The White House has distributed a list of 78 terrorist attacks to support US President Donald Trump’s claim that the media is failing to properly report them.
The list also includes multiple errors and spelling mistakes, including ‘San Bernadino’, and for no apparent reason excludes terror attacks in Israel.
The release comes after the US president told military leaders in Tampa, Florida, on Monday that there have been attacks all over Europe but “in many cases the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it.”
In many cases the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it
US President Donald Trump
He added: “They have their reasons, and you understand that,” but did not expand.
Later the White House press secretary Sean Spicer was asked about specific attacks that had not been reported to which he replied: “We’ll provide a list later. There’s several instances … There’s a lot of instances that have occurred where I don’t think they’ve gotten the coverage it deserved.”
That list, released to media outlets, included a “timeline” of domestic and international incidents from September 2014 to December 2016.
Some, such as last year’s mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and the killing of 129 people in Paris in November 2015, received huge coverage.
But officials claimed that “most” of the attacks were not adequately reported by western media outlets, CNN reported.
The list hops from Afghanistan to Algeria to Australia but, without explanation, does not mention Israel, where incidents included a bus bombing in Jerusalem last year, carried out by a 19-year-old Palestinian, that injured 20 people.
The Trump administration was widely criticised last week for releasing a statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day that made no mention of Jews or anti-Semitism.
The document also includes spelling mistakes such as “attaker” instead of “attacker” and “Denmakr” instead of “Denmark”.
There have been similar errors in official communications in recent days, including references to Theresa May as “Teresa” and a reference to Malcolm Turnbull as the “president” of Australia when it should be “prime minister”.
The catalogue begins with an attack by Abdul Numan Haider, who wounded two police officers in a knife attack in Melbourne in September 2014. It ends with an atrocity involving Anis Amri, who drove a truck into a crowded market in Berlin last December, killing 12 and injuring 48.
Lindsay Walters, a White House spokesperson, claimed that the list demonstrates how terrorist attacks are losing perceived news value because of their frequency.
“The real point here is that these terrorists attacks are so pervasive at this point that they do not spark the wall-to-wall coverage they once did,” she said via email.
“If you look back just a few years ago, any one of these attacks would have been ubiquitous in every news outlet, and now they’re happening so often – at a rate of more than once every two weeks, according to the list – that networks are not devoting to each of them the same level of coverage they once did.
“This cannot be allowed to become the ‘new normal’, and the president, for one, is not going to be satisfied until the American people are much safer and more secure.”
Earlier, Spicer told reporters travelling on Air Force One that Trump believes attacks are not “unreported” but “underreported.”
He said: “He felt members of the media don’t always cover some of those events to the extent that other events might get covered.”
But David Gergen, a political analyst and former adviser to four US presidents, condemned Trump’s remarks.
“I think this is one of the most outrageous claims the president has made, among many, because it really says, basically, that the press is not doing its job because it has its own political agenda,” he told CNN.
“It doesn’t want you to know the truth about how dangerous terrorism is. It doesn’t want to be out there, it’s just pulling a leftist agenda on you, which is clearly not true.”
Gergen added: “He engages in these falsehoods without producing any serious evidence. The list includes San Bernardino, as if the press didn’t cover that sufficiently. It’s just astonishing and it’s beneath the dignity of the presidency and I think it tears at the fabric of what holds us together as a people when we can’t trust each other, we can’t trust the White House, and he’s telling us we can’t trust the press. This is the way democracies come unravelled.”
This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as:
Media underreporting terrorism, Trump says
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