Trump Threatens Networks That Report Critical Stories of Him

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

Zuma

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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.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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