Trump Pledges to Investigate Comcast for “Country Threatening Treason”

In a chilling message, former President Trump pledged to investigate Comcast if he is elected in 2024. Trump insisted that the parent company for NBC and MSNBC “will be thoroughly scrutinized for their knowingly dishonest and corrupt coverage of people, things, and events.” The stated grounds are “country threatening treason.” The pledge is not simply a threat to these news organizations but to the Constitution. While Trump has a history of reckless rhetoric, the statement on Truth Social is an attack on core First Amendment values that define us as a nation.

I have been highly critical of the network for bias and sometimes flawed analysis. It is often the focus of my warnings that we have drifted into a type of de facto state media by consent rather than coercion. Much of this challenged coverage concerns Trump. The vast majority of the public views the media as biased.

I have also long criticized Trump for reckless rhetoric, particularly his repeated reference to the media as the “enemy of the people.”

I have also criticized Democrats who have pressured cable providers to drop Fox and attacked journalists challenging Biden policies.

This is a further escalation of that rhetoric and it is wrong regardless of the complaints over the coverage at NBC/MSNBC.

Trump stated:

“[t]hey are almost all dishonest and corrupt, but Comcast, with its one-side and vicious coverage by NBC NEWS, and in particular MSNBC, often and correctly referred to as MSDNC (Democrat National Committee!), should be investigated for its ‘Country Threatening Treason.

I say up front, openly, and proudly, that when I WIN the Presidency of the United States, they and others of the LameStream Media will be thoroughly scrutinized for their knowingly dishonest and corrupt coverage of people, things, and events.

The Fake News Media should pay a big price for what they have done to our once great Country!”

The bigger price would be paid by our constitutional system if such retaliatory actions are taken against critical media companies by a president. The independent press remains a critical protection for this nation despite its flaws. The only thing worst than a biased media is a government that investigates reporters as traitors for their coverage.

While the echo chamber of news is a serious problem for this country, it is a matter for the public to resolve in the market for news.  Many news organizations are struggling, including the Washington Post, due to the loss of readers.

The media plays a critical role in our political system. Despite false stories in the last few years, the media often serves to check government abuse by uncovering waste, lies, and unlawful conduct from the Pentagon Papers to Watergate.

Notably, it is unlikely that there is a “there there” in any investigation other than bias. The lock-step coverage of the media from the false Russian collusion claims to false stories like the migrant whipping story is due to the loss of objectivity in journalism. It is consensual rather than conspiratorial. It is also wrong, but that wrong will not be righted by unleashing the government on the media.

I have supported an investigation into the government engaging in “censorship by surrogate” on social media and the Congress can demand answers on the government’s actions vis-a-vis the media. However, targeting the media to be investigated for treason is a threat to free press values.

In 1789, Edmund Burke pointed to the media (which often criticized him) in Parliament and said “there were Three Estates in Parliament; but, in the Reporters’ Gallery yonder, there sat a Fourth Estate more important far than they all.”

The defining moment for this country came with the trial of publisher John Peter Zenger by the Crown in New York. Gov. William Cosby used language very similar to Trump’s in unleashing his government on the newspaper. Cosby declared that the paper was publishing “divers scandalous, virulent, false and seditious reflections.” He ordered four editions to be burned publicly.

The jury refused to allow the abuse and acquitted Zenger. From that time, respect for the independence of the press has remained part of our DNA despite our disagreements with coverage.

James Madison called press freedom “the choicest privilege of the people.”

Running for president on a platform of investigating the press may be popular, but it is dangerous and it is wrong.


316 thoughts on “Trump Pledges to Investigate Comcast for “Country Threatening Treason””

  1. Of course Turley is morally and legally correct, but in this case I believe that retribution and revenge are fully justifiable. What is occurring is asymmetrical warfare being led by totalitarian thugs with the backing of many if not most of the major institutions including the mass media, academia, administrative state, public sector unions and the like. Let him raid the homes of MSNBC reporters, NYTs editorialists, democratic operatives, and ex-president summer retreats. Only when they get a taste if their own medicine might they pull back, Even then I doubt it

    1. “. . . led by totalitarian thugs . . .”

      So to rid the country of totalitarian thugs, we should become totalitarian thugs of a different stripe?!

      Stalin is not a solution to Lenin.

      The only cure for irrational and destructive ideas is rational, beneficial ones.

    2. As usual you mouth the leftist garbage and lies you absorb on MSNBC. Trump was more no guilty than the democrats who commenced an impeachment even before he was inaugurated. Those thuggish mobs who rioted on that day were treated with impunity. Liars and thieves like HRC have tried to delegitimize not only Trump but Bush. They even tried to do it with Reagan as in the “October surprise”. So don’t lecture commenters on this site about which party works the hardest to delegitimize elections. Your totalitarian comrades seek to eviscerate the 1st Amendment and rescind the second Amendment and that is just the start. You are as disingenuous all of your fellow travelers. Your idea of a democratic republic is the defunct German Democratic Republic

    3. So you believe the President’s oath to uphold the Constitution and not act unconstitutionally can just be thrown away when you “believe that retribution and revenge are fully justifiable”?

    4. @Alan

      That’s the thing: due to the fact that they do pull all the levers, they would just spin it as yet more evidence Trump is a fascist dictator, and a whole lotta people would simply believe it. We tend to project our values when in reality they are not shared; a great many do not even know about the current dem scandals because they only hear whisperings don’t do *any* independent research as so many of us here do. Conversely, there would be coverage of Trump everywhere, all the time, 24/7, an inescapable deluge. That’s the dem playbook, they have no ethics as an organization.

      Nothing has changed with Trump, either: he will still do something good and then undo it by opening his mouth, and yes, though MAGA had become a pathetic catch-all with idiotic dems, those that actually fit the description are every bit as blindly braindead as their ‘liberal’ counterparts.

      I personally don’t think sanity and grace are coming back to our government any time in the foreseeable future, no matter how much we wish or spit.

    5. “That’s what dictators and their sycophants in government do.”

      That’s funny, I though dictators arrest their top opposing candidates and use the DOJ against their political enemies.

      1. It’s not illegal to question election results. The fact that you go to Hillary and bring up Georgia (Who’s the governor?) shows exactly who you are. Enjoy your dictator.

  2. I wish Trump would keep his mouth shut and just get elected and implement his excellent policies. 🤦‍♀️

    1. The problem is, he thinks there are enough Ralph’s out there to get him elected. He doesnt seem to realize he needs the people grounded in reality too.

      1. Yet in polls he is beating Biden and even in one by ABC news, 10 points.
        Another poll asked if people would vote third party. Half of Black Democrats said they would vote third party and half of Independent voters would too.

  3. I no longer hold the press as sacrosanct. Not since we had access to the Twitter (now X) files. Also since the administration is daily protected by the news (sic). And this administration has shown marked interference in pressuring much of the tech world such as facebook and others. I think an investigation would be wonderful. What you do with the results of that investigation is a whole different matter. Maybe just shining the light of day on the inner workings of the media empires would be enough and bring them crashing down. They wage war against legitimate organizations. ADL and their defamation of twitter is a case in point as well as attempts to deplatform anyone who does not hew to the party line. The news media is now activist and trying to impede or destroy people and organizations that do not follow the leftist line. They don’t report. They attempt to destroy. Since they have entered the ring of participation in life and no longer just report then they should have to avoid the minefields that everyone else has to avoid.
    Time to reform the slander and libel laws. The present laws give the media free reign with almost no consequences.

    1. Freedom of the press must remain sacrosanct. That is why we have laws protecting that freedom, but they should not be safeguarding any portion of it that is opinion, libel, against the law, or functioning as an arm of the government.

      We have seen the MSM and social media acting on behalf of the government. Those types of actions should have no special status.

  4. I have also long criticized Trump for reckless rhetoric, particularly his repeated reference to the media as the “enemy of the people.” — Jonathon Turley

    And yet, these mainstream media outlets are lying, misrepresenting and omitting critical facts when they cover events at all. I get your point and would normally agree. But when the media sides with ambitious politicians (and their wealthy donors) and reject their duty to accurately inform citizens under the First Amendment then, from a Constitutional perspective, isn’t that exactly what the media becomes, an enemy of the people?

    1. “. . . mainstream media outlets are lying, misrepresenting and omitting critical facts . . .”

      Good lord. That language is right out of DHS’ “Disinformation Governance Board” — and is the rationalization for government to terrorize and censor dissenters and the media.

      Does either side grasp the *principle* of free speech?

  5. I consider the Main Street Media to be nothing more than propaganda and Enemies of the Republic.

    Congress is a Band of Crooks.

    Biden is the most corrupt president is US History.

    If we even have elections in 2024 they will be rigged.

  6. Whoever, with intent to cause the overthrow or destruction of any such government, prints, publishes, edits, issues, circulates, sells, distributes, or publicly displays any written or printed matter advocating, advising, or teaching the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying any government in the United States by force or violence, or attempts to do so; or
    Whoever organizes or helps or attempts to organize any society, group, or assembly of persons who teach, advocate, or encourage the overthrow or destruction of any such government by force or violence; or becomes or is a member of, or affiliates with, any such society, group, or assembly of persons, knowing the purposes thereof—
    Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five years next following his conviction.

    1. I hope you aren’t under the impression that that is an actual law. It isn’t and can’t be, because it’s blatantly unconstitutional. The first amendment absolutely protects all mere advocacy, no matter what is being advocated, including the violent overthrow of the government. Any attempt to ban such advocacy is a betrayal of the constitution and of the oath of office.

  7. Meh.
    Trump being Trump.
    Let the polls and their ratings reflect their popularity and profit margins.
    We all know they are the DNC ran propaganda machine. Just as easy to ignore them by switching the channel.

    1. It is hard to do so when the influence–more like, control–goes all the way to the White House. It’s the outsourcing of censorship, including censorship by omission and outright distortion of the truth. Yes, I hear my Con Law professor over and over–the best remedy for bad speech is more speech–but 30 years ago times were quite different. We always knew the media was left-leaning, but now the left-leaning media does the left’s bidding. To receive First Amendment protection, media outlets should not be connected with the government. Therefore, if the purpose of an investigation was to show collusion, why not conduct it if there is evidence that would lead a reasonable person to believe the Democrats in power influenced/controlled media content?

  8. I think this article is a gut reaction to what you believe it says, believe it will do and why. How is main stream media exempt from being ‘scrutinized’? The government just got caught censoring Facebook, Twitter, etc. Why should we believe there is no inappropriate arrangements with main stream media and not at least look?

  9. So far the comments aren’t buying what the professor is touting. Corruption is corruption whether it’s in the halls of congress, the WH, or the media. What’s wrong with a little investigative journalism.

    1. A government investigation, especially for a supposed crime, is NOT journalism. It’s a violation of the first amendment.

      1. I said investigative journalism not government investigation meaning someone in our supposed free press start doing some meaningful reporting. We certainly don’t need our government looking for crimes without evidence

        1. And as if to prove the point, you parrot the MSM headlines about an interview with ZELENSKY, who was NOT the Ukranian President when Biden had Shokin fired. He was acting in sitcoms. Biden says he had Shokin fired but you want it from the comedian instead. Nice

        2. This discussion is about Trump’s threat that if elected he will have the government investigate Comcast for its reporting. That would violate the first amendment.

  10. Well now Professor…..what do you think the “investigation” might find?

    Is not good speech better than bad speech?

    Should not the media be as concerned about “truth” as the common man wants them to be?

    He did not say he was going to indict media figures on trumped up charges, and he did not say anything about lining Pennsylvania with crosses akin to the Romans.

    If the mainstream media is proven to. have knowingly and with malice aforethought schemed, conspired, and purposefully LIED, obscured, and ignored the real facts in favor of some grand set of lies…..should we not be shown the proof of that?

    Yes they are certainly free to lie and do everything they have done to advance the radical leftist agenda that is destroying this Nation….but we common folks are also entitled to know the truth of the matter.

    Such a promise as he has made strikes you as an insult to the First Amendment but I see it as being something that would work to protect the First Amendment.

    Media (what used to be called Journalists back when Journalism had ethical standards) does not get a free pass on its own assault on free speech.

    They have made their bed….let them lie in it. (Poor choice of words I know!).

    As we all know….the truth shall set one free!

    The Left needs to be shown for what they are……mortial enemies to free speech.

    Anyone that doubts that and stands in the way of the truth of it being made known is one of those that enable the Left to succeed in its goal of destroying this Constitutional Republic of ours.

    Personally, I hope we find patriotic Americans who shall undertake that very needed effort do so in a manner that make Sherman’s March through Georgia look like a Maypole Dance…..but done with words and not physical violence.

    1. You blew any argument by saying “good speech is better than bad speech.” This is the point—all speech is admitted and let the people decide.

  11. Trump is not in power. He is known to puff and bluster as a campaign tactic without really intending to follow through (e.g., “lock her up”). Unless and until he is in power, your acting so aghast at his rhetoric is little more than hyperventilating.

    1. Trump is running for office. He wanted to follow through on “lock her up” but wasn’t able to. He wants to follow through now. He is a fascist wannabe, and he should be called out for it.

    1. So I read the article you linked to. It doesn’t say Trump did anything. It says Manafort gave a Russian consultant, suspected of being a Russian intelligence agent, some polling data. It doesn’t even say the Russians did anything with that data. It says the Russians were not able to use it to influence the election. To the contrary, it says Manafort’s reason for giving it was simply to demonstrate he was an insider, so as to drum up business for himself:

      Manafort told Insider the purpose of sending the polling data to Kilimnik was not to help elect Trump by aiding the Russians in their attempts to undermine the election but rather to lay the groundwork for future business deals. “It was meant to show how Clinton was vulnerable,” he said. By his account, he was trying to use his influence with the future US president to extract money from pro-Russia oligarchs.

      As for what Mueller said, it was patently absurd as anyone familiar with the law knows. A prosecutor or investigator’s job is never to exonerate anyone. It is only to see if there is probable cause to charge with a crime. There wasn’t, so anything Mueller said about “we weren’t able to exonerate” has absolutely no meaning. But TDS people will jump on it as if it vindicates their position, when it doesn’t.

      1. Tom,
        I did not know of anyone who was still undecided after the RNC and DNC had their picks in 2016.
        One half of the country believed the Russia hoax and some still do to this day.

  12. Its fine for Congress to practice oversight, but not the Executive Branch?

    Again, this is Trump doing his own wet work. A life long Politician would have already picked his heads of key agencies and they would have created back door communications. Done a bunch of 702 searches into the personel at several of the media outlets, and social media megaphones. Started gathering blackmail information and made an example out of a couple of sacrificial lambs.

    1. It is not “fine” for Congress to “practice oversight” of what people publish. The first amendment forbids it, whether by Congress or the executive.

        1. Congress can scrutinize their business dealings, or any government interference with them. It can NOT scrutinize what they publish. If it does, it is violating the constitution.

          And don’t think the news industry is special; the same applies to anyone. It’s unconstitutional to inquire into any person’s exercise of his freedom of speech and of the press, i.e. his right to say or to publish whatever he likes. The news industry pretends that the “freedom of the press” refers to it, but it doesn’t.

    2. “ A lifelong politician would have already picked his heads of key agencies [who] would have created back door communications….” “…gathering blackmail information…” making an example out of a couple of sacrificial lambs.”

      Somehow, I don’t think the founders envisioned their new government working.

      1. But that is exactly how it has been working. How it has always work. There was a shadowy figure years ago that operated just that way. Somebody no one has heard of, JE Hoover was the name.

  13. I don’t care about the media….I care that DC is 100% corrupt for Democrats
    DOJ, DHS, CIA, FBI, IRS, CDC, etc

    I want every single person involved in the Russian Hoax jailed….ACTUAL sedition!
    I want everyone involved in the January 6th entrapment JAILED…starting with Pelosi!

    I want POWER taken from Democrats….ending aid to cities, states and colleges!

    1. @guyventer: Agree….Hillary Clinton, a hubris besotted, self-aggrandizing, self-satisfied pile of moral and ethical turpitude who is still given cred. She is invited to participate in public conferences and pontificates to the citizenry. Her ‘charitable’ organization is now insinuating itself into Ukrainian ‘relief’. Her political campaign was factually proved to have perpetrated an outright fraud upon the FISA court, the consequences of which became a debacle of years which haunts us to this very day. She has yet to be cast aside and run out of town on a rail. This is the sort that is tolerated by those which voted for and installed the current administration. Do not send to know who won the vote. Rather send to know who cast it. We have seen the enemy…and it is us.

  14. Nothing wrong with little investigation. It’s not like he wants to burn it down. We should dig into “Comcast Files” and see what we can find.

      1. “Any government investigation is censorship and violates the first amendment.”

        You mean like armed FBI at Project Veritas???
        Let’s hear the apologist….

        1. The FBI said it was investigating an actual crime that it alleged O’Keefe had committed. Now I don’t trust the FBI at all, and I think they were really trying to shut O’Keefe up and thus violating the constitution. But if what they said were true, then they’d have been justified in raiding him.

          1. There was no crime. There was no need to knock the door in and pull someone out in his underwear. There was no violent threat. There was no violence. There was no right for his personal journalistic notes to be reviewed. There was no cause. There was no crime.

            The word if is very powerful, for it can be used under any circumstance. “if what they said “ is a horrible argument.

            If a question existed, the FBI could have knocked and followed the law.

            Whoever authorized this should be investigated and possibly put in jail.

        1. For (alleged) actual crimes, not for what they wrote. Being a reporter doesn’t get you out of having to obey the same laws as everyone else. There’s no “news industry privilege” in the constitution. But the constitution does forbid investigating anyone for what they say or publish.

  15. Donald Trump woke up a lot of people when he coined and popularized the term “Fake News”. The infestation of our media has to be exterminated, root and branch. Let them scream all they want. They brought this on themselves.

    1. Trump coined the phrase for today’s usage. If you prefer, one could say he reinvented an unused phrase to become a powerful and truthful phrase of the day.

      The left is devoid of content, so they concentrate on trivial matters. That is what one has to do when one can’t think.

      1. S .Meyer,
        “The left is devoid of content, so they concentrate on trivial matters. That is what one has to do when one can’t think.”
        That is a common thread I have noticed of our leftist friends, the lack of critical thinking. They always resort to the trivial. Heck, even Dennis had to resort to some rambling nonsense of the bears and the colors the good professor used in his column concerning the corruption of Menendez.
        How dumb is that argument?
        And they are the best the DNC has?
        No wonder the Democrats lose in all the polls.

  16. “… It is often the focus of my warnings that we have drifted into a type of de facto state media by consent rather than coercion. …”
    If Trump gets elected, that disproves the “de facto state media by consent ” theory.

    Media via State run Syndication is more like it.

  17. What are the laws regarding news stations broadcasting what they know to be lies? Are these only civil laws and not criminal? Especially when the intent is to knowingly lie to influence the results of an election.

    I certainly believe in the first amendment but what do we do when the media has been corrupted to only tell half truths?

    1. @Anonymous: RE: “I certainly believe in the first amendment but what do we do when the media has been corrupted to only tell half truths?” Agree! Making known to the general public that media source[s] are reckless is not suppressing the First Amendment. Rather, it is enhancing it and encouraging the responsible use of that right.

    2. What do we do? We counter their lies. But there are no laws that can be used against them, and Congress CAN’T make any such laws. If you disagree then your claim to believe in the first amendment is a lie.

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