Mere hours after President Donald Trump claimed Western media underreported acts of terrorism, the White House on Monday released a curated list of 78 violent incidents from the past three years to back up those allegations. However, several, including the attacks in San Bernardino, Orlando, Paris and Nice, were major news events for days or weeks both domestically and abroad.
The dossier, which White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer promised to deliver to reporters after Trump’s remarks, was first tweeted by journalists from CNN.
A White House spokesperson told The Huffington Post’s Sam Stein that the list comprised “ISIS or ISIS-related attacks on Western targets from [2014-16], ***MOST*** of which were not widely reported on.” (The emphasis is theirs.)
The list was released in response to remarks Trump made earlier Monday to military leaders gathered at U.S. Central Command. In the address, the president blamed the media for intentionally underreporting terrorist attacks in an effort to downplay the threat posed by the Islamic State to readers. “They have their reasons,” Trump said.
“You’ve seen what happened in Paris and Nice. All over Europe, it’s happening,” Trump said in his remarks, which The Washington Post notes were delivered off-script. “It’s gotten to a point where it’s 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.”
However, most of the incidents included have been covered extensively by media outlets around the world, including at HuffPost, including the 2015 shootings in San Bernardino, California, which killed 14 people; the bombing at the Brussels airport that killed 32 last April; and the 2014 shootings on Ottawa’s Parliament Hill that left two dead.
The Hill notes that the list includes both well- and lesser-known events, like an attack on an Italian priest in Bangladesh and the shooting of an American citizen in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to show the frequency of such attacks, and says that Spicer told reporters aboard Air Force One there were “a lot of instances that have occurred where I don’t think they’ve gotten the coverage they deserved.”
The list doesn’t specifically cite instances in which the media may have intentionally underreported on acts of terrorism, as Trump alleged.
The Trump administration faced criticism Monday night for not only including events that were reported extensively but also for focusing on Western targets. According to the Global Terrorism Database, parts of Asia, Africa and the Middle East experienced terrorist attacks far more frequently in 2015 than did Europe and North America.
And the Global Terrorism Index, a list produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace and based on data from the Global Terrorism Database, found most terrorist activities in 2015 occurred in five countries: Iraq, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria. The European country most affected by terrorism using that data, the United Kingdom, ranks 25th on the list. The United States is 35th.
Last Sunday, a 27-year-old French-Canadian man killed six people and wounded eight others after opening fire inside a Quebec City mosque. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the mass shooting a terrorist attack on Muslims. That attack is not listed by the White House.