The Newseum in Washington, D.C. Photo by Another Believer, via Wikimedia Commons.
The Newseum, the Washington, D.C. attraction whose mission is to “increase public understanding of the importance of a free press and the First Amendment,” has pulled a line of shirts featuring the phrase “You Are Very Fake News” after a backlash from journalists and the general public. The T-shirts were removed Saturday from the Newseum’s online store and gift shop, and the institution, which features a memorial to the 2,323 reporters, photographers, and broadcasters who have died reporting the news, issued an apology.
“We made a mistake and we apologize,” the statement read. “A free press is an essential part of our democracy and journalists are not the enemy of the people.”
In an era when the question “do you think the media is the enemy of the people?” has to be asked of the administration of the U.S. President, journalists like the Washingtonian’s Andrew Beaujon and Brittany Shepherd have pointed out the inherent fallacy in balancing selling Hillary Clinton and James Comey’s books while also peddling shirts emblazoned with “Fake News,” a preferred phrase of President Trump.
“‘Fake news’ is not a political argument that nicely balances, say, a ‘girl power’ bracelet in the shop’s feminism section,” the Beaujon and Shepherd wrote.“It’s a cynical political strategy… as well as a rallying cry for people who view newsgathering errors not as the inevitable result of human endeavor but as confirmation of malice.”