President Donald Trump has slammed NBC News for its handling of Ronan Farrow’s Harvey Weinstein story and suggests that it could be grounds for taking a look at the company’s broadcast licenses.
Trump joined the chorus of critics of NBC News over its handling of Farrow’s investigative report into sexual assault allegations against now-disgraced film mogul Weinstein.
NBC News on Sunday released a lengthy memo and internal report documenting Farrow’s reporting at various stages at NBC, until Farrow in August 2017 took the story to the New Yorker. That memo from NBC News chief Andrew Lack came in response to criticism last week from Farrow’s former NBC News producer, Rich McHugh, that NBC sought to impede Farrow’s reporting.
Trump weighed in Tuesday morning, noting the scrutiny of NBC News and asserting that the company is “now fumbling around making excuses for their probably highly unethical conduct.” Trump continued: “I have long criticized NBC and their journalistic standards — worse that even CNN. Look at their license?”
The tweet appears to suggest that the FCC look at the broadcast licenses granted to NBC-owned TV stations around the country. FCC rules require, among other things, that broadcast TV license holders maintain a level of integrity to their overall operation.
Last October, Trump also suggested that NBC should lose its licenses because he branded “fake news” a report by the news division about the administration’s plans to increase the nation’s arsenal of nuclear weapons. At that time, FCC chairman Ajit Pai made it clear he had no intention of wading into a political fight.
An NBC spokeswoman declined to comment Tuesday regarding the President’s tweet. Trump’s vague threat regarding licenses recalls a similar suggestion reportedly made by President Richard Nixon during the depth of the Watergate crisis to revoke the broadcasting license for TV stations owned by the parent company of the Washington Post.