Donald Trump and his administration have a love/hate relationship with the media, and when speaking on terrorism, he and his people have had more than a few whiffs.
One of Donald Trump’s key points to his administration has been securing American borders against potential terrorist threats. The controversial executive order banning immigration from certain countries and suspending refugees from entering the country was part of that agenda. Whether or not the actions taken by the administration will have the desired effect of protecting Americans remains to be seen, but errors covering the topic of terrorism have brought the administration its fair share of ridicule.
To start with, the alleged “Bowling Green Massacre” as mentioned by Kellyanne Conway was just one in a string of controversies surrounding one of Trump’s top advisors. The comment was in regards to a pair of Iraqi refugees later discovered to have ties to terrorism. According to the Justice Department, “Two Iraqi citizens living in Bowling Green, Ky., who admitted using improvised explosive devices (IEDs) against U.S. soldiers in Iraq and who attempted to send weapons and money to Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) for the purpose of killing U.S. soldiers, were sentenced today to serve federal prison terms by Senior Judge Thomas B. Russell in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky.”
There was no Bowling Green Massacre. Conway later admitted to having misspoken, intending to have actually meant to say Bowling Green Terrorists.
— Kellyanne Conway (@KellyannePolls) February 3, 2017
This is only one of the instances where the Trump administration has erred in comments regarding terrorism. Kellyanne Conway is currently under fire for comments where she advised people to buy Ivanka Trump’s clothing line in violation of ethics laws.
Sean Spicer, the Press Secretary for the White House, has also misspoken regarding terrorism. The main mistake Spicer tends to make is confusing Atlanta with Orlando. In several interviews/news conferences, Spicer has accidentally referred to the shooting at the nightclub in Orlando as having occurred in Atlanta. While it is likely that these were simple accidents and not intended to be an “alternative fact,” the fact remains that one of the primary voices for the Trump administration made a series of fairly noticeable errors.
And finally, Donald Trump lambasted the media a couple of days ago for what he claims was an intentional lack of coverage on various terrorist attacks. While speaking to the US Central Command, he claimed (or at least insinuated very obviously) that the media is intentionally covering up terrorist attacks.
“You’ve seen what happened in Paris, and Nice. All over Europe, it’s happening,” reports the Washington Post. “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.”
For instance, a terrorist attack at the Louvre in Paris, France, received fairly low coverage. However, considering no one was killed in the attack, maintaining continuous coverage on the event makes very little sense. Filtering which attacks to cover and for how long is necessary for the media to continue functioning effectively. As the Washington Post points out, “But filtering what to cover is very different than suppressing information. On any given day, local newspapers and news broadcasts decide what to spend resources on. If your home is burglarized, it may not make the cut. This probably isn’t because the Channel 5 news director has a vendetta against you; it’s that there are limited resources.”
There is only so much time for both producers and consumers of information to use. As a result, coverage of higher value to both will receive more time and resources than an event which has fewer lasting results. Compare the Paris and Nice attacks with that on the Louvre. The former had significant casualties while the latter had only one, the attacker (who was shot and injured).
So what are your thoughts on the Trump’s administrations whiffs regarding terrorism information? Tell us what you think in the comments section below!
[Featured Image by Mario Tama/Getty Images]