Trump is threatening to take away licenses from television stations if they air an ad that is critical of his response to the coronavirus.
The Trump re-election campaign told TV stations they could lose their operating licenses for airing an ad criticizing the president’s actions in the coronavirus crisis — a challenge that may be more bluster than actual threat.
Failure to remove the ad “could put your station’s license in jeopardy” before the Federal Communications Commission, the campaign said in the letter. “Your station has an obligation to cease and desist from airing it immediately to comply with FCC licensing requirements.”
There are a couple of huge problems with the Trump campaign’s threat. First, the President doesn’t have the power to take licenses away from television stations. Second, the ad is free speech. It is criticism of the government that is protected by the Constitution. If Trump tried to take a license away from a broadcaster for airing the ad, the issue would go to court, Trump would lose.
It is not surprising that after years of attacks on the free press, the Trump campaign would threaten the license of any station that airs criticism of him. However, the campaign’s over the top reaction reveals that they are sensitive to the criticism of Trump’s response, and it is up to the critics of this administration to loudly and repeatedly tell the truth about how Trump made America the world leader in coronavirus.
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Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association