Trump, speaking hours after he tweeted about challenging the licenses of "NBC and the networks" for producing "fake news", said he was calling for more honesty, not limits on the media, but he later doubled down on his threat to challenge licenses, Bloomberg reports.
The tweet capped off a day of attacks lodged at the media. CBS Corp fell 1.2 percent and Twenty-First Century Fox slid 2.8 percent.
The FCC doesn't license networks.
Senator Ed Markey wrote Pai on Wednesday asking him to "withstand any urges from President Trump to harm the news media and infringe upon the First Amendment", a reference to the U.S. Constitution's free speech and press freedom guarantee. Frank Pallone, of New Jersey, the top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee that oversees the agency.
Pai, an FCC member since May 2012, was elevated to chairman by Trump.
According to a fact sheet on the FCC website, when reviewing licenses the agency must determine if a renewal is in the public interest.
And stripping a station of its license is pretty tough.
The President has regularly targeted news networks critical of him since January, when he gave a media conference as President-elect and shouted down a CNN reporter as "fake news". First and foremost, the First Amendment completely prohibits that. Rubio asks Army to kick out West Point grad Rubio asks Army to kick out West Point grad with pro-communist posts Trump, honor Obama's agreement to release Guantanamo detainee MORE in a statement hit back at the NBC report, saying Trump never "called for" an increase in the nuclear arsenal. Nixon was unhappy with the Washington Post Company and how they were going after his presidency, and they did a damn good job of it, so he made a decision to have his little acolytes go out there in places like Jacksonville, Florida and Miami, Florida and attempt to get the local news stations there pulled off the air because they were owned by the Washington Post Company.
The FCC's equal time rules apply in limited cases to air time for political candidates and not to criticism of elected leaders. "Not fair to public!" Republican President Ronald Reagan's administration eliminated it in 1987.