On Tuesday, the White House announced it was going to be canceling its subscriptions to the Washington Post and the New York Times, following a news interview with President Donald Trump that took place on the Fox News program “Hannity,” in which the president called both publications “fake.”
On Thursday, it was announced that the embargo on the two of the most highly-regarded newspapers in the country would extend to every federal agency within the executive branch, Axios reported.
White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham justified the decision to cancel subscriptions to federal agencies by citing it as a cost-saving measure for taxpayers.
“Not renewing subscriptions across all federal agencies will be a significant cost saving — hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars will be saved,” she said.
As it turns out, digital access to the Washington Post is free to all federal government workers, per the newspaper’s website on subscription rules.
The move will likely cause great difficulties for both newspapers, as print subscriptions have been struggling to keep up with the change to digital formats at publications across the nation. Long considered the paper of record for the country, the New York Times has touted its ad sales as being noticed by Washington insiders — but with these subscriptions canceled, it will now have a difficult time touting that idea.
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) October 24, 2019
Trump has been at odds with both newspapers, as well as other news media, since the start of his presidency, frequently (and often falsely) labeling them as “fake news” whenever an article came out that depicted him in a negative way.
Lines from two tweets the second week into his presidency give an idea of how Trump viewed the newspapers’ coverage of him.
“[The] coverage about me in the @nytimes and the @washingtonpost [has] been so false and angry that the times actually apologized to its dwindling subscribers and readers. They got me wrong right from the beginning and still have not changed course, and never will. DISHONEST,” Trump wrote in January 2017, per Politico.
In that year alone, Trump, in public statements, called news articles and publications he didn’t like “fake” at least 320 times, FactCheck.org noted. More often than not, the news he was critical of was factual or based on reporting norms that most wouldn’t perceive as being “fake” as Trump alleged it was.