The antagonistic relationship of the White House and the news media isn’t going to let up, and it’s no fun being in the crossfire. President Trump is prone to speak (and tweet) in hyperbole, and the newly reinvigorated news media isn’t having it.
If he calls actress Meryl Streep overrated, the AP’s fact-checkers are on it. If Trump says the sky cleared during his inaugural address, the New York Times’ fact checkers are there to report that “it began to rain lightly” as he began his speech.
Was Trump exaggerating when he claimed that terror attacks have gotten to the point where they’re not even reported anymore? Sure; however, the press wasn’t satisfied with Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s clarification that “protests will get blown out of the water, and yet an attack or a foiled attack doesn’t necessarily get the same coverage.”
The White House compiled a list of 78 attacks it says didn’t get the coverage they deserved, a list which included well documented attacks in San Bernardino and Paris, for example. No, those weren’t the best examples to include, and reporters took the list as a slight.
— Melissa Chan (@melissakchan) February 8, 2017
PolitiFact on Wednesday published its own take on the White House list, searching the Internet for coverage of each terror attack and found that all but one had received at least some mention in the press. The attack on the “provocative” Draw Muhammed contest in Garland, Texas, for example, received “wall-to-wall coverage,” even before it took place. Speaking of:
3rd jihadist involved in the attack on the Garland, Texas DrawMohammad cartoon contest sentenced to 30 years in jail https://t.co/POmXGIg1Cv
— Bosch Fawstin (@BoschFawstin) February 8, 2017
Other coverage around the Garland terror attack focused on winner Bosch Fawstin, who was pulled from Facebook and added to the SPLC’s annual listing of hate groups, and the contest itself:
Just this week, Abdul Malik Abdul Kareem was sentenced to 30 years in prison after being convicted of conspiring to support a foreign terrorist organization, interstate transportation of firearms, and other charges. Yes, his sentencing was covered. But why the need to describe this particular event as “provocative” in listing it?
Authorities said that Kareem had inquired about explosives to pipe-bomb the stadium where the 2015 Super Bowl was held, “but later set his sights on the [Muhammad] cartoon contest after the stadium plan fell through.” What was provocative about the Super Bowl? About San Bernardino?
Another feature of PolitiFact’s list: Less widely reported attacks are often tagged as “non-deadly.” Obviously, attacks that leave large numbers dead will receive greater coverage, but even if an attack is thwarted, that’s not much comfort if you happen to live nearby.
Another recent conviction was that of Harlem Suarez, also known as “Almlak Benitez,” who in 2015 accepted from an FBI agent an inert device he believed was bomb. The FBI says Suarez intended to fill a backpack with explosives and nails and detonate it on a crowded Key West beach.
— JRodriguez (@JRodzMIA) January 31, 2017
— CBS4 Miami (@CBSMiami) January 31, 2017
— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) January 31, 2017
That’s frightening … and maybe the sort of thing that isn’t covered widely enough in the press. No, there was no attack and no one died, but many would have if Suarez hadn’t been caught. The plan was well underway, as was the desire to kill innocents. Maybe both the administration and the press have some room to refocus on the ongoing terror threat.
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NYT reporter wonders why anyone would hold a 'Muhammad drawing contest' http://t.co/CHs0KGL0Mc
— Twitchy Team (@TwitchyTeam) May 4, 2015