Newseum rethinks the selling of 'fake news'

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Newseum's "fake news" T-shirt Credit: Newseum

After an avalanche of negative attention directed at its "fake news," "alternative fact" and "Make America Great Again" apparel, the Newseum is no longer selling, well, at least one of its inflammatory items: the "You Are Very Fake News" T-shirt.

"We made a mistake and we apologize," Sonya Gavankar, director of public relations for the journalism museum, wrote in a statement emailed to Ad Age. "A free press is an essential part of our democracy and journalists are not the enemy of the people."

Gavankar wrote, though, that the museum, which states its mission is "to increase public understanding of the importance of a free press and the First Amendment," is standing by its MAGA products as part of its dedication to free speech.

"As an organization that celebrates the rights of people from all political spectrums to express themselves freely, we've historically made all types of political merchandise available for our guests to purchase," Gavankar writes. "That has included former and current presidential slogans and imagery and merchandise from all political parties."

As of Monday morning, the Newseum's site was still selling an "alternative facts" T-shirt and MAGA hat. However, a later refresh of the store's site found the hat removed, though a MAGA button and a "Great Again" long sleeve shirt were still available. Gavankar could not be reached for comment on the hat's removal, nor were calls to the museum's gift shop answered.

The outcry over the Newseum's products came as President Trump has continued his attacks on the press, calling the media "the enemy of the people" and popularizing the term "fake news."

On Friday, a C-Span caller called in a death threat against Brian Stelter, CNN senior media correspondent and host of "Reliable Sources," and CNN anchor Don Lemon.

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