Pentagon orders Stars and Stripes shutdown, Internet tells Trump to 'cut 10% of your golf' and save the paper
The Pentagon has reportedly ordered the military's independent newspaper, Stars and Stripes, to cease publication at the end of the month, despite Congressional efforts to continue funding the century-old publication. According to a memo obtained by USA Today, the Pentagon ordered the publisher of the news organization to present a plan that “dissolves the Stars and Stripes” by September 15, including "specific timeline for vacating government-owned/leased space worldwide.” acting director of the Pentagon's Defense Media Activity, Colonel Paul Haverstick Jr., the memo’s author, wrote, “The last newspaper publication (in all forms) will be September 30, 2020.”
According to the Pentagon website, Defense Media Activity is “a mass media and education organization that creates and distributes Department of Defense content across a variety of platforms to audiences around the world”.
As per USA Today, the memo ordering the publication’s dissolution claimed that the administration had the authority to make this move under the president’s fiscal year 2021 defense department budget request. It reportedly zeroed out the $15.5 million annual subsidies for Stars and Stripes.
Members of Congress have objected to the defunding move for months. Senators reportedly sent a letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper this week urging him to reinstate funding. The letter, signed by 15 senators (both Republicans and Democrats) also warned Esper that the department was legally prohibited from canceling a budget program while a temporary continuing resolution funding the federal government is in effect. “Stars and Stripes is an essential part of our nation's freedom of the press that serves the very population charged with defending that freedom,” the senators said in the letter.
Senator Lindsey Graham, in a separate letter to Esper in late August, also reportedly opposed the move, calling Stars and Stripes “a valued “hometown newspaper” for the members of the Armed Forces, their families, and civilian employees across the globe.” He added that “as a veteran who has served overseas, I know the value that the Stars and Stripes brings to its readers.”
Moves to shut down the publication began in February as per The Guardian, when the Pentagon announced plans to reallocate funding to projects including the Space Force, the much-criticized project of President Donald Trump. Ernie Gates, the Stars and Stripes ombudsman, told The Associated Press on Friday that shutting the paper down “would be fatal interference and permanent censorship of a unique First Amendment organization that has served U.S. troops reliably for generations.”
Stars and Stripes was first briefly produced in Bloomfield, Missouri in November 1861, during the Civil War. The paper later began consistent publication during World War I. After the war, publication ended. It restarted once again in 1942 during World War II, providing wartime news written by troops specifically for troops in battle. The publication, which gets funding from the Defense Department, has since provided news free of government censorship, often critical of military and civilian commanders. It is editorially independent of the Pentagon.
On social media, the news about the Stars and Stripes shutting down has received heavy condemnation. And a majority of that condemnation was directed towards Trump. One Twitter user wrote, “Trump appears to have ordered the end of Stars & Stripes because active-duty military personnel don't support him enough. What a petty pathetic excuse for a man.”
Trump appears to have ordered the end of Stars & Stripes because active-duty military personnel don't support him enough.— Pé (@4everNeverTrump) September 4, 2020
What a petty pathetic excuse for a man.
One Twitter user wrote, “Trump's golf trips have cost ≈$140 million. Stars and Stripes costs $15.5 million a year. It's so vital ‘Eisenhower once reprimanded Gen. George Patton for trying to censor Mauldin cartoons he didn’t like.’ And Trump shutters it to spite the troops,” to which another said, “THIS is Trump in a nutshell. Trump golf trips so far $140 million. Benefit literally no other American except Trump. Stars And Stripes costs $15.5 million to print per year. Is read by essentially all active military. Trump? Cut 10% of your golf, let the Stars & Stripes live.”
THIS is Trump in a nutshell.— Tomi T Ahonen (@tomiahonen) September 4, 2020
Trump golf trips so far $140 million. Benefit literally no other American except Trump.
Stars And Stripes costs $15.5 million to print per year. Is read by essentially all active military.
Trump? Cut 10% of your golf, let the Stars & Stripes live https://t.co/F0myJrj3oi
Another noted, “A little ironic that one day after Trump posts about how much ‘respect’ he has for our military, we receive news that he has shut down the Stars & Stripes publication that has been circulating since 1861.”
A little ironic that one day after Trump posts about how much "respect" he has for our military, we receive news that he has shut down the Stars & Stripes publication that has been circulating since 1861— 🌊 𝕊𝕥𝕖𝕧𝕖 𝕄𝕖𝕝𝕔𝕙𝕖𝕣 🌊 (@Smelcher2) September 4, 2020
One Twitter user wrote, “Shutting down The Stars & Stripes when you've just been accused of belittling the troops makes you look pretty guilty. Another 'stroke' of genius.”
Shutting down The Stars & Stripes when you've just beeen accused of belittling the troops makes you look pretty guilty.— Prince hated Trump too! #VoteBlueNoMatterWho (@InUrFace46) September 4, 2020
Another 'stroke' of genius. 🙄