This week President Trump, the country's thin-skinned media critic in chief, took his "fake news" bashing to an outrageous and ominous new level. "Network news has become so partisan, distorted, and fake that licenses must be challenged and, if appropriate, revoked", he tweeted. Trump, speaking hours after he tweeted about challenging the licenses of "NBC and the networks" for producing "fake news", said he was calling for more honesty, not limits on the media, but he later doubled down on his threat to challenge licenses, Bloomberg reports. Trump, Tillerson, and other administration figures reported to have been present at the meeting have refuted the allegation over a dozen times. News later followed up with a report that Tillerson called Trump a "moron" following a meeting at which Trump said he wanted to significantly build up the US nuclear arsenal.
Democratic Senator Ed Markey wrote to Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai on Wednesday, urging him to resist requests from the President to revoke licences because of coverage.
As he careens down a warpath, Trump, with his attack on National Football League player protests and the press, has so far only hit foundation blocks of our democracy- a free press and free speech, enshrined in the First Amendment.
"Any insinuation that elected officials could use the levers of government to control or censor the news media would represent a startling degradation of the freedom of press". Licenses are issued to individual stations, not networks per se.
Mr Trump's comments came just one day after an American reporter was sentenced to prison in a Turkish court, where she was convicted of terrorist propaganda charges.