Donald Trump’s latest fiction, as he told members of the military yesterday at MacDill Air Force Base, is that terrorist attacks have been happening “all over Europe” and that “it’s gotten to a point where it’s not even being reported.” This, of course, is absurd. One can accuse the media of a lot of things, but one cannot deny the media’s thirst for blood. Terrorist attacks are widely covered, often for days and days at a time, and our collective worst fear is how oversaturated media coverage of the next terrorist attack will play right into the Trump Administration’s hands.
Nevertheless, to suggest that the “dishonest” media refuses to cover terrorist attacks is actually insulting to the media, who put a lot of time, money and resources into assigning reporters to cover these attacks, sometimes even when it endangers the reporters and their staff.
This is one lie that the media will not let stand. To wit: Anderson Cooper provided a montage of himself reporting from the cities where various terrorist incidents happened. Post columnist David Ignatious is particularly incensed by the suggestion:
“As a journalist I’m really troubled by that,” Washington Post columnist David Ignatius said on CNN’s The Lead on Monday.
“We have brave colleagues who everyday are taking big risks to cover these stories. Look at the “New York Times” which the president demonizes often. The New York Times this weekend had an outstanding piece of reporting about how ISIS has been reaching out, is more involved in some attacks in Europe and abroad.”
Ignatius said he has about 100 examples of strong reporting he’d like to show the President.
Late yesterday, because the White House is put in a position where they often have to find ways to justify Trump’s remarks after the fact, Sean Spicer released a list of “underreported attacks” hastily slapped together. This list misspells “attacker” 24 times, and not only is the widely-covered attack in San Bernardino, California covered, but San Bernardino is also misspelled. It also includes those “little-known” Paris attacks and the Orlando attacks.
You remember Orlando, right?
Of the 78 attacks, NBC says that it extensively covered 57 of the attacks that resulted in the deaths of 745 people. Of the other 21 that that took place in places like Egypt and Bangladesh, which NBC did not cover extensively, only 8 people died combined (in other words, only two more than the attacks in Canada last weekend by a Trump-supporting white supremacist, which Trump still has not mentioned on Twitter). It should also be noted that none of the attacks on the White House list were perpetuated by white supremacist or Islamaphobes, though — as ThinkProgress notes — “a study published in 2015 found that people in America are seven times as likely to be killed by a right-wing extremist than a Muslim attacker.”
As the Post notes, this particular claim seems to be rooted in conspiracy theories elevated by Alex Jones and Infowars.
The media is not taking the accusation well.
CNN’s David Acosta, for instance, said that “this appears to be a talking point in search of a set of facts that just doesn’t seem to exist.” Understated burn.
Jake Tapper added this:
Meanwhile, a Politico reporter included this handy set of Trump tweets from the day Libya was attacked. It was covered by the media, but apparently not worth mentioning by the President.
Some Trump tweets from Jan 27 2015, day of major terror attack in Libya listed by WH as underplayed. ABC, CNN, NYT reported. Trump ignored. pic.twitter.com/aZmaBEMA1U— Michael Crowley (@michaelcrowley) February 7, 2017
The best, however, comes from CBS — so far, not accused of being FAKE NEWS — which soberly calls this exactly what it is: A distraction from the President’s legal woes:
That man with the monotone voice basically just said that Trump is full of shit.