The Newseum in Washington, D.C., is an interactive museum that celebrates the role and history of the media in America.
So, what are among the top-selling items in the museum’s gift shop and through its online store? Red caps that say “Make America Great Again,” and T-shirts that say “You Are Very Fake News.”
But the popularity of items associated with President Trump has been irritating many members of the media, Poynter.org, the website for a media think tank, reported.
“Your ‘fake news’ t-shirts aren’t funny, @Newseum(.) They make a mockery of the reporters, whose name you have inscribed on your walls, who died for their vocation,” reporter Leigh Giangreco tweeted.
The mission of Newseum, a nonprofit enterprise, is to “increase public understanding of the importance of a free press and the First Amendment,” according to its website.
As for sales of merchandise at the museum, Sonya Gavankar, a Newseum spokeswoman, told Poynter that “the MAGA hat and the FBI hat are two of our best-selling items.”
She added that the merchandise offered for sale shows how the museum tries to foster an environment that encourages free expression.
“As a nonpartisan organization, people with differing viewpoints feel comfortable visiting the Newseum,” she said, “and one of our greatest strengths is that we’re champions not only of a free press but also of free speech.”
But a member of the White House press corps, on condition of anonymity, objected to the Newseum selling political merchandise, adding that “fake news” apparel was an “insult to journalists,” Poynter reported.
“I go to the Newseum a lot and actually saw these T-shirts previously,” the reporter told Poynter. “I remember commenting to my friend how inappropriate I thought it was to sell this anti-press material at a museum that celebrates our industry.
“’Fake news’ is a phrase that undercuts our profession and the hard-working journalists who practice the craft,” the reporter continued. “Selling clothing that is blatantly anti-press further promotes hatred towards journalists.”
Another reporter Valerie Insinna, tweeted that she will no longer be visiting the museum.
“I won’t be recommending it to visitors, and I will not be taking my family and friends there ever again,” she wrote.
Other Newseum visitors who object to the Trump-related merchandise might consider just buying a Republican or Democratic coffee mug. The Newseum has those, too.