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Trump threatens to revoke licence for press

  • Andrew Beatty

    Agence France-Presse

Washington, United States | Thu, October 12, 2017 | 07:46 pm
Trump threatens to revoke licence for press US President Donald Trump walks to Marine One prior to departing from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, on October 11, 2017, as he travels to Pennsylvania to talk about tax reforms. (Agence France -Presse/Saul Loeb)

US President Donald Trump tore into the press and questioned whether broadcasters should have their licenses revoked Wednesday, after an unflattering story about his nuclear policy.

"It's frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write," Trump fumed as he met his Canadian counterpart in the Oval Office "people should want to look into it."

But the president -- who has a history of being combative with the media -- said he did not want to see formal restrictions.

"No. The press should speak more honestly, I mean, I've seen tremendously dishonest press. It's not even a question of distortion."  

Trump was angered after NBC News reported he had asked to dramatically increase in America's nuclear stockpile, calling it "made up."

His secretary of defense backed him publicly.

"Recent reports that the president called for an increase in the US nuclear arsenal are absolutely false," Pentagon chief Jim Mattis said in a statement. 

"This kind of erroneous reporting is irresponsible."

The US television network reported that Trump told generals and security aides over the summer that he wanted a "nearly tenfold increase" in the US nuclear arsenal.

"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!" Trump had earlier tweeted.

The US Constitution is understood to guarantee press freedom, but television networks rely on access to broadcast frequencies granted by government agencies.   

Jessica Rosenworcel, a member of the Federal Communications Commission -- a government regulator --  shot back at Trump on Twitter, saying that is "not how it works."

"Freedom of the press is a cornerstone of our democracy. Hope my @FCC colleagues can all be on the same page with respect to 1st Amendment."

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