FCC Boss Pushes Back Against Trump’s Call To Punish Broadcast Networks

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Calling their news “partisan, distorted and fake,” President Trump has suggested some broadcast networks should be taken off the air. The administration’s point man on communications policy is now weighing in.

“I believe in the First Amendment. The FCC, under my leadership, will stand for the First Amendment,” said Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai.

Pai says the government does not have the authority to revoke a broadcast station’s license.

“…based on the content of a particular newscast,” Pai said.

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Anyway, networks don’t have licenses; individual stations do and are up for renewal every eight years.

Pai didn’t mention the president by name in the discussion hosted by George Mason University’s Mercatus Center, but he was asked whether his commission has a role in policing news content and deciding what’s “fake.”

“Traditionally that has not been within the FCC’s jurisdiction,” he said.

Pai noted the Fairness Doctrine — the long-retired rule mandating broadcasters present more than one side to controversial issues — was an “affront” to First Amendment, not to mention an administrative nightmare.

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