President Donald Trump has been leading the charge against the duplicitous and dangerous practices of America’s news media. This week, one major broadcaster entered into the president’s crosshairs.
So far, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been silent on the issue, but President Trump has flouted the idea of denying broadcasting licenses to “partisan” news outlets like NBC, which tried to cover up the Harvey Weinstein scandal when the story first came to their attention, according to The Daily Caller.
In a series of tweets, President Trump pushed for the idea of using the power of “No” to inspire good journalistic practices in America.
“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!” Trump tweeted.
One Democratic commissioner responded to Trump’s tweet by suggesting that NBC‘s behavior does not meet the criteria under the FCC’s “News Distortion” regulations.
Whether or not NBC is guilty of violating federal regulations, many journalists have been quick to criticize the company for their shoddy handling of the Weinstein story.
Brett Skorup, a research fellow at the Mercatus Center, used his Twitter account to highlight the political bias of the FCC. Namely, Skorup goes through recent history to show how Democrats and the mainstream media have been protected.
“Recall, we’re here because the media access left tirelessly defends Red Lion v. FCC and FCC regulation of broadcast at every turn,” Skorup wrote.
This court cause from 1969 essentially laid out support for the “Fairness Doctrine,” which mandated that all viewpoints on an issue receive some airtime. This rule was effectively nulled in 1987, and was officially removed in 2011.
Skorup’s tweets were meant to expose how the Left keeps changing its mind on the issue of media fairness.
“In 2004, newspapers, like NYT, said that a documentary critical of John Kerry warranted FCC scrutiny of TV licenses,” he tweeted.
The makers of this slightly critical documentary eventually caved to media pressure, and the documentary was trimmed from forty minutes to four.
Overall, Skorup believes that the “news distortion” protocol officially supported by the FCC goes against the First Amendment.
In an op-ed he penned with fellow researcher Melody Calkins, Skorup wrote, “Slanted’ and distorted news can be found in (unregulated) cable news, newspapers, Twitter, and YouTube. The news distortion rule should be repealed and broadcasters should have regulatory parity (and their full First Amendment rights) restored.”
Democratic lawmakers have jumped into the fray, but their invocation of the First Amendment is mostly to hammer President Trump for overstepping his power.
President Trump has floated the idea of denying broadcasting licenses to “partisan” news outlets like NBC. Should we regulate “media fairness”?
“Over the past few days the President has repeatedly attacked news outlets and their FCC licenses. This threat alone may already be chilling free-speech across the country,” Democrats Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Mike Doyle (D-PA) said in a statement.
“That is why we and others have called on the FCC Chairman to immediately condemn this intimidation and promise to the American public that he will not follow through on the directions he has received from the President.”
It seems like President Trump’s attempts to tackle media bias will not go without a major fight.