FCC Republican says Trump is "rightfully venting" anger at the press
Oct 18, 2017, 00:26
Pai, appearing at an event sponsored by the Mercatus Center of George Mason University, did not directly address Trump but said that the "FCC under my leadership will stand for the First Amendment".
The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday said the federal agency doesn't have the authority to revoke a network's license over content following President Trump's suggestion that NBC's broadcast license should be challenged over a report he called "Fake News." Pai, in his low-key, matter-of-fact manner, is commendably willing to say so, apparently as many times as it takes.
Pai also discussed the FCC's history with the Fairness Doctrine, which was eliminated in 1987.
That proposal, like Trump's assertion that "licenses must be challenged and, if appropriate, revoked" in response to "partisan, distorted and fake" news coverage, is obviously anathema to the First Amendment.
Others on the left have joined Schatz's criticism of Pai's statement.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal said on Monday that he will release a letter that calls on each member of the Federal Communications Commission to provide a personal commitment to uphold freedom of speech. In fact, Pai didn't mention the president by name at all. Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz, a Democrat, said in a statement that Pai's comments were better than nothing, but he would have preferred a "a full-throated defense of the independence of the FCC against political interference". "When the president announced his intent to retaliate against a broadcaster based on content, the FCC should have rejected it".
"If he gets in the habit of responding to all of Trump's tweets.as we all know, that can become kind of an all-consuming process", Thune told Politico.
"I think that the president is rightfully venting his experiences and disappointment with how the coverage has been occurring regarding his administration".
Despite Trump's ostensible attempt to make a case that the license of the national news organization for NBC should be revoked, the FCC would have to deal with each locally operated station on a case-by-case basis.
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