Prior Restraint

Criticism Escalates Over President Trump’s Threats To Revoke Network Licenses

In a rebuke to President Trump’s threats to revoke broadcast licenses, FCC Chair Ajit Pai said at telecom law event, “The FCC under my leadership will stand for the First Amendment, and under the law the FCC does not have the authority to revoke a license of a broadcast station based on content of a particular newscast.”

October 12, 2017: Late Night Talk Show Hosts Step Up First Amendment Concerns

Wednesday night, on their respective shows, both Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel continued commentary on Trump’s threats to revoke broadcast licenses.

The Week
October 11, 2017:  Senator Sasse Challenges President Trump on Upholding First Amendment

Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse asked President Trump, after his remark that it is “disgusting” that the press can “write whatever it wants,” “Are you tonight recanting of the oath you took on January 20, 2017 to preserve, protect, and defend the First Amendment?”

The Hill
October 11, 2017: The Newseum’s Gene Policinski On Whether Trump Can Retaliate Against NBC: “NEVER”

Gene Policinski, chief operating officer of the Newseum Institute and of the Institute’s First Amendment Center, weighs in on President Trump’s controversial tweet threatening to revoke NBC’s broadcast license. “There’s only one appropriate, spirit-of-freedom response to the “Trump tweet” on Wednesday asking when it’s “appropriate” for the government to punish NBC News for a story the president didn’t like: NEVER. And yes, the repetition of “appropriate” and the use of all-caps is for emphasis.”

For Policinski’s full commentary: To Trump On NBC ‘License’ Tweet: NO!

October 11, 2017: Vice Asks – Could the President Take Away a Broadcaster’s License?

Vice spoke with Mitzi Hill, the former assistant general counsel for Turner Broadcasting Company who coordinated maintenance of the company’s FCC licenses for 15 years, who said in part, “the idea that someone could take away a broadcaster’s license because they don’t like the freedom of their speech has to pass the hurdle of showing that they’ve done something objectionable under the rules of their license. It would also have to pass the hurdle of a First Amendment challenge.”

The Hill
October 11, 2017: President Says NBC License Should Be Revoked Over “Fake” Report on Nuclear Stockpiling

Twitter became the forum again for the President to express his displeasure at what he deemed to be an unflattering report on his nuclear initiatives.

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!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 11, 2017

The Wrap Politico The Hill>
July 11, 2017: Trump Begins Overhaul of National Broadcasting Landscape

Tom Wheeler details how broadcasting is being withered down with new rules: “broadcast localism, a diversity of local voices, and the congressional mandate against one company dominating local broadcasting are about to become casualties of the Trump FCC.”