The White House late on Monday issued a list of terror attacks over a 28-month period from September 2014 to December 2016, with US President Donald Trump saying that media had failed to cover them properly.
The release of the list came after Trump continued to accuse the media of deliberately manipulating the news, saying that the press had been minimizing coverage of terror attacks and playing down the threat posed by the so-called "Islamic State" (IS). He stated that the "very, very dishonest press" had "their reasons" for not reporting what he referred to as a "genocide" at the hands of the terrorist group.
The list, which - according to the top US political website "The Hill" - was made available to journalists, details cities, months, years, targets, and attackers. However, the document fails to explain why the White House had assessed these events to be underreported, and how they were all supposedly linked to IS.
The Washington Post published the actual list online, which is more than 1,600 words long and features 27 instances of the term "attacker" misspelled.
"You've seen what happened in Paris and Nice. All over Europe it's happening. It's gotten to a point where it's not even being reported," Trump told a group of military leaders during a visit to the US Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida.
"We will defeat radical Islamic terrorism and we will not allow it to take root in our country. We're not going to allow it."
Trump's list includes a number of attacks that were covered internationally, including the December 2016 Berlin attack, the June 2016 shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, and a string of attacks in Paris in 2015. The list is seen as an attempt to gather support for Trump's presently frozen executive order imposing a travel ban on seven Muslim countries.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer later specified that the president's words were intended to point out that attacks were "underreported," rather than "unreported." Spicer said that the media exaggerated protest while "an attack or a foiled attack doesn't necessarily get the same coverage."
Spicer offered no advice, however, on how to go about reporting on a "foiled attack."
"Look, I think the president's comments were very clear at the time. 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," Spicer said.
White House deputy spokeswoman Lindsay Walters added 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."
"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," she said.
Reporting on the 'Bowling Green massacre'
The White House's claims brought back to mind recent remarks by Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, who said in a recent interview that news outlets had refused to cover the "Bowling Green massacre" - an event which never occurred. Conway later withdrew her comments, saying that she "misspoke."
In 2011, two Iraqi citizens had been arrested in Bowling Green, Kentucky, for trying to send funds and arms to terrorist groups in Iraq; however, there was no violent incident involved.
Conway, who famously claimed that "alternative facts" indicated that more people had attended Trump's inauguration than actually did, had previously made repeated allegations in interviews that a "Bowling Green massacre" had been underreported.
ss/tj (AP, dpa)