US news media strongly pushed back against President Donald Trump’s bogus claim that the press “doesn’t want to report” on terrorist attacks involving Islamic radicals.
Major media organizations published examples or summaries of their blanket coverage following terror attacks in the past.
They showed that recent attacks in the US and Europe have received heavy media attention, often including live coverage for hours at a time and continuing coverage for days afterward.
Fact checkers debunked Trump’s claim while also listing many attacks that go unreported every day that don’t rise to the level of an international audience because they cause no harm or are carried out by unknown assailants for unclear reasons.
In addition, many attacks are perpetrated by right-wing or left-wing extremists that have nothing to do with jihadism.
And, as Mother Jones Magazine notes, “Trump has been almost entirely silent about terror plotted and carried out by white supremacists and other far-right extremists.”
Trump received puzzled reactions across the board after statements made to a military audience in Florida on Monday.
“Radical Islamic terrorists are determined to strike our homeland, as they did on 9/11, as they did from Boston to Orlando to San Bernardino and all across Europe,” Trump declared at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.
“It’s gotten to a point where it’s not even being reported, and in many cases, the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it.”
Trump did not say why the media might not report on terrorist attacks but gave no examples of stories that went uncovered. “They have their reasons,” he told the gathering. “And you understand that.”
Trump has repeatedly accused the media of being dishonest — especially in its coverage of him.
This latest broadside at the mainstream media came just days after Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway invoked “the Bowling Green massacre” while defending Trump’s travel ban on seven mostly Muslim countries.
There was, of course, no Bowling Green massacre. Conway later tweeted: “honest mistakes abound.” Conway’s bogus claim also got extensive coverage by the media.
“Intentionally or not, Conway’s “Bowling Green” fabrication and Trump’s claim of unreported attacks begin to create a pattern”, wrote David Graham in The Atlantic.
“The Trump administration has already asserted blatant lies as truth, then excused them as ‘alternative facts.’ Together these new statements push toward a specific pre-debunking of any media coverage of terrorist attacks, and allowing Trump to push his own counternarrative.”
“With his comments on Monday, Trump implied that the media is complicit in making terrorists successful”, criticized the Washington Post. “It’s part of a recent pattern of suggesting that others are standing in the way of his terrorism-fighting efforts”.
That includes diminishing the federal judge who halted, at least temporarily, Trump’s travel ban.
In the days since the judge’s ruling last Friday night, Trump sent nine tweets about the judge and stoking fear that suddenly the door had been opened for terrorists to enter the country and cause “death & destruction.”
“The judge opens up our country to potential terrorists and others that do not have our best interests at heart. Bad people are very happy!” the president said in one tweet sent Saturday night.
It looks like Trump appears to be laying the groundwork to preemptively shift blame for any future terrorist attack on US soil from his administration to the federal judiciary, as well as to the media.