The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission rejected a suggestion made by President Trump last week to review TV licenses for “partisan” news networks.
“I believe in the First Amendment,” Ajit Pai, the FCC chairman, said at an event held at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, according to Politico.
“The FCC under my leadership will stand for the First Amendment, and under the law the FCC does not have the authority to revoke a license of a broadcast station based on content of a particular newscast.”
Pai did not mention Trump by name, but he was clearly referring to the Republican’s call last week to challenge licenses issued to broadcast news networks. (RELATED: Trump Suggests Revoking Licenses For ‘Partisan’ TV Networks)
“Network news has become so partisan, distorted and fake that licenses must be challenged and, if appropriate, revoked. Not fair to public!” Trump wrote in an Oct. 11 tweet.
Trump was responding to a report from NBC News that he had suggested increasing the nuclear arsenal by ten-fold. Trump vehemently denied the report, calling it “fake news.”
Pai, a Trump appointee, had not commented on the issue until Tuesday. As Pai noted, the FCC does not grant licenses to news networks. Instead, the agency regulates licenses provided to local affiliates across the U.S.