White House says: Me­dia need to cover ter­ror­ism more, cites Cana­dian ex­am­ples

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - ALEXAN­DER PANETTA

The White House wants jour­nal­ists to write more sto­ries about ter­ror­ist at­tacks, which Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump says are be­ing un­der-re­ported.

Asked for ex­am­ples, his office re­leased a list of at­tacks — in­clud­ing two in Canada in 2014.

It’s a strik­ing change from the last ad­min­is­tra­tion which, in an ef­fort to calm anx­i­eties, tended to em­pha­size how rare ter­ror­ist at­tacks ac­tu­ally are: some me­dia have cal­cu­lated that more peo­ple in the U.S. were ac­ci­den­tally killed by tod­dlers with guns than Is­lamist ter­ror­ists in 2015.

Al­most 100 times more peo­ple around the world were killed by malaria in 2014, ac­cord­ing to the in­ter­na­tional aid or­ga­ni­za­tion Ox­fam. Al­most 200 times more peo­ple were killed that year by a di­ar­rheal dis­ease.

But ter­ror­ism needs more at­ten­tion, Trump said.

“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 said this week, dur­ing an event with en­listed mil­i­tary per­son­nel. “And in many cases, the very, very dis­hon­est press doesn’t want to re­port it. They have their rea­sons and you un­der­stand that.”

Dur­ing a photo-op with coun­try sher­iffs, Trump made the point again Tues­day: “I hap­pen to know how dis­hon­est the me­dia is.”

Asked what Trump was talk­ing about, his spokesper­son Sean Spicer promised to pro­vide a list of ex­am­ples. When that list was dis­trib­uted to U.S. jour­nal­ists it in­cluded 78 such in­ci­dents from 2014 to 2016.

The list in­cluded two at­tacks in Canada in 2014: the killing of War­rant Of­fi­cer Pa­trice Vin­cent in Que­bec, fol­lowed by the shoot­ing of Cpl. Nathan Cir­illo and the gun at­tack on Par­lia­ment Hill.

“We want to be very clear there are a lot of ex­am­ples,” Spicer said, when asked about the list. “Many of them haven’t got­ten the at­ten­tion they have de­served. It’s be­com­ing too often that we’re see­ing these at­tacks not get the spec­tac­u­lar at­ten­tion they de­serve.”

The sug­ges­tion these killings were ig­nored would surprise Cana­dian me­dia-mon­i­tor­ing firms. One such firm, Mon­treal-based In­flu­ence Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, shared its sta­tis­tics for me­dia cov­er­age of events in 2014.

The No. 1 most-cov­ered story in Canada by in­ter­na­tional me­dia that year was the Par­lia­ment Hill shoot­ing, In­flu­ence said. No. 3 was the killing of Vin­cent in St-Jean-surRiche­lieu.

CNN’s An­der­son Cooper came to Ot­tawa to broad­cast from the scene. In fact, some me­dia crit­ics at the time mocked Amer­i­can tele­vi­sion net­works for over­dra­ma­tiz­ing the un­fold­ing dan­ger, com­pared with the more cau­tious cov­er­age in Canada. “It was a gi­gan­tic story,” said Jean-Fran­cois Du­mas of In­flu­ence Com­mu­ni­ca­tion. “It was a big story around the world.”

The most-cov­ered sto­ries in Canada by in­ter­na­tional me­dia that year, aside from ter­ror­ism, were the Key­stone XL pipe­line, the late Rob Ford’s trou­bles and ill­ness and Michaëlle Jean’s elec­tion as head of the In­ter­na­tional Or­gan­i­sa­tion of La Fran­co­phonie. The firm did not pro­vide in­ter­na­tional sta­tis­tics on cov­er­age of malaria, di­ar­rheal dis­eases, and tod­dlers with guns.

It’s got­ten to a point where it’s not even be­ing re­ported. U.S. PRES­I­DENT DON­ALD TRUMP

AL DRAGO, NEW YORK TIMES

U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump meets with a group of sher­iffs in the Roo­sevelt Room of the White House in Wash­ing­ton on Tues­day.

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