Newseum, museum dedicated to free press, selling 'Fake News' t-shirts

The Newseum, an institution with a mission "to increase public understanding of the importance of a free press and the First Amendment," is now selling t-shirts featuring President Donald Trump's favorite pejorative against the media.

Shirts with the phrase, "You Are Very Fake News," emblazoned on the front are for sale for $19.97 on the merchandise page on the Washington, D.C.-based journalism museum's website, along with a version of the familiar red "Make American Great Again" hat.

There is a wide variety of clothing with political messages or references for sale through Newseum, including one with the words "alternative fact: a false statement delivered with deliberate intent to mislead or to deceive," a reference to a phrase a top Trump adviser used to defend then-White House press secretary Sean Spicer for inaccurately describing the size of Trump's inauguration crowd.

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Inside the Newseum in Washington, D.C.
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Inside the Newseum in Washington, D.C.
State of the art digital control room with HD monitors displaying worldwide news from Newseum Museum, Washington, DC (Photo by Visions of America/UIG via Getty Images)
A Bell news helicopter hangs in the atrium of the Newseum, a five-storey building dedicated to the history of news gathering, on Pennsylvania Avenue in northwest Washington April 4, 2008. The $450 million Newseum, which opens to the public on April 11, features 14 high-tech interactive exhibits exploring news history, electronic news, photojournalism, coverage of the September 11, 2001 attacks and a memorial to the over 1,800 journalists from around the world who died or were killed in the pursuit of news globally over the decades. REUTERS/Jason Reed (UNITED STATES)
The Newseum, a five-storey building dedicated to the history of news gathering, is seen on Pennsylvania Avenue in northwest Washington April 4, 2008. The $450 million Newseum, which opens to the public on April 11, features 14 high-tech interactive exhibits exploring news history, electronic news, photojournalism, coverage of the September 11, 2001 attacks and a memorial to the over 1,800 journalists from around the world who died or were killed in the pursuit of news globally over the decades. REUTERS/Jason Reed (UNITED STATES)
A wall featuring the faces of hundreds of journalists, photographers and TV crew members who died or were killed in the pursuit of news around the world is seen on display at the Newseum, a five-storey building dedicated to the history of news gathering, on Pennsylvania Avenue in northwest Washington April 4, 2008. The $450 million Newseum which opens to the public on April 11, features 14 high-tech interactive exhibits exploring news history, electronic news, photojournalism, coverage of the September 11, 2001 attacks and a memorial to the over 1,800 journalists from around the world who died or were killed in the pursuit of news globally over the decades. REUTERS/Jason Reed (UNITED STATES)
Replica of printing press used by John Dunlap to make broadside copies of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, on display at the Newseum, Washington DC (Photo by Visions of America/UIG via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 30: Vice president of the Newseum, Max Page, right, and Peter Prichard, president, give a Roll Call reporter a tour of the construction of the museum's new location on the corner 6th and Penna., NW. (Photo By Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images)
Veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas reads the names of journalists, photographers and TV crew members who have died or were killed in the pursuit of news gathering around the world during a ceremony in front of a memorial wall at the Newseum, a five-storey building dedicated to the history of news gathering, in Washington April 4, 2008. The $450 million Newseum, which opens to the public on April 11, features 14 high-tech interactive exhibits exploring news history, electronic news, photojournalism, coverage of the September 11, 2001 attacks and a memorial to the over 1,800 journalists from around the world who died or were killed in the pursuit of news globally over the decades. REUTERS/Jason Reed (UNITED STATES)
Statue of Saddam Hussein from collapse of his leadership on display in Newseum Museum, Washington DC (Photo by Visions of America/UIG via Getty Images)
'Newseum' News Museum Globe (Photo by James Leynse/Corbis via Getty Images)
TO GO WITH AFP STORY: US-MEDIA-CULTURE-MUSEUM BY Chris LEFKOW The mangled tv antenna from the World Trade Center anchors the 9/11 exhibit with a wall of that days front pages from around the world at the new Newseum building on April 1, 2008 in Washington, DC. A shrine to journalism which traces the history of the news, the new attraction was built at a cost of 450 million USD and bills itself as the 'World's Most Interactive Museum' and opens its doors to the public this week. AFP PHOTO / TIM SLOAN (Photo credit should read TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)
SLUG: ST-NEWSEUMDATE: 2/26/08CREDIT: BILL O'LEARY / TWP WASHINGTON, DC. The sparkling new Newseum is about to open. For our review: the newspaper front pages, illuminated at night, attract browsers from the foot traffic along Pennsylvania avenue. (Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post/Getty Images)
A quote on the First Amendment by former US Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall is displayed as work continues at the Newseum, a 250,000 square-foot museum dedicated to news, during a tour in Washington, DC, February 21, 2008. Set to open April 11, the Newseum includes 15 theaters, 14 galleries, two state-of-the-art broadcast studios and a 4-D time-travel experience. AFP PHOTO/SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
People read front page stories about legendary broadcast journalist Walter Cronkite outside of the Newseum in Washington July 18, 2009. Former CBS News anchor Cronkite, whose authoritative delivery of news events from the John F. Kennedy assassination to the Apollo moon landing and Vietnam War, made him "the most trusted man in America," died on July 17 at age 92. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas (UNITED STATES OBITUARY MEDIA)
The largest-ever gathering of Pulitzer Prize recipients gather for a celebration honoring the centennial of the Pulitzer Prize at the Newseum in Washington DC January 28, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
People watch U.S. President Barack Obama on a large screen inside the Newseum as he participates in his last news conference of the year in Washington, U.S., December 16, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Coombs
ROSSLYN, UNITED STATES: An unidentified man looks at a display of International newspaper front pages during a visit to the Newseum which opened 18 April in Rosslyn, Virginia. The Newseum is a 50 million USD showcase devoted to the history of journalism. AFP PHOTO Joyce NALTCHAYAN (Photo credit should read JOYCE NALTCHAYAN/AFP/Getty Images)
'Newseum' News Museum Exterior (Photo by James Leynse/Corbis via Getty Images)
The Newseum, 1101 Wilson Blvd., Rosslyn BRIEF DESCRIPTION: Photos from the new news museum Students from Rockville High Schools journalism classes (3) visited the Newseum while on their spring vacation. T :END CAPTION****** Caption By (Photo by Robert A. Reeder/The Washington Post/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 08: Avery Biles, a D.C. fifth grader, takes notes from the daily front pages from newspapers from around the world at the Newseum in Rosslyn, Va. (Photo By Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 30: A worker uses a radial saw at the construction site of the Newseum on the corner 6th and Penna., NW. (Photo By Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images)
Children explore interactive journalism exhibit at Newseum Museum, Washington DC (Photo by Visions of America/UIG via Getty Images)
Replica of printing press used by John Dunlap to make broadside copies of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, on display at the Newseum, Washington DC (Photo by Visions of America/UIG via Getty Images)
Remains of antenna from the top of World Trade Centers with 9/11/01 headlines behind it, on display at the Newseum Museum, Washington DC (Photo by Visions of America/UIG via Getty Images)
Kids learning how to be on-camera reporter in interactive exhibit at the Newseum Museum, Washington, DC (Photo by Visions of America/UIG via Getty Images)
State of the art digital control room with HD monitors displaying worldwide news from Newseum Museum, Washington, DC (Photo by Visions of America/UIG via Getty Images)
The Newseum Museum of News on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC (Photo by Visions of America/UIG via Getty Images)
TO GO WITH AFP STORY: US-MEDIA-CULTURE-MUSEUM BY Chris LEFKOW A four story tall, engraved marble tablet with the words of the first amendment carved on it hangs on the Pennsylvania facade of the new Newseum building on April 1, 2008 in Washington, DC. A shrine to journalism which traces the history of the news, the new attraction was built at a cost of 450 million USD and bills itself as the 'World's Most Interactive Museum' and opens its doors to the public this week. AFP PHOTO / TIM SLOAN (Photo credit should read TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A Bell helicopter, equipped as a television news chopper, hangs in the Great Hall of News, which also features a 90-foot-high atrium and a 40-by-22 foot, high-definition screen, at the Newseum, a 250,000 square-foot museum dedicated to news, during a tour in Washington, DC, February 21, 2008. Set to open April 11, the Newseum includes 15 theaters, 14 galleries, two state-of-the-art broadcast studios and a 4-D time-travel experience. AFP PHOTO/SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
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"All the merchandise in our store goes through a vetting process," Newseum spokeswoman Sonya Gavankar said in an email. "Of course, we're well aware of the political temperature in the country, but we will continue to be a non-partisan organization that champions the rights of all to free speech."

Gavankar added that those particular "Fake News" shirts were meant as a "satirical rebuke," and that the Trump hats have been for sale in the museum's shop since the 2016 campaign.

But the presence of the merchandise, which was first reported by media advocacy group Poynter, has outraged many journalists.

Jeff Jarvis, a professor at CUNY's Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, called presence of the shirt in the online store "an outright attack on journalism."

"It [Newseum] was built entirely to pay tribute to the value of news and the value of truth, and to play into Trump's hands this way is beyond belief," Jarvis said.

"If journalists aren't going to stand up for journalism, who is?" Jarvis added. "It's a form of self-loathing that I can't comprehend."

It's a sentiment echoed by other journalists on social media.

Gavanakar noted that the museum has sold politically-themed gear since it opened in 2008. When President Barack Obama was president, she said, the shop carried items with his image and slogans.

The backlash comes five months after The Washington Post reported that financial troubles may force the Newseum's parent company, the Freedom Forum, to sell the institution's seven-story building.

"I know the museum is in trouble, but if that's what they're going to resorting to for funds, it should just shut down," said Jarvis.

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