November 30, 2017

A T-shirt calling for violence against journalists was for sale at until RTDA sent a letter requesting its removal. 

The "Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some assembly required." shirt made news at a rally for then-presidential candidate Donald Trump in November of last year. 

The Radio Television Digital News Association reported Thursday that, along with Voice of the First Amendment Task Force, it sent a letter to the national retailer and the shirt was removed five hours later. 

RTDNA's letter included that almost three dozen journalists have been assaulted in the U.S. this year and that close to 50 around the world have been killed for their work. 

"It is our belief that at the least, T-shirts or any other items bearing such words simply inflame the passions of those who either don’t like, or don’t understand, the news media. At worst, they openly encourage violence targeting journalists. We believe they are particularly inflammatory within the context of today’s vitriolic political and ideological environment."

RTDNA recognized Wal-Mart's First Amendment right to sell the shirts, the letter continued, "and the right of consumers to purchase and wear them. However, just because Walmart has the right to sell the shirts, that doesn’t mean it is the right thing to do."

The shirts are available online elsewhere, so if you're looking for a counter T-shirt statement that supports journalism organizations, here are a few options. 

For $25, you can get The New York Times' "Truth, It's more important now than ever" tee.

For the same price, you can wear The Washington Post's "Democracy Dies In Darkness," tee. 

The Los Angeles Times' "Journalism Matters #nottheenemy" tee is a bit cheaper at $18.95. 

And you can make this T-shirt from BuzzFeed's Another Round podcast as political as you need to:

Does your news organization sell a statement T-shirt that we should include? Let us know in the comments, via email or on Twitter. And here's more on a few that were made in response to the original shirt. 

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Kristen Hare teaches local journalists the critical skills they need to serve and cover their communities as Poynter's local news faculty member. Before joining faculty…
Kristen Hare

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