Whether it is the "coordinated strategy-du-jour" or just more "alternative facts," U.S. President Donald Trump's claim Monday that the media is conspiring not to report on terror attacks has left many observers "speechless."
Speaking to military leaders at the U.S. Central Command and Special Operations Command headquarters at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, Trump expounded on the threats posed by the Islamic State, or ISIS.
"ISIS is on a campaign of genocide, committing atrocities across the world. Radical Islamic terrorists are determined to strike our homeland," the president said. According to the Washington Post, Trump then listed a series of terrorist attacks in the United States—including 9/11, the Boston Marathon bombing, and the mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif.—and added that such attacks are rampant across Europe.
"All over Europe, it's happening. It's gotten to a point where it's not even being reported," Trump said. "And in many cases, the very, very dishonest press doesn't want to report it. They have their reasons, and you understand that."
Philip Rucker, White House bureau chief for the Washington Post, pushed back against those claims. "I don't know where he gets his information," Rucker told MSNBC. "In his speech, we should note, he did not mention any examples. There was no evidence that the media is somehow ignoring terrorist attacks in an effort to collude with ISIS or whatever he's imagining. We do cover terrorist attacks."
Though this is far from the first time the president has made disparaging remarks about the media, for many, Monday's statement is particularly troubling given that he framed it as a coordinated effort to suppress information, which he could use to justify calls for increased military action and tighter restrictions on immigration.
Trump just said that the media is conspiring to hide terrorist attacks. They are not reporting them "4 their own reasons."
I am speechless.
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— Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) February 6, 2017
"Media is ignoring terrorist attacks" is clearly the coordinated strategy-du-jour. Conway tried it w/Bowling Green & now Trump's trying it.
— Hend Amry (@LibyaLiberty) February 6, 2017
Trump is ready to make up a terrorist attack on US soil and accuse the media to have covered it up, in order to sign his own #PatriotAct
— OeildeCat (@OeildeCat) February 6, 2017
Trump claims the media, who compose theme music for every one of them individually, never covers terrorist attacks.
— Martha Jackovics (@BeachPeanuts) February 6, 2017
"He's pushed the media into the 'against us' column, alongside terrorists." https://t.co/TOaD0anHGr
— John Jabbo (@jfjabbo) February 6, 2017
The press is number 1 obligation is to get Trump to name the terror attacks ignored. I'm sure we'll get this right after his tax returns.
— LOLGOP (@LOLGOP) February 6, 2017
Trump's travel ban on visitors from a number of Muslim-majority countries is currently suspended and facing legal action. Earlier Monday, the president dismissed a survey that found that the majority of the public opposes the ban as "fake news."