White House officials say that federal agencies will be instructed not to renew subscriptions to The New York Times and The Washington Post, though it isn’t immediately clear what date it would go into effect.
“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 said in an email to The Wall Street Journal on Thursday, October 24.
President Donald Trump first floated the idea that he would terminate the White House’s subscription during an interview with Fox News anchor Sean Hannity on Monday night.
“We don’t even want it in the White House anymore,” Trump said, referring to The New York Times. “We’re going to probably terminate that and The Washington Post.”
On Tuesday, Press Secretary Grisham told The Hill the White House had “no plans to renew them.”
Trump has regularly criticized the media for what he believes is unfair coverage. During his interview on Fox News, Trump reiterated one of his favorite attacks, calling the two publications “fake news.”
Jonathan Karl, the president of the White House Correspondents’ Association and chief White House correspondent for ABC News, said on Thursday, “I have no doubt the hardworking reporters of The New York Times and [The] Washington Post will continue to do quality journalism, regardless of whether the president acknowledges he reads them. 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.”
Trump isn’t the only president in history to cancel subscriptions to newspapers. In 1962, John F. Kennedy ordered his staff to cancel their subscription to The New York Herald Tribune because he didn’t like its coverage of him. Like Trump now, Kennedy’s decision was mocked for being childlike.
“If all members of Congress followed the President’s lead, we would find that we were reading no newspapers at all,” Steven Derounian, a congressman from New York, said after Kennedy announced that he would replace the unflattering paper with The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “It might be well to remind President Kennedy that on Jan. 20, 1961, he was inaugurated as president, not coronated as king.”