President Donald Trump just tweeted this…
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
I remember back in 2007, Democrats were looking at legislation that would bring back the fairness doctrine and bring equality back to the airwaves. The LA Times had a big story about this plot in early 2007. By late 2007 a group of Democrat Senators had sent a letter to Clear Channel President, Mark Mays, demanding they punish Limbaugh for his “phony soldier” comment. By this point, the fear had a fever pitch. The GOP was looking to get sloshed in the 2008 election and a Democrat President controlling the FCC was quite terrifying. However, not even a month into his presidency President Obama assured everyone that he had no plans of reinstating the fairness doctrine.
Republicans remained on high alert though. Obama’s tendency to whine about Rush Limbaugh or Fox News concerned conservatives. He might say he didn’t like the Fairness Doctrine but his inability to get over the fact that some broadcasters didn’t like him made us worry. Just imagine if in 2009 President Obama had stated that Rush Limbaugh was promoting fake news and we should challenge his broadcasting license. To think about what the response would have been from conservatives is really incomprehensible. We would have waxed on about the freedom of the press, the power of the marketplace, and the greatness of our founding fathers. The idea that our response to President Trump’s tweet should be any different has me worried.
President Donald Trump is 100% wrong. He can tweet about NBC all he wants. He can condemn their reporting all day long. However, the minute he threatens to use the government to take away their broadcasting power is the moment where all Americans should perk up and say no. As Voltaire’s famous quote says, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”