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.

"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.