Trump threatens to shut down NBC, others, over unfavorable-coverage
President Donald Trump questioned whether media licenses for NBC News and other networks should be challenged after they reported the unfavorable news. Trump targeted NBC, the network that made him famous for 'The Apprentice', for reporting he wanted a ten-fold increase in the US' nuclear arsenal. Trump called the report "fake news" and "pure fiction." Trump's statement is seen as an attack on press freedom.
In July, Trump reportedly told a high-level meeting at the Pentagon that he wanted to dramatically boost America's nuclear weapon stockpile. Citing three officials in the room, NBC recently reported that Trump's request surprised several officials, including the military Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. The Arms Control Association estimates the US has 7,100 nuclear weapons while Russia has 7,300.
On October 11, following the NBC report, 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!" Later, he said: "It is frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write, and people should look into it."
Following the NBC report, Trump was asked if he wanted to increase the US nuclear arsenal. Trump responded by saying he wants a "nuclear force" that is modernized. "But when they said I want 10 times what we have right now, it's totally unnecessary, believe me," he said. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis called the NBC report "absolutely false" and "irresponsible."
US broadcasters are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which issues licenses to local stations, not networks in their entirety. NBC operates nearly 30 local stations. The FCC, an independent body, isn't required to take orders from the White House. Meanwhile, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Trump's statement "emboldens other govt's to embrace authoritarian tendencies."