At the end of a week in which getting the White House to clarify whether it considers the news media “the enemy of the people” was a major story, Poynter made a revelation after visiting the Newseum’s website. The Washington attraction “dedicated to the importance of a free press and the first amendment” was selling “You are very fake news” T-shirts.
Before abruptly reversing course on Saturday, the museum sold the T-shirts alongside Make America Great Again hats and other items that could appeal to supporters of President Trump, who popularized the term “fake news” and frequently battles with news outlets and reporters he says are unfair to him. During a rally in Pennsylvania on Thursday, he used the term, and it prompted chants of “CNN sucks” from the crowd. And recently Trump’s rhetoric has raised concerns that the hostility he has cultivated among his supporters could lead to violence.
It is against this tense backdrop that reporters reacted to the disclosure of the shirts for sale at the Newseum. Most were not amused.