Trump Again Calls for Scrutiny of NBC Licenses, Citing Reporting

(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump suggested regulators “look at” the broadcast license for Comcast Corp.’s NBC following an accusation that the network impeded reporting about disgraced media mogul Harvey Weinstein.

“NBC FAKE NEWS, which is under intense scrutiny over their killing the Harvey Weinstein story, is now fumbling around making excuses for their probably highly unethical conduct,” Trump said Tuesday in a tweet. “I have long criticized NBC and their journalistic standards-worse than even CNN. Look at their license?”

Trump’s tweet was the second time he has called into question NBC’s licensing, which is handled by the Federal Communications Commission. The agency grants licenses to individual television stations, rather than to networks. Comcast owns 11 NBC outlets in cities including New York and Los Angeles, according to an annual filing.

The FCC is headed by Chairman Ajit Pai, a Republican appointed by Trump. Tina Pelkey, an FCC spokeswoman, didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment. John Demming, a Comcast spokesman, declined to comment.

Last week, a former producer at NBC News accused the network’s news division of impeding the reporting of alleged sexual misconduct by Weinstein. The story was eventually published in The New Yorker. NBC News said the work wasn’t fit to broadcast.

FCC licenses for TV stations must be periodically renewed. In addition to the stations it owns, NBC also broadcasts through more than 200 stations owned by independent businesses.

Trump in October questioned whether FCC licenses should be taken after NBC published a story on Wednesday saying he had called for a bigger U.S. nuclear arsenal in a meeting with security officials. Trump said he hadn’t done so.

NBC made Trump a star by airing “The Apprentice.” And Trump hosted NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” during his presidential campaign.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.