COLUMBUS (WCMH/AP) — President Donald Trump told a military audience in Florida this week that terrorist acts in Europe are going unreported by the news media.
Later, Trump spokesman Sean Spicer said Trump did not really mean that terrorist attacks received no coverage. Trump’s actual complaint, he said, was that such acts don’t get enough attention.
The White House later released a list of 78 worldwide attacks it described as “executed or inspired by” the ISIS. Most of the list did not get sufficient media attention, the White House said, without specifying which ones it considered underreported.
On the White House list are two incidents in Columbus — the Feb. 2016 machete attack at the Nazareth Deli on North Hamilton Road and the November 2016 car and knife attack on the Ohio State University campus.
Both incidents were heavily reported locally and nationally.
In the wake of the machete attack, Hany Baransi, owner of the Nazareth Deli, expressed frustration that federal authorities declined to call the attack terrorism and offered little or no support to him.
Baransi says he got emotional when he heard the attack was now on a White House list of terrorist-executed or terrorist-inspired attacks.
“Somebody gave me a call this morning and told me about it and I cried,” Baransi said. “I cried for the simple fact that at least I know I was supported and understood.”
Ohio State University law professor Dakota Rudesill worked in the office of the Director of National Intelligence during the Obama administration. He says there’s a reason investigators are so careful about calling an incident an act of terrorism.
“Because the way that you depict something will then shape the way that you investigate it and if you’re wrong about your sense of motive for an attack, you can then be wrong about unraveling what actually happened,” Rudesill said.
The White House did not point to any examples supporting Trump’s contention that terrorist attacks were “not even being reported.” Less than half of the 78 incidents on the White House list occurred in Europe.