017 at 12:38 p.m.

    I agree 110% Fern.

    @Doug:  His "tweaking the media" isn't playing us.  He is playing to his base and reinforcing the fake news BS.  We can't ignore his tweets, since as president his words do matter.

  5. Stan Valinski from Multi-Media Solutions Group, October 12, 2017 at 12:41 p.m.

    If there were ever a true examination on fake news all of trump's buddies would be the first to go. Alex Jones, Steve Bannon and all the PIzzagate type perpetrators would be defenseless.It might be great to see the obvious BS exposed. trump is Nixon...with much less class and intelligence.

  6. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, October 12, 2017 at 1:26 p.m.

    1. Anyone thinks he would read the 33 page document ? 2. Pai is acting like a coward. 3. Influence spreads outside the country into the bowels of those fighting any form of a democratic rule - see the US president and the country bombing us doesn't believe in freedom either. 4. Feeds the deplorable base. 5. The self proclaimed Stalinist, Bannon, is only a phone call away. It's a collection.

  7. Joe Mandese from MediaPost, October 12, 2017 at 1:44 p.m.

    In defense of Douglas Ferguson (I know, weird, huh!), I think he's right that this is largely about baiting the media (including social media), and it works every time. On another level, I think it is a genuine threat and @realDonaldTrump represents a clear and present danger to the First Amendment. It's not just brow-beating or threatening the licenses of broadcasters, but intimidating and threatening a sports league over players exercising their First Amendment right. Hard to say if Trump really is a totalitarian, but he sure is acting like one.

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