Terrorism ‘not even being reported’: Trump cites Sydney siege in list of attacks


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The White House lists 78 incidents to back up Donald Trump’s claim that terrorist attacks are being underreported

A number of Australian killings, including the 2014 Sydney siege and the murder of Curtis Cheng, are among 78 events worldwide that the White House claims were terrorist attacks underreported by the media.

The list was produced by the White House on Tuesday to back up claims by the president Donald Trump and White House spokesman, Sean Spicer, that the world’s media was deliberately covering up or underreporting terrorism.

On Monday Trump accused the media of deliberately covering up terrorist attacks.

“It’s gotten to a point where it’s not even being reported,” he said. “And in many cases the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it. They have their reasons, and you understand that.”

Spicer later walked Trump’s comments back, suggesting the president meant attacks were underreported, rather than covered up, and said he would release a list of examples.

After the release of that list a White House spokesperson told the Guardian: “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 – that networks are not devoting to each of them the same level of coverage they once did. This cannot be allowed to become the ‘new normal’, and the president, for one, is not going to be satisfied until the American people are much safer and more secure.”

The list includes many high profile attacks that received widespread international coverage, including the 178 people killed by gunmen in Paris, the 86 killed in Nice, the 14 killed in San Bernardino in the US, and the massacre of 49 people at an Orlando gay nightclub.

It also includes five Australian incidents that received extensive coverage.

In December 2014 Man Haron Monis took employees and customers of the Sydney city Lindt Cafe hostage. Monis killed one man, Tori Johnson, and another hostage, Katrina Dawson, was killed when police stormed the building in the early hours of the following morning. Monis was also killed. The incident received blanket coverage from Australian media and international news outlets at the time, and appeared on front pages across the globe.

Guardian Australia and many other media outlets produced rolling coverage of the siege itself for 18 hours, as well as exhaustive analysis and coverage of the subsequent inquest.

Trump’s list also included the October 2015 Parramatta shooting, when 15-year-old Farhad Jabar killed Curtis Cheng, a 58-year-old accountant for the New South Wales police force. Jabar was shot and killed by police who responded to the attack.

The incident, the subsequent police task force, and charges against four others in relation to the attack were extensively covered. It too received international attention.

In August last year Smail Ayad allegedly stabbed and killed 21-year-old British woman, Mia Ayliffe-Chung, and 30-year-old British man, Thomas Jackson, at a backpacker hostel in north Queensland.

Ayad, a 29-year-old French man, allegedly cried “Allahu Akbar” during the attack, prompting police to investigate terrorism links. They all but ruled out the possibility Ayad was a radicalised extremist within 24 hours. Ayliffe-Chung’s mother has dismissed the suggestion.

It too, despite the coverage and lack of established links to terrorism, appeared on the White House list.

The following month a 22-year-old man, Ihsas Khan, was charged with committing a terrorist attack and attempted murder after allegedly stabbing a 59-year-old man multiple times in the Sydney suburb of Minto.

The incident appeared across Australian media, and in international publications including the New York Times, the Times of Israel, CNN, the Daily Mail, and even Breitbart News, the conservative publication co-founded by senior Trump adviser Steve Bannon.

Global media organisations including the BBC, CNN and Fox News, were among those who covered the September 2014 stabbing of two police officers by a young radicalised man, 18-year-old Numan Haider.

Haider had agreed to meet officers at the Endeavour Hills station in Melbourne, to talk, but instead stabbed the pair, one of whom who shot and killed him. An inquiry into the incident was told the police officers had no choice. The violent attack and the speed at which the teenager had been radicalised shocked Australia.

The list of attacks was released by the White House on Tuesday, following disputes between the Trump administration and the media after spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway referred to a non-existent massacre during an interview. Conway claimed she misspoke when she accused media of never reporting the “Bowling Green massacre” – which did not happen – but it was later revealed to be the third time she had said it.

Publicly available archives of front pages, compiled by Washington DC’s Newseum, reveal the extent of international front-page coverage devoted to many of the incidents listed.

Online Source: The Guardian

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