Trump Threatens Networks That Report Critical Stories of Him

He’s still pretty upset over the “moron” story.

Zuma

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday floated the idea of targeting the licenses of TV networks that report “fake news” about him. His tweet came just hours after NBC reported that the president wanted to dramatically increase the United States’ nuclear arsenal—a suggestion that reportedly alarmed Pentagon officials and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. 

The story, which Trump took to Twitter to refute as “pure fiction” on Wednesday, added context to an earlier NBC report alleging Tillerson called Trump a “moron” in response to Trump’s nuclear proposal.

Trump’s threat to use the federal government to shut down critical media follows his recent suggestion of creating “equal time” for conservatives to level the playing the field against late-night TV hosts who mock him. It’s unclear how Trump’s suggestion would work, as only television stations are subject to FCC licensing, not the networks.

Following the initial “moron” report, Tillerson staged an unprecedented news conference last week to express his support for the president. He would neither confirm or deny, however, whether he called Trump a “moron.” In an interview days later, Trump challenged Tillerson to an IQ test.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest