WASHINGTON – The Newseum, which features the First Amendment on the outside of its building, has some items for sale in the gift shop that are getting a lot of attention – “Make America Great Again” baseball hats and T-shirts emblazoned with the words “You’re all fake news.”
The “fake news” shirt is on sale for $19.95, and the “MAGA” hat goes for $14.99 – $10 less than the official one.
“I think it’s smart of them, they are capturing an audience,” said Washington resident Robert Goldberg while looking at the “Trump” stand at the museum’s store, which features mugs, “talking pens,” pins and bobbleheads with the president’s likeness. “From a marketing perspective, they nailed it on the head.”
The Newseum, a Washinton D.C. nonprofit, is working to “increase public understanding of the importance of a free press and the First Amendment” by presenting the story of the media and its role throughout history, according to its website.
The outside of the building features newspaper fronts from all over the country and exhibits inside serve as a tribute to journalism and journalists.
Trump has often accused the media of covering him unfavorably and repeatedly attacked reporters in front of angry crowds of supporters at his rallies, using the phrase “fake news” to delegitimize the press and spread the idea that the media is “the enemy of the American people.”
“It’s upsetting. Obviously, that statement is a ‘Trumpism’,” said Stu Madison, 75, from Stamford, Connecticut. “It sets a very bad tone. It brings back to 1937, Hitler, Germany.”
The Newseum defended its choice to feature MAGA and “fake news” slogans as a free speech issue.
“As a nonpartisan organization people with differing viewpoints feel comfortable visiting the Newseum, and one of our greatest strengths is that we’re champions not only of a free press, but also of free speech,” said Newseum Public Relations Manager Sonya Gavankar in a statement.
Not all museum goers were taken aback by the hats and shirts.
“It doesn’t bug me, because they had Obama ones. He’s the president and they had any other president’s,” said Emily, a 19-year-old from San Antonio, Texas, who declined to provide her last name.