Rage, rage against the dying of the First Amendment

Yesterday morning, the Dotard-in-Chief, angry at two stories NBC News has run in recent days — both of which were confirmed by multiple sources, SOURCES INSIDE HIS ADMINISTRATION, LEST WE ALL NEED REMINDING — tweeted that the FCC should pull NBC’s licenses.

I just briefly touched on this yesterday because in part President Fucko had tweeted it while I was drafting the post, but mostly because this was just round elevently-thousand in his ongoing war against the First Amendment, and frankly I’ve become a little numb to it.

But I later regretted not making a bigger stink about it yesterday. After all, we mustn’t become numb, especially when it comes to protecting the First Amendment, even if it feels like we’ve been screaming our heads off for a full nine, going on ten months. Fortunately (??), Trump doubled down on this nonsense last night shortly before appearing on Hannity, giving me a chance to revisit this shitshow.

First of all, let’s tackle the technicalities of all of this.

  1. No, the FCC can’t pull the license of NBC as an entity — networks don’t receive  government licenses.
  2. The FCC is an independent agency that the President has no control over, so he can’t demand anything from them.
  3. The FCC is willing to investigate “fake news” but the bar is very high. They — a government agency — do not want replace news agencies’ judgment with their own because THAT POTENTIALLY VIOLATES THE FIRST AMENDMENT.
  4. However, the FCC does grant licenses to the individual stations, so theoretically, they could pull the licenses of NBC stations in major markets — or, hypothetically, all of NBC’s stations — if they wanted to do Trump’s bidding. Reasons stations have lost their license have included in the past everything from child molestation to racism to “lacking integrity.”

That said, it is stratospherically unlikely the FCC will pull any individual NBC station’s license just because they are part of an organization that ran some well-sourced stories that the President doesn’t like. Because that’s not who we are as a country — that’s precisely the kind of thing the First Amendment expressly prevents. The reason this is an important story is because the President does not want us to be that country anymore, he wants to be the sole determiner of what news and information we are privy to. The current President of the United States not only does not respect the First Amendment, he wants to undo it altogether.

Republican Senator Ben Sasse knows what’s up:

And here’s what I think is really going on: As has been documented in many other stories, Orangina has this weird sense of loyalty, as in you must be loyal to him and you must expect no loyalty from him in return. If you notice, the network subjects of his accusations of FAKE NEWS! are NBC and CNN — in fact, you’ll note that he compares NBC to CNN in the first tweet above. NBC was once his network home for The Apprentice, and CNN is run by Jeff Zucker, the man who brought The Apprentice on the air. And this fuckknuckle believes because of those former relationships, CNN and NBC — specifically and in particular — should never utter an unfavorable word about him out of some sort of  loyalty.

I also place the blame for this mess on the Reagan Administration’s lifting of the Fairness Doctrine, which we discussed earlier in the week when this thin-skinned dribble cup threw a tantrum about late night shows. Lifting the requirement that broadcasters present dissenting views on subjects created the shitshower that is Fox News, a place where your mom and dad and Donald John Trump can comfortably remain unchallenged in their own confirmation biases. Fox News beget President Trump and a supporter base that feels confident in disregarding any story that does not conform to their own sets of beliefs as “FAKE NEWS!” And  I actually think that these tweets are mostly intended to console that base that these NBC stories are fake, and in fact are so fake that President Baby Hands is willing to threaten government action.

And so, while I don’t think (or at the very least I fervently hope) that Trump will not actually pressure the FCC to pull individual stations’ licenses, it doesn’t mean that this whole thing isn’t a giant, alarming, turn-on-all-the-sirens mess. There are some who suggest that we shouldn’t spend so much time worrying about his tweets, that they may be intended to distract us from his pulling out of the Iran Deal and NAFTA and repealing women’s health care and RUSSIA and North Korea and the humanitarian disaster that continues to unfold in Puerto Rico.

But this why I returned to this story, because this is precisely how something like the First Amendment is undermined over time: by the American public growing numb to the First Amendment being undermined over time. While I think this is just a stunt that Malformed Cheeto is pulling to soothe his hurt feelings, it serves two purposes: it makes his supporters think it IS a good idea for the government to stifle stories that are unfavorable to Dear Leader, and it wears the rest of us out. This is the eleventy-thousandth round in the Double-Chin-in-Chief’s war on the First Amendment, and there will be a tweleveenth-thousandth. But we must continue to fight back each time, and we must never lose our outrage, we must never ever grow numb. Nothing less than the freedom of the press — truth itself — depends on it.

Meanwhile, we can dream.

Today’s Harvey Weinstein Update:

From the TV angle, despite what they are saying, NBC News does not seem to have a good explanation for why they didn’t run employee Ronan Farrow’s story when he brought it to them. According to the Huffington Post, the story passed all the fact-checking and legal hurdles, but NBC still wouldn’t run it. HMMM. WONDER WHY? Meanwhile, Ronan Farrow hired his own camera crew to cover the story and was threatened with a lawsuit by Weinstein for his troubles. Shame on you, NBC News.

Oh, and this is “fun.” That time Weinstein, Trump and Ronan Farrow’s “father” Woody Allen worked together.

OK, but you continue to work for President Grab ‘Em by the Pussy, even after numerous women have stepped forward to accuse him of doing the same. Got it.

Tamron Hall is reconsidering her news program she was going to make with The Weinstein Company.

The Weinstein Company is going to sue Weinstein and not pay out his stake in the company. Note how different this response is than Fox News’ to Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly.

A lot of hay has been made about how Hollywood knew about Weinstein for years, pointing to the joke Seth MacFarlane made in 2013 when announcing the Oscars. MacFarlane explained himself in the following tweet, and now I have to have a shred of begrudging respect for Seth MacFarlane, god damnit:

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences is reviewing his membership.

James Van Der Beek has come forward to say that he, too, has been groped by “older powerful men.”

Here is a collection of questions we still do not have answers to about this whole sordid situation. (And why we probably won’t be hearing the end of it anytime soon.)

Oh my lord, do not try to defend Weinstein, you dolt.

Meanwhile, Rose McGowan, one of the early people to speak up about the abuse, and who has been encouraging victims to speak up and been attacking men who she feels covered for this monster was suspended from Twitter. Meanwhile, Robert Spencer, Russian Bots, threats of nuclear war and just general harassment remain on the platform.

In Other TV News

Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony have set “One Voice: Somos Live!” a telethon to raise money for Puerto Rico, at NBC, Telemundo and Univision. This while the Monster-in-Chief is threatening to pull relief from the area. ONLY 64% OF THE ISLAND HAS DRINKING WATER, Y’ALL.

Shonda Rhimes, Joan Rivers and the original cast of Saturday Night Live are being inducted into the Television Hall of Fame. Two Things: 1. There is a Television Hall of Fame? WHERE? 2. The original cast of Saturday Night Live wasn’t already in there? HOW?

Designated Survivor has had four showrunners. FOUR. In two seasons. That’s insane and saying that tentpole series take a while to find themselves is a load of bullshit. I don’t know what the real reason is, but it ain’t that.

Megyn Kelly’s ratings are dragging down Hoda and Kathie Lee’s happy time drunk hour.

Hasbro is releasing a Stranger Things/Eggos Waffles card game that sounds a lot like Uno but is mostly very confusing.

Here are a bunch of gifs from the Entertainment Weekly Supernatural photo shoot. Wait, here’s more. You’re quite welcome.

Renewals

Cancellations

In Development

Casting News

R.I.P.

Elizabeth Bauer, Actress

WATCH THIS

The Orville: I hate this show and I hate all of you who voted for it. Just a reminder. 8 p.m., Fox

I Love You, America: Sarah Silverman wants to unite red and blue America with her poop jokes. Good luck with that, sweetie. Series premiere. Hulu

Supernatural: So, what to do with Lucifer’s baby? Season premiere. 7 p.m., The CW
Arrow: Season premiere. 8 p.m., The CW

Late Night: Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon: Miles Teller, Pink, Billy Corgan Late Night with Seth Meyers: Gerard Butler, Patton Oswalt, Joe Russo The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Bill Murray, Claire Foy, Bill Murray with Jan Vogler & Friends The Late Late Show with James Corden: Luke Evans, Usher, Lindsey Buckingham & Christine McVie Jimmy Kimmel Live: Kate Hudson, Jared Padalecki, 21 Savage Watch What Happens Live: Sarah Silverman, Isla Fisher

THUR 7:00 7:30 8:00 8:30 9:00 9:30
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(new)
Scandal
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How to Get Away With Murder
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CBS Thursday Night Football
(live)
CW Supernatural
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Arrow
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News/Local
FOX Gotham
(new)
The Orville
(new)
News/Local
NBC Superstore
(new)
The Good Place
(new)
Will & Grace
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Great News
(new)
Chicago Fire
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