Washington: The Trump White House on Monday released a list of 78 terror attacks across the world that the US President believes was under-reported by the “very dishonest press,” amid a furious row with the judiciary and the liberal media over terrorism and immigration issues.
The White House list includes attacks such as the ones in Paris, Orlando, and San Bernardino, all of which by any account received substantial media coverage. But it does not cite a single attack on India, including the assaults on Uri and Pathankot. It was not clear if Trump believes the attacks were well-covered by the media or if he did not believe they were terrorist attacks.
The White House list, with a timeline covering September, 2014 to December, 2016, cites four attacks in Bangladesh, including the one on Artisan Bakery in Dhaka that killed 22 people, two other attacks with a single casualty, and one attack in Pakistan in April 2015 in which one US citizen was wounded in knife assault. It also lists incidents such as the one in Merced, California, in which four people were wounded in a knife attack on a college campus by an attacker described as a “US person.”
The White House release of the list followed another contentious week in the US culminating in President Trump attacking the media and the judiciary for its purportedly lax attitude towards terrorism. “In many cases, the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it,” he told military personnel at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa on Sunday in a continuation of his attack on the media. “They have their reasons, and you understand that.”
Pressed on what exactly the President meant, his aides said Trump believed the media underreported the attacks relative to their frequency. “He felt as though members of the media don’t always cover some of those events to the extent that other events might get covered; that a protest will get blown out of the water, and yet an attack or a foiled attack doesn’t necessarily get the same coverage,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer said.
Another official later told the media that 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 explained that “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 we sent around — that networks are not devoting to each of them the same level of coverage they once did.”
The spat over the terrorism issue came hours ahead of an Appeals Court hearing in San Francisco late on Monday where the Trump administration is challenging the ruling of a state court suspending the Presidential order banning nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US. More than 100 tech companies and several public intellectuals and individuals have filed amicus curiae briefs opposing the Trump administration’s move, even as Trump, in an unprecedented act, has attacked the judge for permitting soft borders and said he could be held responsible if there is any terrorist attack.