Read the First Amendment, Trump: Press Can Criticize You

One might think that with all of the bad press Donald Trump has received throughout his foray into politics, he’d have developed a thicker skin for criticism by now. Unfortunately, one would be incorrect.

This morning, Trump tweeted, “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!”

It’s hard to miss the threat contained in that post: Trump does not like the unfavorable coverage of him and he’s suggesting he might try to shut down their ability to report because of this coverage.

Sign this Care2 petition: Respect the Free Press, President Trump

It may be time for Trump to familiarize himself with the Constitution considering that his threat flies in the face of the First Amendment. The freedom of the press is supreme, and to suggest that a news outlet shouldn’t be able to report bad things about him is not only an attack on NBC, but all of democracy.

The story to which Trump objects is a new report by NBC which says the reason Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was quoted as calling Trump a “moron” is because the president had just said he wanted the U.S. to stockpile almost ten times the nuclear weapons it currently possesses.

NBC says it confirmed its report with three high-ranking White House officials who were present in the room during this meeting. Thankfully, the sources say that advisors immediately shut down Trump’s idea, but it still prompted Tillerson to utter “moron” at the conclusion of the meeting.

Although none of the sources have been willing to publicly identify themselves, it’s worth noting that Tillerson was careful not to deny calling Trump a moron when the story first broke.

Since the initial blowback to his anti-free press tweet, Trump has only doubled down on his rhetoric. Hours later, he called NBC’s story “fake news” and told reporters, “It is frankly disgusting the press is able to write whatever it wants to write.”

Mind you, this condemnation comes from a man who routinely and recklessly tweets offensive messages from his position in the West Wing. Even if NBC’s story were false, it wouldn’t compare to the 1,318 false or misleading claims Trump has made since taking office. (The Washington Post has been keeping a count.)

If Trump’s objections were really about the factual nature of the NBC report, why has he been indifferent to other false stories that have spread like #Pizzagate and the DNC murder story (that Trump knew about before it was published)? He only gets riled up when the news is critical of him.

It might be easier to overlook this incident if Trump didn’t have a long history of attacking the press. Between instructing his supporters to jeer reporters at his rallies, labeling the media “the enemy,” and forbidding journalists from recording the White House press briefings, concerns about Trump’s latest outburst seem legitimate given the larger context.

Due to Trump, this country is not stable. Should we really have to defend a bedrock institution like the press while we have to simultaneously worry about the news that our president wants to increase our weapons collection not long after playfully alluding to engaging in nuclear war?

The good news is that Trump doesn’t actually have the authority to pull NBC’s license, but that doesn’t make his threat any less scary. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a president that we didn’t have to remind about the Constitution on a regular basis? Sign this petition reminding the president to respect a free press.

57 comments

Lesa D
Lesa D5 days ago

i don't believe trump can read & if he can i KNOW he cannot comprehend...
petition signed October 19, 2017

thank you, Kevin...

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Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill11 days ago

No one criticized Obama when he complained about Fox News. Why was it ok for him, but not Trump? Hypocrites!

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Mike R
Mike R1 months ago

Thanks

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Mike R
Mike R1 months ago

Thanks

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Brian F
Brian F1 months ago

CNN and MSNBC like Fox news are corporate owned and tell lies all the time. No one is defending this fraud Trump, but he is right to call CNN, and MSNBC, who unfairly favored Hillary over Bernie Sanders, fake news. Rachel Maddow and Joy Reed on MSNBC only keep their $30,000 a day jobs by bashing Republicans, and defending corrupt corporate Democrats like Pelosi who refuses to support single payer universal healthcare, by towing the corporate line, and obeying their corporate masters at MSNBC. Ed Shultz and Cenk Uygur were fired from MSNBC for telling the truth about Obama's support of the horrible TPP trade deal, so only a moron, would defend MSNBC, and say it is not fake news.

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Rhoberta E
Rhoberta E1 months ago

david f
So you like a news source until you don't like it anymore !!!
You obviously haven't the intelligence to sort out truth from fiction or as in trump's case his outright lies. I hope you're watching as many news sources as possible tonight to see the media trash his self righteous comments today. it was "TREMENDOUS".. (I lost count on how many times he said that) patting himself on the back while trashing most other presidents. It was like the typical bully that blames everyone else for his faults, stupidity and lies. The bits about the slain US soldiers was my favourite watching him squirm because he obviously HADN'T responded weeks later.

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David F
David F1 months ago

Rhoberta, Fox has way too many liberals trying to explain their fallacy.
One America News Network doesn't try to be politically correct and have liberal idiots wasting everyone's time.

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Rhoberta E
Rhoberta E1 months ago

david f
I notice you didn't say "full time republican party campaign" . You know, much like FOX everything and trump's buddy Hannity. The difference there is that the lies on fox are perpetuated and repeated BY trump.
Poor david ( I almost forgot your "go to" site full of lies and alt facts, prageru)

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David F
David F1 months ago

Julie, The FCC laws are complex, when a Corporation that consumes a considerable volume public bandwidth becomes a full time Democrat party campaign channel, then the type of license they hold could be affected.
Their streaming of lies is not the issue.

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Julie W
Julie W1 months ago

David F, "This morning, Trump tweeted, “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!”
It's there in black and white, so how is this fake news? That catch cry is getting really tedious!

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