President Donald Trump on Friday ordered the reversal of a decision to shutter the Stars and Stripes military news outlet, which has its origins in the American Civil War.
In a previously unpublicized internal memo, the Department of Defense had directed the paper to shut down by Sept. 15, USA Today reported.
News that Stars and Stripes would be dissolved sparked a flurry of criticism, but Trump announced Friday that the independent military news source will live on.
The United States of America will NOT be cutting funding to @starsandstripes magazine under my watch. It will continue to be a wonderful source of information to our Great Military!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 4, 2020
“The United States of America will NOT be cutting funding to @starsandstripes magazine under my watch,” the president tweeted. “It will continue to be a wonderful source of information to our Great Military!”
Stars and Stripes describes itself as an “independent news and information” outlet directed at the U.S. military community, “including active-duty servicemembers, DoD civilians, veterans, contractors, and their families.”
The paper notes it is also “governed by the principles of the First Amendment.”
The outlet boasted a circulation of around 7 million for its U.S. weekly edition in the 2019 fiscal year.
Stars and Stripes also garnered 38 million pageviews on its website last year.
According to the Library of Congress, the first known edition of a newspaper for U.S. soldiers was published by volunteers from Illinois who were serving under General Ulysses S. Grant after they defeated Confederate troops in Missouri.
The idea of soldiers writing and publishing news for other troops stuck.
“Sixteen years later, in October 1877, the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) initiated a new publication, the National Tribune, a newspaper for Civil War Union veterans; later, the banner Stars and Stripes was added to its masthead,” according to the Library of Congress.
“When the G.A.R. ceased publication prior to World War I, a private corporation continued to publish the newspaper for veterans of U.S. armed forces under the same composite name: National Tribune Stars and Stripes (Washington, D.C.).”
During World War I, the first official military publication called Stars and Stripes was published in Paris, though the final edition of that outlet came in 1919.
“During World War II, Stars and Stripes was again chosen as the name of the official U.S. military newspaper for Armed Forces personnel stationed overseas. First published in London, it was administered by the Office of War Information in the newly established Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force,” the Library of Congress says.
“Since then this same Stars and Stripes has published European editions as well as Pacific editions for the U.S. Armed Forces.”
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