Trump Threatens Networks That Report Critical Stories of Him

He’s still pretty upset over the “moron” story.

Zuma

President Donald Trump on Wednesday floated the idea of targeting the licenses of TV networks that report “fake news” about him. His tweet came just hours after NBC reported that the president wanted to dramatically increase the United States’ nuclear arsenal—a suggestion that reportedly alarmed Pentagon officials and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. 

The story, which Trump took to Twitter to refute as “pure fiction” on Wednesday, added context to an earlier NBC report alleging Tillerson called Trump a “moron” in response to Trump’s nuclear proposal.

Trump’s threat to use the federal government to shut down critical media follows his recent suggestion of creating “equal time” for conservatives to level the playing the field against late-night TV hosts who mock him. It’s unclear how Trump’s suggestion would work, as only television stations are subject to FCC licensing, not the networks.

Following the initial “moron” report, Tillerson staged an unprecedented news conference last week to express his support for the president. He would neither confirm or deny, however, whether he called Trump a “moron.” In an interview days later, Trump challenged Tillerson to an IQ test.

OUR NEW CORRUPTION PROJECT

The more we thought about how MoJo's journalism can have the most impact heading into the 2020 election, the more we realized that so many of today's stories come down to corruption: democracy and the rule of law being undermined by the wealthy and powerful for their own gain.

So we're launching a new Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption. We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We'll publish what we find as a major series in the summer of 2020, including a special issue of our magazine, a dedicated online portal, and video and podcast series so it doesn't get lost in the daily deluge of breaking news.

It's unlike anything we've done before and we've got seed funding to get started, but we're asking readers to help crowdfund this new beat with an additional $500,000 so we can go even bigger. You can read why we're taking this approach and what we want to accomplish in "Corruption Isn't Just Another Scandal. It's the Rot Beneath All of Them," and if you like how it sounds, please help fund it with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate