The Trump administration just keeps topping itself as far as the “alternative facts” that it’s mouth pieces spew and the ways that releases from the White House attempt to twist the media to do their bidding. So far, those tactics haven’t quite worked and outlets such as CNN and MSNBC have seen mostly through the ruse. On Monday, the administration released probably their most outlandish announcement/press release yet, which came in the footsteps of Trump telling the US Central Command,
“It’s gotten to a point where [terrorist attacks are] not even being reported. And in many cases the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it. They have their reasons, and you understand that.”
It was just the latest in a long line of incidences where either Trump or his administration attempted to discredit the media based on false or exaggerated information. This time, the President was actively accusing the press of suppressing news about terrorist attacks both in the United States and around the world. Which is first and foremost absurd because the American press would cover breaking news about a fire alarm going off in the newsroom if it meant a high-selling front page the next day.
After Trump’s remarks, many people necessarily called the administration out on such a claim and attempted to fact check their assertion that any terrorist attacks were “undercovered.” Unfortunately this administration is basically un-factcheckable because they keep moving the target from one ridiculous sector to another. The administration has now released a list of 78 high-profile terrorist attacks between 2014 and 2016, and it is a doozy of a list for a variety of reasons.
For one, there are attacks on the list that are almost certainly not widely considered terrorist attacks. “Boston 2015” was a planned knife attack that was squelched before it even happened, and it doesn’t seem out of bounds to speculate that the administration just wanted something that said “Boston” so people might forget the marathon bombing actually took place in 2015. Secondly, the list has typos all over the place — it’s almost like the White House was reacting to an off the cuff and ill-advised comment made by the President during his afternoon engagements. “Attackers” turns into “attakers” about halfway through, San Bernardino isn’t spelled accurately either, and there are certain attacks where the person responsible isn’t even listed.
As many have pointed out, the recent attack at a Quebec mosque isn’t on the list — perhaps because the President thinks the fact that that attacker was a White Supremacist doesn’t count as terrorism even though it was a widely covered incident in the news. Of course, there’s no real way to fact check this list because how do you measure the “proper level” of coverage of a terrorist attack? A few weeks? A few months? Each and every update rather than only the major ones that warrant a breaking news chyron? There’s no way to truly tell, and the White House probably knows it so what matters is to stay vigilant about the type of attacks is covered, the tone in which they are analyzed, and the factual accuracy of each report.