- The Washington Times - Friday, January 20, 2017

President Trump’s televised dispute with CNN anchor Jim Acosta last week resulted in the channel being barred from TV screens inside the Valparaiso Family YMCA in Indiana.

The station was banned from more than 20 televisions scattered throughout the facility’s workout room last week after more than one member complained to staffers about being subjected to “fake news,” the Northwest Indiana Times reported Wednesday.

“The timing of this was very peculiar because I think it was basically a day or two after Mr. Trump claimed that CNN was fake news,” longtime Valparaiso YMCA member Greg Quartucci told a local CBS affiliate. “I think they switched to the Cooking Channel.”

“CNN has been on a TV at the Y for those 15 years, and I am disappointed that the Y removed CNN because of complaints,” Mr. Quartucci told the Chicago Tribune.

Debra Koeppen, the YMCA’s chief development officer, admitted the facility stopped airing CNN on its televisions after complaints made following a Jan. 11 press conference where Mr. Trump characterized the station as “fake news,” but said the TVs were changed back after the decision was brought to the attention of leadership, the Tribune reported.

The squabble has since caused the Y to adopt a new television policy, however, which prohibits the facility from showing CNN, Fox News and all other national news channels.

“In order to eliminate perceived political bias associated with national news outlets, the Valparaiso Family YMCA will only be showing local news channels in the future,” Robert Wanek, CEO of the Valpo Y, said in a statement this week.

“We just want the Y to be a haven for wellness where people come together and have a sense of belonging, gain new relationships and achieve their personal goals,” he told the Tribune. “We will display local news moving forward.”

Mr. Quartucci, the longtime member, said the Y’s decision amounted to “blatant censorship.”

“It is a Christian organization. It’s all about freedom and opportunity, and what they’re doing, I personally think is against what they have on their walls and against what they have as their mission,” he told the CBS affiliate.

While websites that purposefully publish false and misleading articles gained notoriety for their emergence in the run up to the 2016 presidential election, the term “fake news” was revived last week when Mr. Trump refused questions from CNN during a pre-inauguration press conference.

“I’m not going to give you a question. I’m not going to give you a question,” he told Mr. Acosta. “You are fake news.”

“I think that there’s something worse than fake news and that’s the denial of real news,” Mr. Acosta told CNN colleague Anderson Cooper afterward.

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