MENU

Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

FCC Chair Preemptively Rubbishes Trump’s Dumb Tweet About Challenging Media Licenses (UPDATED)

"Setting aside the fact that the FCC doesn’t license cable channels," Ajit Pai said last month, "these demands are fundamentally at odds with our legal and cultural traditions."

Is it a day ending in the letter "y"? Then yes, President Donald Trump has said something flippantly authoritarian, made a wholly empty threat, and blasted the media, all before lunch. Helpfully, he accomplished this all with just one tweet:

Ajit Pai ||| ReasonReasonThe president is correct, if unintentionally so, that challenging a media company's license out of frustration over its allegedly inaccurate coverage is "Bad for country!" As he would know well, if he paid attention to his own Federal Communications Commission Chair, Ajit Pai, who in a speech last month (as covered by Variety) sounded the warning that "free speech in practice seems to be under siege in this country":

Pai added that the "common thread is the belief, shared by too many, that those with views perceived as unpopular or offensive should be silenced. One has to wonder whether those who will one day carry the torch will be dedicated to open debate or will instead seek to marginalize viewpoints they don't like."

Pai said that he also sees "worrying signs" at the FCC, pointing to Twitter messages in which "people regularly demand that the FCC yank licenses from cable news channels like Fox News, MSNBC, or CNN because they disagree with the opinions expressed on those networks."

"Setting aside the fact that the FCC doesn't license cable channels, these demands are fundamentally at odds with our legal and cultural traditions," Pai said.

(Check out Reason's April interview with Pai, which is embedded at the bottom of this post.)

CNN's Oliver Darcy and Brian Stelter do a good job of explaining why Trump's trial-balloon threat is "essentially toothless," not least because "there is no single license for NBC or any other national television network." Trevor Timm, executive director of the Freedom of Press Foundation, counters in a Twitter thread that "There's an argument that Trump's new threats against NBC & the NFL have crossed the line into an actual First Amendment violation." As always, keep refreshing Popehat.

Working through my own "5-Step Process for Playing Defense Against Trump's Bad Ideas," part of which emanated from his nonsense-talk as president-elect about criminalizing flag-burning, I quickly conclude that 1) Trump can't really do anything about this specific issue right now (not least because his FCC commish would raise a stink). 2) Congress ain't gonna do jack about this or any related issue, either. 3) There are many constitutional/institutional restraints to Trump acting on his many garbage ideas about the media (on which more below). 4) It's possible that his behavior will create a backlash that reverses the seeming erosion in public support for the First Amendment (see, for example, the recent increase in public trust of the media, and yes, yes, "the media" does not equal the First Amendment, but I'm talking about backlashes). But! 5) How might he be changing the political conversation in such a way to make what is currently unlikely possible? That's where this latest belch might linger.

Let's just posit that this is a stupid and awful thing for any American president to say:

Press freedoms (including to the freedom to write mean-spirited things about politicians without being rung up for sedition) are not "disgusting"; they are part of what Made America Great In the First Place (#MAGIFP). But by stomping up and down on the right's preexisting anti-media button, Trump is helping to smoke out a fundamental incoherence among his base. Namely, that many red-hatters imagine themselves as fighting the real battle for free speech against an increasingly censorious, monolithically leftist, three-headed media/entertainment/academia monster. And their hero is so narcissistically combative, historically incurious, and blasé about government overreach that he's actually talking about bringing back the fucking Fairness Doctrine.

The #NeverTrump Republican political consultant Rick Wilson is fond of saying that Trump ends up ruining everything he touches. That's more sour than my take—after all, Trump has decisively touched his own regulatory state, with such salutary picks such as Ajit Pai. But I think we may soon conclude that just when conservatives were inching tantalizingly close to the free-speech high road, their hero led them down a Culture War highway to hell.

Nick Gillespie's interview with Mr. FCC:

UPDATE: The president of the United States tweets again:

Photo Credit: Reason

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    "Setting aside the fact that the FCC doesn't license cable channels, these demands are fundamentally at odds with our legal and cultural traditions," Pai said.

    Welcome to 21st Century America.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    Pai said that he also sees "worrying signs" at the FCC, pointing to Twitter messages in which "people regularly demand that the FCC yank licenses from cable news channels like Fox News, MSNBC, or CNN because they disagree with the opinions expressed on those networks."

    Opinions. He's not talking about objectively false propaganda.

  • JuanQPublic||

    Propaganda and hate speech are covered by the 1st amendment.

  • retiredfire||

    If they were, there would be no slander or libel laws.
    There are.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    And they are violations of the 1st Amendment. Just as the NFA is a violation of the 2nd and Jeff Sessions' continued existence is a violation of the 4th.

  • Juice||

    Trump's stupid tweet was about the old FCC-regulated networks though.

  • Juice||

    *er, licensed (not regulated, they regulate all TV, IINM)

  • SIV||

    Welch is a pants-shitting moron.

  • Juice||

    Ajit Pai is the one who mentioned cable.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    SIV was shitting his pants - again.

  • MarkLastname||

    In his defense, that's only because SIV doesn't own a toilet.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    And Welch is the one who presented Ajit Pai's statement about cable as "rubbishing" a Trump statement that had nothing to do with cable.

  • Don't look at me.||

    I'm shocked, just shocked that the FCC passed up a perfectly good licensing opportunities. No wonder people complain about inefficient government.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    There's a difference between expressing opinions and broadcasting falsehoods presented as fact. The latter is a perfectly good reason to yank broadcast licenses. They are supposed to serve the community.

    There is no constitutional right to have a broadcast license. Plenty of other people and organizations would love to have broadcast licenses but are blocked by the corporate TV dinosaurs.

  • Bubba Jones||

    Fuck off, slaver

  • Chuckles_the_Snarky_Piggy||

    I concur.

    "broadcasting falsehoods presented as fact."

    -Pretty much the definition of "fiction", which is the only thing I would even watch on network TV.

    "They are supposed to serve the community."

    -Pretty much the definition of slavery.

    Just because you are too stupid to identify fiction, does not mean it should be banned. Hint: there was no zombie apocalypse in Georgia and DC.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    But you are apparently too stupid to distinguish between news broadcasts and post-shark-jump serial dramas.

  • DavidS-T||

    And of course you can always trust the government to determine what are " falsehoods presented as fact," right?

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    We do kind of depend on the courts to do this, yes.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    And you think this is something we need... *more* of?

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    As opposed to having corporate media spew whatever false propaganda they want without any consequences?

  • chemjeff||

    Perhaps you are the one spewing false propaganda.

    Perhaps you are the one who should be forced to get a license before having the legal ability to broadcast your propaganda over the Internet.

    Perhaps you should have all of your claims subject to fact-checking by "impartial" courts before they may reach the delicate and sensitive ears of Internet denizens.

  • chemjeff||

    er, rather, the delicate and sensitive eyes. You get the idea.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    "False". You keep using this word. I do not think it means, whatever your "impartial" Court of Truth will think it means.

  • chemjeff||

    Oh I agree with you. I just hope that Mr. Liberty here is willing to think about the consequences of his advocacy.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    Oh, sorry, I was replying to Liberty/Equality.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    Truth and falsehood are objective realities. You throw that principle away and the statists win by default.

    The concern that the govt would abuse power and label any adverse reporting "false" is legitimate. The concern that the corporate media are monopolizing our limited spectrum and flooding it with false propaganda is also a legitimate concern.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    "Truth and falsehood are objective realities. You throw that principle away and the statists win by default."

    Which is why said objective realities must be determined by... the state. So that they don't win. #Logical

    "The concern that the govt would abuse power and label any adverse reporting "false" is *the thing we should fear above all else*. The concern that the corporate media are monopolizing our limited spectrum and flooding it with false propaganda is *not* a legitimate concern, *but rather a fascistic fantasy ejaculated by willfully ignorant, delusionally partisan, lugenpresse-chanting right-wing groupthinkers who have apparently never heard of Fox News, talk radio or the internet*."

    FTFY, Mr. Bannon.

  • Shirley Knott||

    Falsehood presented as fact is either fiction or fraud.
    Licensing plays no role. If you can't sue them for fraud, if you can't demonstrate clearly that "X lied about Y", you really have no case.

    Truth and falsehood...
    A first mate showed up to take the watch from the captain. He was drunk, which the captain reported in the log.
    The first mate objected. The captain insisted it was a true statement and would stand.
    The next day the captain saw the first mate had recorded in the log that the captain had taken the watch; he noted that the captain was not drunk at the time.
    The captain was offended and insisted the remark be removed. But it was a true statement...

  • chemjeff||

    "The concern that the govt would abuse power and label any adverse reporting "false" is legitimate. "

    It's not just a "legitimate concern". It is a certainty that this will happen. Look at any repressive regime anywhere on the planet. The #1 thing that they are best at, is controlling the flow of information.

    "The concern that the corporate media are monopolizing our limited spectrum and flooding it with false propaganda is also a legitimate concern."

    Sure it is, but it is a concern that can be resolved without giving the state power to control the flow of information.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    We throw people in cages for the rest of their lives based on the courts' determination of truth or falsehood.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    And in case you hadn't noticed, they SUCK AT IT. See: OJ Simpson, Casey Anthony, Clinton email server, the 22 innocent inmates tortured at Gitmo because the CIA got their Arabic names mixed up, the hundreds of death row inmates who have been exonerated by DNA or other evidence, the dozens of CSI labs across the country that have been shut down or discredited because of sloppy standards, the manipulation of grand juries by prosecutors in police misconduct investigations, the rubber stamp "courts" operated by, of and for the NSA...

    Which is why we should put as little under the control of courts as possible. Because courts ARE GOVERNMENT.

  • chemjeff||

    I agree that the state has at best a mixed track record of determining fact from fiction. But they are only in that role because someone's rights were alleged to have been violated. If no one's rights are violated, why should any third party get involved in determining if a particular statement is true or not? Even if the statement IS false? Let individuals via their own agency and their own powers of reasoning decide for themselves. That is the only way that is most consistent with individual liberty to resolve the issue of lies in the public square.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    @ chemjeff

    Right. I don't think we actually disagree on anything here.

  • DavidS-T||

    Only in libel cases and in very limited circumstances after *New York Times v. Sullivan.* (And from a libertarian viewpoint, even *Sullivan* did not go far enough in protecting free speech.)

    You would be right at home with the Sedition Act of 1798: "That if any person shall write, print, utter or publish, or shall cause or procure to be written, printed, uttered or published, or shall knowingly and willingly assist or aid in writing, printing, uttering or publishing any *false*, scandalous and malicious writing or writings against the government of the United States, or either house of the Congress of the United States, or the President of the United States, with intent to defame the said government, or either house of the said Congress, or the said President, or to bring them, or either of them, into contempt or disrepute..." Etc. http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/sedact.asp (my emphasis)

  • chemjeff||

    That is actually disturbingly close to the modern GOP position on flag burning. It "disrespects America" therefore it should be illegal. What goes around comes around.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    Because there's no difference between being thrown in jail and having your privilege to block off spectrum from other uses taken away.

  • marshaul||

    The whole spectrum allocation thing is so last century anyway.

  • ||

    Are you defining #45? Most of what "it" states on a a day to day basis is completely false.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    What is #45?

  • ||

    Some guy that refers to himself has The Donald.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    Oh, I see. That was supposed to be clever, if irrelevant.

    You don't need a license to be president, only to win an election. Alas.

  • ||

    Which brings me to my original thought to your "odd" definition: Are you saying that the media is controlled by corporations? if so, why does #45 employ so many ex-corporate types in his administration. Moreover, a guy that used to be the CEO of a major oil company (that currently works for this moron) thinks he is a moron. Is this ex-CEO part of your conspiracy theory?

  • Bubba Jones||

    The NYT and Fox are both corporations.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    Do you know what "alas" means?

    I'm not a Trump supporter in general. Just responding to Reason getting the vapors about our poor persecuted corporate media.

  • JuanQPublic||

    There's a difference between expressing opinions and broadcasting falsehoods presented as fact. The latter is a perfectly good reason to yank broadcast licenses.

    Then join the campus left, who also want government to regulate expression of ideas.

  • MarkLastname||

    There is a constitutional right to broadcast speech, including false speech. It's called the 1st amendment. The medium changes nothing. If anything here is unconstitutional, it's the requirement that one need a license to broadcast speech.

    Grow the fuck up and try to pull your lips off your guy's cock for a change.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    There is a constitutional right not to have your speech punished or prevented coercively. That's it. Not being one of the select few who gets to occupy the broadcast spectrum is not coercion.

    And there are exceptions to that that even libertarians would agree with (e.g. death threats, perjury).

  • Drake||

    I don't believe in stupid fucking broadcast licenses. The 1A totally precludes "broadcase licenses", which means they're unconstitutional. Free speech is free speech. This public airwaves bullshit you're spewing is just a mask for censorship.
    You want on the air you get on the air, period. There, problem solved.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    You can't just let everybody broadcast on any frequency they want. They'll interfere with each other and nobody will be able to use the spectrum for communication.

  • Drake||

    Yeah, but that's a practical matter of mechanics, not whether you get on because of "community standards" and the public airwaves or some bullshit. Separate issue.

  • marshaul||

    The most-utilized portions of the RF spectrum today are the unlicensed portions (especially around 5-6 GHz), and modern technologies enable a wide range of applications to all coexist more-or-less compatibly. And there's still plenty of room for most applications to get more advanced. Go take some EE courses or something instead of mindlessly spouting statist apologia.

  • cravinbob||

    Start your own youtube channel, anyone can There is no ready-made audience but if you are good then you will succeed.
    FCC monitirs frequency usage so no operator uses an assigned frequency or too much wattage. Stations censor themselves. Pirate radio goes back a long way...

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Adam330|10.11.17 @ 11:39AM|#

    Trump game plan:
    - don't bother to think through your legislative strategy before starting
    - make lots of impossible to meet (and self-contradicting) promises to the public
    - don't bother proposing any plans for people to gather around and instead just see what comes out the milieu.
    - always publicly insult people that you're relying on, especially at the last minute before they take crucial votes
    - make lots of empty threats against members of your own party
    - demand your party take a bunch of embarrassing and sure to lose votes that will be held against them in the next election

  • Tom Bombadil||

    You should write a book. Call it: "What Happened".

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Or, "It Wasn't Actually Rape"

  • Bubba Jones||

    Ajit Pai is not a defender of the first amendment. He is a tool of the ISPs. I read this on the internet.

  • Paint Thinner||

    Yes, you should do better. Have someone literate read it to you.

  • Jickerson||

    He can be both.

  • colorblindkid||

    Muh Net Neutrality!

  • Sevo||

    Finally!
    Someone else is wondering whether 'first responders' took a doughnut break on the way:
    "Pressure mounts for Vegas police to explain response time"
    http://www.chron.com/news/crim.....268762.php
    "Chris Bethel told reporters he was staying in a room just a few floors below Paddock and notified police to the mass murderer's precise location. Now, Bethel is demanding an answer to the question as to why it took the LVMPD Swat team 1 hour and 12 minutes to penetrate Paddock's room to neutralize the threat."
    http://thefreethoughtproject.c.....-shooting/

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Doesn't Merkel's Germany challenge the licenses of various media companies?

    *checks*

    Yes they do.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    Well, if you squint even moderately hard, it's hard to tell the difference between them anyway.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    So is NBC supposed to have broadcast licenses eternally guaranteed, just because they're NBC? And nobody can question their suitability for keeping the license? That's entitlement of the corporate press, not freedom of the press.

  • chemjeff||

  • Bubba Jones||

    To the extent that spectrum is limited, they should auctioned.

  • Agammamon||

    Are you seriously suggesting that a broadcaster should lose its license because *one segment* of its product is saying something you don't like?

    NBC is not all news. They do other stuff. Stupid sitcoms mainly (like all the other broadcasters). And since when was impartial reporting *ever* part of the First Amendment, let alone a legal responsibility of reporters? This is just some fantasy that was built up during the 3 channel area and has been exposed for a loooong time.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    Are you seriously suggesting that a broadcaster should lose its license because *one segment* of its product is saying something you don't like?

    No. I'm not talking about opinion, but falsehood presented as fact.

  • retiredfire||

    You might as well give it up.
    Some people just can't get over their love for the statists that they will never admit that there is an actual difference between opinions and falsehoods presented as facts.
    It is as much of an established fact as is the sex one is biologically identified with, through our chromosomes.
    They probably deny that, too.
    Had to have a good laugh at the idiot who called fictional dramas the same thing, though.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    -wants government courts to determine which opinions are true or false
    -calls the people who disagree with him "statists"

    #FreedomIsSlavery

  • Widsith||

    "Let's just posit that this is a stupid and awful thing for any American president to say:"

    Let's just posit that "stupid and awful" is apropos of most of what Trump says and an apt description of the man himself.

  • chemjeff||

    When it comes to principles vs tribalism, quelle surprise, GOP throws principles out the window and opts for tribalism. NBC is "the enemy" therefore get rid of that whole freedom of the press stuff. Next up: Republicans for "Common Sense Internet Regulations" as a way to stick it to Google!

  • JuanQPublic||

    Tribalism is such a primitive mindset. It simply devolves society down to simplistic factions that operate on very base human traits that we share with the rest of the animal world.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    It's difficult to say as tribalism is probably inescapable to some extent. For instance, giving deference to your own family is a form of tribalism.

  • MikeP2||

    Only one thing throughout history has displaced Tribalism. And that would be Nationalism...or Community-ism on a smaller scale.

    community bonds based around shared societal norms and common law are the only things that have provably muted tribalism.
    Granted, extreme nationalism has its own issues, but nowhere near the genocidal nightmare that is extreme tribalism.

  • MarkLastname||

    "Tribalism
    That's racist.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    It is certainly not fair that I could potentially be lied to by a news network. I demand the creation of a government agency to oversee all news networks to ensure the correct facts are being reported.

    Thank you for looking out for me, Mr. President, and stay strong!

  • SIV||

    Remember, Matt Welch still thinks Hitlery Kkklinton was the better choice for president.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I gotta say it this time SIV, you got him. You fucking got him.

  • Tony||

    So Matt Welch isn't a lobotomized toddler who eats his own shit?

  • paranoid android||

    Real talk: has anyone ever met, in real life, the kind of lunatic who would defend Trump doing or saying these things? I'm not saying they don't exist, but are there any numbers out there on how many Russian hired trolls are out there?

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Yes, on both sides. If something ties anything to Russia I know people who would push Trump to do significant censoring in the name of preventing this meddling. On the other side I know people who would take joy in certain news organizations being taken down because they have a tendency to disagree with them. Many people value Free Speech in some limited way that is known only to themselves, and that's a damn shame.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Yes. Feel free to attend the Crusty family Thanksgiving.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Sure, just send me an RSVP.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Done. I call dibs on the drunk Sex Doll.

  • Drake||

    Or the Reason H&R Comments Section, where ANY attack on Trump, no matter how justified [or libertarian], will be met with accusations of Hillary worship and Marxist subversion by the ever-growing Double Dummy retard chorus. No need for Thanksgiving.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    ^ Leftist.

  • MarkLastname||

    "No need for thanksgiving."
    Wow, you just hate America, don't you?

  • Drake||

    Nah, just its government. Well that and turkey. I REALLY hate turkey. More of a steak guy.

  • Sevo||

    Drake|10.11.17 @ 10:36PM|#
    "Or the Reason H&R Comments Section, where ANY attack on Trump, no matter how justified [or libertarian], will be met with accusations of Hillary worship and Marxist subversion by the ever-growing Double Dummy retard chorus."

    Aww, poor shit. She lost, loser.

  • Drake||

    AHAHAHA. I knew it. Perfect example. You insult Cheeto Jesus and all the maggots come crawling out. If you bash Trump you love Hillary. Brilliant.

    Just for the record, you fucking retard, I voted Johnson. Not the greatest option, but I'll still take Mr. Aleppo over every other moron facing him. As far as Hillary goes, I don't vote for anti-gun, neocon harpy cunts craving wars with Russia and abolishing the 2A, so you can suck my dick. Hell, you didn't even vote for Trump, so where the fuck do YOU get off, faggot? Go die in a fire.

    Have a nice day!

  • Sevo||

    Drake|10.12.17 @ 3:16AM|#
    "AHAHAHA. I knew it. Perfect example. You insult Cheeto Jesus and all the maggots come crawling out. If you bash Trump you love Hillary. Brilliant."

    You and she lost, loser.
    Have a miserable day. Keep right on whining; music to my ears.

  • marshaul||

    You really are a faggot, though.

  • Drake||

    He can't read, either. That or he thinks I'm lying and I'm actually some super serial secret Hillary lover. One or the other, LOL.

  • Drake||

    Haha. Did you even read the fucking post? All you did was quote the top of it. I thought I made it pretty clear:

    "Just for the record, you fucking retard, I voted Johnson. Not the greatest option, but I'll still take Mr. Aleppo over every other moron facing him. As far as Hillary goes, I don't vote for anti-gun, neocon harpy cunts craving wars with Russia and abolishing the 2A, so you can suck my dick. Hell, you didn't even vote for Trump, so where the fuck do YOU get off, faggot? Go die in a fire."

    There you go. Got it, sunshine? I mean, if neocon harpy cunt doesn't clear it up for you I dunno what does. Whatever...

  • creech||

    The president sounds more and more like the guy at the end of the bar who keeps referring to 8th grade as "Senior Year."

  • chemjeff||

    Yes, sadly: my dad. He thinks, and I quote, "Trump may even be better than Reagan." No joke.

  • Drake||

    LOL! That's priceless. That's essentially blasphemy in GOP circles. Hell, even Trump didn't touch THAT during the campaign.

    I gotta say, though, If by 'better' he means even more incompetent and expanding the size of government even more than Reagan did [not that he was special in that regard, D or R] he might yet be right, LOL. We'll see.

    My condolences, btw.

  • chemjeff||

    Yeah I don't talk politics with the folks anymore.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    So you're saying he'll renege on most of his promises about shrinking government, make a terrible deal with the Dems on immigration, balloon the deficit, and escalate the War on Drugs?

  • Drake||

    Yeah, I'd say that prettymuch sums it up, LOL.

  • Lily Bulero||

    Hmmm...this time Trump did actually say something pretty bad, and when it's contextualized, it's still bad.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    OT: Ronan Farrow is an actual journalist. Also, NBC is pretty awful.

  • Paint Thinner||

    Check out FOX News sometime

  • Episteme||

    Having not paid any attention to Farrow since his first week at the network, when he was a complete amateur riding on nepotism, I was pleasantly surprised to see how he's quietly developed into a proper lead-chasing journalist. I have to give the guy respect for his work on this.

  • Lily Bulero||

    So...there used to be the Fairness Doctrine to use against "biased" broadcast stations (not networks, but stations which run the networks were theoretically vulnerable).

    Then under Reagan the radical right-wing deregulators killed the Fairness Doctrine, and Reagan's veto made sure it stayed dead despite Democrat efforts to revive it.

    So what's the theory under which Trump goes after biased stations?

  • Lily Bulero||

    stations which carry network coverage were theoretically vulnerable, though it was mainly Nixon who tried to use that against the networks, and we know what happened to *him.* Otherwise, it was mainly small independent stations targeted.

  • Lily Bulero||

    Oh, and issue ads.

  • Drake||

    One of the few good things he actually did, along with firing those FAA assholes. Fuck pubic unions.

  • Lily Bulero||

    Spooky Halloween news: Harvard's outgoing President is named Faust, and Duke's incoming president is Vincent Price.

  • Thrackmoor||

    Nice catch... if only Peter Lorre was the provost.

  • Paint Thinner||

    That is rubbishing? Does not even fucking mention the dotard's name!

    LOL, that sounds more like the audible plop Nick Gillespie performed on Ajit Pai.

  • Sevo||

    "the dotard's name"
    That would be the hag?

  • Drake||

    No, Trump. That's what Fat Boy called him.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    Fist of Etiquette is hammering metals from Orion and Super Strand W's plus V's married to quadsym hyplospan mag'2
    fervent outside the spinning and wasting and expanding the noters, FUCKING fist squared on a melting quadrant outside
    goddamn
    picnic shit
    Where Fo'E
    got shot and fell
    under a thick
    old book where
    yarn headed
    boys and girls
    eat cream puffs
    and take on the
    total universe whilst
    packing Fo'E in a
    moleskin

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I want a cut if this is turned into a movie.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    A tall swarthy Sevo strode the stalls of
    silence until the fairy came out
    and struck an old record
    which unleashed the tender
    thread spirits
    one should melt their
    moments on the tall glass
    of poem and writ
    plus cocaine pussy
    and titties plastered with
    molasses'n meth
    literally meth with molasses
    and titties... so fucking ridiculously
    delicious

  • Agile Cyborg||

    Pretty sure Bull Bennet just got
    an erection... Alson Bull Clinton
    and Bull Bush and Bull Boys
    ... they all like Molasses with
    their Meth....
    Drugs made Congress
    Drugs made the Senate
    Drugs from these horrid fuck faces
    sent untold thousands into prisons ruining
    lives upon lives
    while
    Drugs made Congress
    Drugs made the Senate
    FUCK the USA
    FUCK all this shit
    FUCK the earth
    FUCK gods
    FUCK prophets
    FUCK progress

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    Well, C-SPAN *does* sort of seem like something Lewis Carroll created lately...

    Except that instead of the Red Queen, we elected the March Hare as president...

  • Drake||

    We almost got the Harpy Queen. Either way we were screwed. Ahhh, don't you just love democracy....

  • Tony||

    Yes, a person in charge of the nukes who knows nothing about nukes vs. someone who wouldn't eliminate the estate tax.

    What a cosmically improbable coincidence that they're exactly equally bad.

  • Sevo||

    "Yes, a person in charge of the nukes who knows nothing about nukes vs. someone who wouldn't eliminate the estate tax."

    Yes, a guy who has made some real improvements compared to that hag who would probably have us in three new wars by now.
    Asshole.

  • Tony||

    He said he might nuke an entire country off the face of the earth! Do they not air that stuff on Hannity?

  • Drake||

    Estate tax?! LOL. Yeah, cause that's her ONLY problem, right? What a fucking joke

    Dude, she's a fucking neocon. All neocons do is get us into wars, period. I don't know if she would actually *nuke* anybody, but when did that become the standard? And given her hatred for Putin seeing her getting us into a war with him is easily imaginable. Bush didn't nuke anybody, either, and look what he did; you wanna praise him now, genius?

    Now Trump? Yeah, he's a fucking retard, among other things. He's also basically gone neocon now, too, [surprise, surprise], and given that he's got all the intellect of a senile donkey, and- as you said- knows jackshit about nukes but is obviously in love with them, yeah, we got some big fucking problems. Nuking someone or going to war wouldn't surprise me at all.

  • MikeP2||

    pants-shitting all around.

    At what point will people realize the Trump's tweets are nothing more than political prodding, forcing the public to discuss his topics of choice? Not once have we seen executive action following an outrageous tweet.

    Trump's tweeting is directly in line with the negotiation strategies he details in his books. paraphrasing... 'play up the extreme position and force the accepted middle ground more towards your side'

    From any Libertarian standpoint, having the public talk and argue about the legitimacy of the blatant propaganda spewing from the networks is a clear win.

  • Tony||

    Obama said 57 states once. Inpeach!

  • Trigger Warning||

    The Trumptard narrative now is that he is a genius troll who expertly antagonizes the left. And not, you know, a complete fucking retard. Whatever.

  • Drake||

    Amazing, is it not?

  • politicalmenace||

    Most of you may not agree but I honestly believe a lot of what Trump says is to get these NeverTrumpers and liberals to show their assess. He forces them to take a position and defend their opinionated garbage. I think its funny and honestly the media plays right into his hands every time. For example he called the leader of North Korea "Rocket Man" something that has never been done before and instead of the media coming out and taking a rational approach to his comments they turn on him and call him a provocateur and a war monger and whatever else they can think of. You had a celebrity that came out and asked for a trade of leaders. This shit is hilarious. Look at how the media reacted when he stated that we will reach 6% economic growth, instead of taking the logical approach the media insulted the working class and the American economy and said that growth was impossible. He did the same thing with the NFL. Look at all these commentators willing to show how extreme they are by insulting the president on Twitter, Facebook, and even on their programs. These people don't even realize that be defending your fringe position, you expose how extreme and anti-American you really are. Its hilarious.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    I don't think it's hilarious when he's provoking (sorry, I don't think there's a better word to describe it) a foreign leader who is himself a provocateur. It's a perfect example of escalation. Namecalling -- aside from being childish and unprofessional -- is directly at odds with what his Secretary of State's mission appears to be.

    I'm not saying you're wrong. He may very well be trolling the media. I just think it's inappropriate given the gravity of the situations he's trolling about.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    "CNN's Oliver Darcy and Brian Stelter do a good job of explaining why Trump's trial-balloon threat is essentially toothless"

    It's not toothless. All he has to do is threaten them with targeted taxes (or, correspondingly, threaten to revoke any tax breaks they currently receive). It worked against the NFL, it could work against CNN.

  • AndyWingall||

    Is it any dumber than trampling on the second amendment? In my opinion the MSM is far more dangerous than guns. In case anyone isn't watching, Trump is giving the Left a good hard one like it gives the rest of us just to watch them squirm and scream, What about our Constitutional rights!? He's got the Left in the perfect place to prove to the lesser aware just how ignorant and hypocritical the media and the Left in the US really is. Oh, I love hearing Leftists talk about First Amendment rights and the value it has for us as a democracy.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    I think you've done a good job demonstrating the hypocrisy of the american left and right.

  • Eman||

    Not to be racist or anything, but what's up with all these federal bureaucrats with Indian names? I guess its as similar to working in a call center as it gets in the U.S? (Come on, that was funny)

  • Barry Gold||

    Bring back the fairness doctrine? It is to laugh. That would compel Fox News to carry an equal amount of left-slanted news and opinions.

    These days I guess the only way to get really "fair and balanced" news is to follow a lot of different sources. Back in the 60s and 70s, you could just check The Monitor. In spite of being the house organ of a (somewhat weird) religion, it had a rep as a reliable news source.

    Then there was a shake-up, and now I don't think there's anybody left. Certainly not my local paper, the LA Times. They have two columnists in the business section, and both of them are (pretty far) left of center.

    So let's try... maybe the SJ Mercury, WSJ, Fox News, the Times (London), Japan Times, Jerusalem Post, and maybe even Al Jazeera. That's a lot of stuff to read (or at least skim) just to get a reasonably balanced view.

    Oh well.

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    Twitter is a forum for famous and infamous scumbags to say idiotic things. I guess it's the future.

  • m.EK||

    In some ways I think Trump tweets like I talk about the Constitution.
    I don't look at all the political garbage of the past 200 years that the so called supreme court has applied for so much of that has been outside their expressed authority and "rulings" on bits and pieces of legislation and concerns rather than on the Constitutional authority that the federal government actually possesses.
    Trump is a layman without all the political shenanigans (other than buying and selling the "shenaniganers" that he can use). This makes him somewhat naive when it comes to the plays of "power" that the government and the ones that use them utilize and the whitewashed comments and announcements that these "people" use to bullshit the public.
    Sadly, I don't think that Trump has actually read the Constitution. He certainly does not realize that the Oath of Office is a LEGAL AND BINDING CONTRACT and that this Oath is a CIVIL contract at that. Frankly, neither do about 97% of the people that take that Oath.
    Personally, I think that we/you should remind We The People that the Oath is a legal and binding contract. That the "enumerated powers" are the job profile for the federal government. And, that the first 10 Amendments are clear and concise statements on what these "public officials" CAN NOT legislate, decree, or "rule" on.
    Perhaps, someday soon, we will remind the "officials" that the Oath is the sword that We The People hold over their scrawny little necks.

  • cravinbob||

    Biased media alienates about half of their potential audience so let them be biased and bias usually consists of inaccuracies which leads to stupidity and ignorance. So who loses? Biased media and their audience, nobody else.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online