- The Washington Times - Friday, October 13, 2017

House Democrats have requested a hearing with all five members of the Federal Communications Commission in hopes of having them publicly disavow President Trump’s recent comments about revoking NBC’s broadcasting license.

New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Doyle, the Communications and Technology Subcommittee’s top Democrat, issued a joint statement Thursday asking the regulators to appear on Capitol Hill in the wake of Mr. Trump’s controversial remarks this week.

“Over the past few days the President has repeatedly attacked news outlets and their FCC licenses,” the congressmen said. “This threat alone may already be chilling free-speech across the country. That is why we and others have called on the FCC Chairman to immediately condemn this intimidation and promise to the American public that he will not follow through on the directions he has received from the President.

“Despite our calls, the Chairman has refused to say if he agrees with the President,” the statement said. “We therefore ask for a hearing as soon as possible with all five FCC Commissioners so that they can publicly and under oath commit that they will not threaten broadcasters or their licenses because of the content of their reporting

Mr. Trump set his sights on NBC News starting Wednesday morning after the network published an article claiming the president wanted to drastically increase the size of the nation’s 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!” Mr. Trump responded on Twitter. “Network news has become so partisan, distorted and fake that licenses must be challenged and, if appropriate, revoked. Not fair to public!”

Both Democratic members of the FCC, Jessica Rosenworcel and Mignon Clyburn, said that revoking NBC’s broadcasting license would violate the First Amendment’s free-speech protections, but neither of its Republican members, including Chairman Ajit Pai, publicly reacted to the president’s threats as of Friday afternoon.

“Every day that goes by without comment from the FCC Chairman is a continued threat to the First Amendment,” Mr. Pallone and Mr. Doyle wrote.

Mr. Pai previous dismissed the notion of revoking broadcasting licenses during a speech last month, Ars Technica reported.

All five FCC members have been invited to testify Oct. 25 during a Communications Subcommittee hearing already in the works for the last several weeks, a Republican aide told reporters Thursday.

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