Subscription war on ‘fake news’: WaPo, NYT ousted from White House, federal agencies told to follow lead
No love is lost between US president and a large part of the American journalistic community. Trump repeatedly derided them as “fake news” and “enemies of the people.” He was accused in response of being a man-child and a wannabe dictator.
The president’s criticisms were not always without merit, considering how many times the coverage of the Russiagate saga turned out to be inaccurate or even completely false, and always in the same anti-Trump direction.Also on rt.com ‘Fake news’ is okay if it’s about #RussiaGate: Top 7 fake ‘collusion’ stories the media pushed
This week, Donald Trump delivered his latest salvo against the critical US press, announcing his desire to cancel subscriptions for the printed versions of the New York Times and the Washington Post, two of his most consistent detractors. “They’re fake,” he explained to Fox News host Sean Hannity on Monday. Neither newspaper was delivered to the White House on Thursday morning, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The Trump administration is now strongly urging federal agencies to drop their subscriptions too.
“Not renewing subscriptions across all federal agencies will be a significant cost saving – hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars will be saved,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham told the WSJ without offering further details.Also on rt.com Trump campaign threatens to SUE CNN for ‘unfair, unfounded, unethical & unlawful’ attacks on president
It’s not clear if this promise of a scorched earth bombing, targeting the two newspapers’ bottom line, would be as comprehensive as it may be. If it is, WaPo and the Times would obviously lose not only subscription fees but also some of the clout they have with advertisers, if the print editions are expelled from coffee tables and stands in places of power across the US.
On the other hand, the Trump administration has a record of backtracking on the decisions taken over the president’s feud with the media, like reinstating White House credentials of CNN reporter Jim Acosta in November last year. Some people, including WaPo columnist Megan McArdle, suggested the move may even benefit the newspapers, since Americans would rush to defend the free press by subscribing more.
President Trump may order federal agencies to end their subscriptions to the Washington Post. I'm betting lots of folks out there would like to help make up those lost $$$ by subscribing, or if they already do, giving the gift of the Post to a loved one: https://t.co/hnAjnA01vr— Megan McArdle (@asymmetricinfo) October 24, 2019
The US journalistic community is taking a stance of indignant outrage in response to Trump’s treatment of the two newspapers.
“I have no doubt the hard-working reporters of the New York Times and Washington Post will continue to do quality journalism regardless of whether the president acknowledges he reads them,” said Jonathan Karl, the president of the White House Correspondents’ Association and chief White House correspondent for ABC News.
Pretending to ignore the work of a free press won’t make the news go away or stop reporters from informing the public and holding those in power accountable.
It’s worth noting that cancelling subscriptions to the WaPo and the Times doesn’t mean federal workers won’t be able to read them. Both papers offer free online access to anyone with an email using a ‘.gov’ or ‘.mil’ domain.
For the record, expressing disdain for the press in this way is not unprecedented for a US president. John F. Kennedy did the same thing with the New York Herald Tribune in response to what he saw as unfair coverage by the Republican-leaning paper. The subscription was renewed after tempers cooled.
Not the first. JFK was angry at the New York Herald Tribune and ordered Salinger to cancel it. Salinger ignored him the first few times but finally carried out the order. JFK was chagrined when news leaked out and had to get bootleg copies until the subscription was restored. https://t.co/bgyndQhEp5— Peter Baker (@peterbakernyt) October 24, 2019
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