Everyone is used to President Trump criticizing what he calls fake news. He invented the term during the campaign and as a man who knows how to make names stick for people and things he doesn’t like, it shouldn’t be a surprise.
But the president’s latest comment about fake news, sent out in a tweet this week, has surprised some, and worried others.
In his tweet he said 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!
It didn’t take long for news organizations to fire back. Professional journalism organizations all issued statements critical of the President’s suggestion that he might want to look at the broadcast licenses of news organizations that he says do what he says is fake news.
But you can’t deny broadcast licenses to a news organization because they don’t have them. Broadcast licenses are held by broadcast stations that carry news generated by their own staffs or from various news networks and providers.
And as the SD UT points out this week, that while the FCC has the power to potentially punish individual stations that intentionally broadcast “hoaxes” or “news distortions” that cause substantial public harm, the bar is pretty high,
So most people, and even many of his detractors, will take the President’s tweet as just one of the comments he makes to get something off this chest. Many of his supporters say what he says is not as important as what he does.
But when the president of the United States even starts talking about even the suggestion that news organizations should be shut down because they put out to the American people what he calls fake news, it makes some of us in the news business a little nervous.
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