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11 Oct, 2017 18:15

Trump threatens 'fake news' networks with licence removal over 'made-up' NBC report on nuclear arms

Trump threatens 'fake news' networks with licence removal over 'made-up' NBC report on nuclear arms

President Donald Trump has tweeted that all network news stations should have their licenses challenged, and possibly revoked, due to “fake” and “partisan” coverage. He also blasted a report released by NBC, saying that it is not true.

Trump's tweet about challenging all the networks, was released late on Wednesday. Earlier in the day, the president said that NBC News “made up” a report which, citing three unnamed officials, said Trump wanted to dramatically increase the stockpile of US nuclear weapons.

Trump called the details in the story “pure fiction,” and suggested that NBC News deserves to have its license pulled after a series of reports that were challenged as false.

“Fake @NBCNews made up a story that I wanted a ‘tenfold’ increase in our U.S. nuclear arsenal. Pure fiction, made up to demean. NBC = CNN!” he wrote on Twitter.

“With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License?” he added.

“It’s frankly disgusting, the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write,” Trump said Wednesday afternoon, after meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Washington.

“The press should speak more honestly,” he added. “They make up the sources. There are no sources.”

NBC's report about the nuclear arsenal was "absolutely false," Defense Secretary James Mattis said in a statement on Wednesday, adding, "This kind of erroneous reporting is irresponsible."

Last week NBC reported that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson supposedly called Trump a “moron” and threatened to resign, only to be talked out of it by Vice President Mike Pence. That story also cited three unnamed officials.

Tillerson told reporters he had “never considered leaving” his post and described the story as “petty nonsense.” The vice president likewise denied the claims in the NBC story.

“At no time did he and the secretary ever discuss the prospect of the secretary’s resignation from the administration. Any reporting to the contrary is categorically false,” said Jarrod Agen, Pence’s spokesman.

Trump has long complained about major US media outlets trying to undermine him during and after the election. He labeled a number of them, including the Washington Post, the New York Times and CNN, “fake news.”

“Why Isn’t the Senate Intel Committee looking into the Fake News Networks in OUR country to see why so much of our news is just made up-FAKE!” Trump tweeted last Thursday, the day after the Senate Intelligence Committee updated reporters about its months-long investigation into Russia’s alleged interference in the US election.

Some news outlets will be left “with egg on their face” over their reporting on the Russia investigation, committee chairman Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) told CNN when asked about Trump’s statement.

Following Trump’s tweets, Senator Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska) reminded the president of the First Amendment in a tweet of his own, sent out on Wednesday night.

Senator Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) took to Twitter on Wednesday evening to lampoon Trump’s threats against the network news channels.