CNN Debunks Trump’s “Absurd” Claim That Terror Attacks Have Been Undercovered

Erin Burnett: “He Put San Bernardino On This List. Frankly, It's Absurd.”

CNN's Jim Acosta reported that the White House released a list of terrorist attacks that the Trump administration did not believe were adequately covered by the news media, including the 2015 attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, and the 2016 mass shooting in an LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

According to the 2016 Tyndall report, which “monitors the weekday nightly newscasts of the three American broadcast television networks,” the 2016 attacks in Brussels, Belgium, and Orlando, were two of the top 11 stories of the year and collectively made up nearly 300 minutes of coverage on ABC, NBC, and CBS. In 2015, the San Bernardino terrorist attack was the third top story of the year.

In reporting on Trump's list of supposedly underreported attacks, Acosta noted that “CNN and other international news outlets covered these extensively,” calling some of the inclusions a “head-scratcher,” and OutFront host Erin Burnett called the list “absurd.” From the February 6 edition of CNN's OutFront with Erin Burnett:

Video file

JIM ACOSTA: To back up this claim that the new media are simply not reporting or devoting enough coverage to these terrorist attacks, [White House] press secretary Sean Spicer said that they would produce a list of these attacks that they believe were not covered enough. Erin, we just got our hands on this list. Our producer, Dan Merica, just obtained this from a White House official, and there are 78 attacks listed on this list. And I have to tell you, Erin, it's a head-scratcher, because several of these -- we here at CNN and other international news outlets covered these extensively. Mentioned on this list: the November 15 terror attacks in Paris, yes, the Paris attacks, where 129 people were killed; the San Bernardino terrorist attack; the Brussels, Belgium, terrorist attack that happened last year; Istanbul; even the Nice truck attack. Erin, all of these, you'll recall, we all covered these extensively. So it's just, it's puzzling as to why the White House would include these attacks on this list when they were covered for days on end. Also, Erin, we still have not gotten any explanation from the White House as to what the president meant when he said that “the dishonest news media are not covering these terrorist attacks for some reason, and you know what I mean,” is what he said to that military audience earlier today. So a real head scratcher in terms of a comment coming from the president tonight, Erin.


ERIN BURNETT (HOST): They did just provide this list of 78 attacks, literally just in my phone in the past couple of moments. I can tell you, they put Brussels there. They put the Paris attacks in November of 2015. They put Orlando. Media obviously covered those extensively. I happened to be among the many on the ground in all of those cases. We talked to the families of the perpetrators. We talked to the families of the victims. We talked about U.S. visa policy and what that meant. And we did this for days and days and days and days. I am at a loss to understand what he means in these cases. He put San Bernardino on this list. Frankly, it's absurd. 

While Trump's claim that the media undercovered terrorist attacks has been called "very, very dangerous" and "unsupported," Fox News’ Trace Gallagher, on the other hand, declared that he was “checking to see” if there was any truth to Trump’s claim – despite Gallagher himself doing numerous reports on several of these attacks.