Walmart Pulls Shirt That Suggested Lynching Journalists

Multinational retailer Walmart landed itself in hot water when the company’s online store was discovered to be selling a t-shirt that joked about lynching journalists.

Radio Television Digital News Association, a group dedicated to protecting freedom of the press, contacted Walmart to ask that the corporation remove the disturbing shirt, which read: “Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some assembly required.” Walmart responded by pulling the shirt from sale.

There’s no chance for a misunderstanding here — this t-shirt design is a troubling “joke” that incites violence against journalists.

How did this happen? Well, the fault cannot be placed entirely on Walmart. Their online store, similar to Amazon Marketplace, allows third parties to list and sell goods. In this situation, the seller came from Teespring, a website which allows people to create custom clothing items.

Though Teespring grants its users a good deal of latitude in designing products, its terms of service make quite clear that certain subjects — such as those promoting violence — are forbidden. It’s quite puzzling, then, to see that this controversial shirt managed to be put into production.

The t-shirt’s message is one of the more overt examples of rising animosity directed against the press in the United States. While resentment against the media has gradually risen over the past decade, it appears to be approaching critical mass in more recent years — evolving into a near violent hatred.

It isn’t particularly difficult to understand how and why this shift came about — and it’s no coincidence that those who tend to be most hostile towards journalists are Trump supporters.

After all, looking back to his campaign, the would-be president routinely spewed vitriol against any and all media outlets which did not present him in a favorable light — effectively popularizing the term “fake news.”

It isn’t simply that President Trump has participated in wars of words with the press through his Twitter account or by restricting their White House access. He has actually threatened to prosecute journalists who are simply exercising their First Amendment rights.

Between President Trump’s vicious rhetoric and attempts at violating Americans’ constitutional press rights, it should not come as a shock that the next logical step would be for his fanatical supporters to consider lynching journalists.

And this is dangerous terrain to explore. Even though this hate speech merely appears as a t-shirt slogan, how long will it be before the United States becomes a place where members of the free press must fear for their safety?

Photo Credit: Mike Mozart/Flickr

58 comments

Linda W
Linda W1 months ago

Awful! The press is needed more than ever right now.

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Jamie Clemons
Jamie Clemons1 months ago

Too much hate on both sides of the aisle.

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Mary B
Mary B1 months ago

Hmm, looks like quite a few people didn't read the article closely enough if at all. We all skip over stuff from time to time, and misinterpret a word here and there, but being awake and aware requires being present and staying focused.

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Mary B
Mary B1 months ago

Frank Kling, unfortunately, Walmart ALLOWS 3rd party sellers to USE their on line store to sell custom made items and they have policies in place that prohibit stuff promoting violence. Apparently they have no grown ups available to watch the kids.

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Lisa M
Lisa M1 months ago

Trump trash.

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Winn Adams
Winn A1 months ago

I NEVER shop at Wal Mart. Unless they treat their employees better with good health care coverage you will not see me spending my hard earned money in any of their stores.

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Richard E Cooley
Richard E Cooley1 months ago

Sad. Trump's america.

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Frank Kling
Frank Kling1 months ago

Donn M says Wal Mart was not selling the shirts. Instead someone was not paying attention.

Is this the biggest line of BS you have heard for some time. And why are the men known for making such patently stupid remarks, not once but frequently on this site?

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Frank Kling
Frank Kling1 months ago

@ Elaine W

Thank you for sharing great words of wisdom. Well done.

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Elaine W
Elaine W1 months ago

People used to care if something was true or not. Cult followers are happy to join a mesmerized mob.

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