Speed Reads

EMPTY THREAT

Trump again threatens to look at NBC News' broadcast license

President Trump on Tuesday once again suggested NBC News' broadcast license should be revoked, this time because of the network's handling of Ronan Farrow's Harvey Weinstein exposé.

Trump alluded to recent accusations from a producer that the network tried to kill Farrow's investigation into Harvey Weinstein's sexual misconduct. Farrow ultimately published the piece at The New Yorker. NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack has sent out a memo to staff arguing that Farrow's reporting was not ready to broadcast last year, but Farrow is taking issue with this version of events, saying that the network tried to stop him from pursuing the story further.

Tuesday's tweet was not the first time Trump floated the idea of revoking NBC News' "license," having previously done so in response to reporting about his administration. Last October, after the network reported that former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had called Trump a "moron" in private, Trump asked on Twitter, "At what point is it appropriate to challenge their license?"

As CNN's Oliver Darcy and Brian Stelter explained when Trump last made a comment like this, it's essentially an empty threat. Each one of NBC's local stations receives a separate broadcast license, and it's quite rare for these to be taken away by the Federal Communications Commission — and especially not for reasons like this.