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Without citing evidence, Trump says terrorist attacks go unreported by news media

Days after a senior White House aide complained that the news media had failed to report a nonexistent “massacre” in Kentucky, President Trump suggested Monday that journalists deliberately ignored terrorist attacks.

“It’s gotten to a point where it’s not even being reported,” Trump said in remarks to troops at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla. “And in many cases, the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it. They have their reasons and you understand that.”

It’s unclear which attacks he had in mind because the news media have devoted extensive resources to covering both terrorist plots and counter-terrorism operations since the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001.

The administration has disputed critical coverage of last week’s special operations raid at an Al Qaeda compound in Yemen, insisting it was a success despite the death of a U.S. Navy SEAL and the reported deaths of up to a dozen women and children.

And Kellyanne Conway, a senior White House advisor, said Friday that she misspoke when she brought up a nonexistent attack in Bowling Green, Ky. Her comment sparked a rash of mockery on social media and drew renewed attention Monday when earlier instances surfaced where she used the same phrasing.

The White House later painted the president's remarks at MacDill as a critique of the media, rather than a demonstrably false claim about whether attacks were covered.

"He felt members of the media don’t always cover some of those events to the extent that other events might get covered. Protests will get blown out of the water, and yet an attack or a foiled attack doesn’t necessarily get the same coverage," Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters.

The White House also released a list of 78 attacks in recent years, saying most failed to garner enough attention from the press.

Notably, the list included several of the most prominent terrorist attacks during that time span. Included were the 2015 Paris attacks that killed 130 people, the Orlando, Fla., nightclub massacre last summer that killed 49 people and dominated not only the news but also discussion on the campaign trail, and the San Bernardino shooting in December 2015 in which 14 people were gunned down. The Times won a Pulitzer Prize for its breaking-news coverage of the attack.

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