Trump just threatened to revoke NBC’s broadcast license over negative coverage

Whether it’s threatening to completely destroy North Korea or calling on the NFL to fire players who kneel as a form of protest, there’s no doubt that President Donald Trump loves escalation.

But now he’s taking his war against so-called “fake news” to a level that threatens freedom of the press.

On Wednesday, NBC aired a report saying the president told national security officials during a meeting at the Pentagon in July that he wanted to increase the U.S. stockpile of nuclear weapons. Trump called the report a “made up a story” and suggested (through a tweet, of course) that he could revoke the network’s broadcasting license.

“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!” Trump tweeted.

Such an undemocratic move by the president would no doubt deliver a serious blow to the national press, which is already operating under serious constraints. Reporters Without Borders doesn’t even place the United States in the top 25 of its 2017 global ranking of countries by press freedoms — it is ranked 43 out of 180.

The NBC report came as Trump is expected to refuse to recertify Iran’s compliance with the 2015 nuclear agreement, despite reports showing the country is adhering to the deal — another example of the U.S. administration’s insatiable appetite for escalation.