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Trump says journalists play down terror attacks

Washington: US President Trump has said that the news media was playing down the terrorist threat posed by the Islamic State (IS) and journalists were reluctant to report on the militant groups attacks in Europe and “have their reasons” for failing to cover them, the media reported.

Trump initially did not provide examples of a news media conspiracy to underplay terrorist attacks. The White House on Monday released a list of what it said were 78 attacks from September 2014 to December 2016 that were carried out or inspired by the IS. It said that “most have not received the media attention they deserved”, the New York Times reported.

The list included the major attacks in Paris, Brussels, San Bernardino (California) and Orlando (Florida) that dominated the news for weeks.

Other attacks overseas, lesser known to Americans, received extensive local coverage, like a shooting in Zvornik, Bosnia, in April 2015 in which one police officer was killed and two others were wounded, the White House said.

“Radical Islamic terrorists are determined to strike our homeland, as they did on 9/11, as they did from Boston to Orlando to San Bernardino and all across Europe,” Trump said at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida.

“All over Europe, it’s happening. It’s gotten to a point where it’s not even being reported, and in many cases, the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it,” he said.

“They have their reasons,” Trump added, “and you understand that.”

The President made similar comments about the US media during a January visit to the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in Langley, Virginia, that the news media had fabricated his feud with the intelligence community.

Those remarks came only days after he likened American intelligence officials to Nazis, after several weeks in which he had denigrated their work, the New York Times said.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that the President had been referring in Tampa to “several instances” in which the news media had not devoted sufficient attention to terrorism.

Trump, Spicer said, believed that journalists pay more attention to public protests than they do to terrorist attacks or plots.

During his 12-minute speech on Monday, Trump promised to make “a historic financial investment in the armed forces”, in an effort to maintain peace in “our troubled, troubled times”.

He also vowed to give the military the tools necessary to prevail against the Islamic State and thwart its attempts to strike America.

At a luncheon with enlisted soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, Trump went around his table asking who would remain in the military, and told them their experience would improve during his presidency.

On NATO, Trump, who had earlier called it “obsolete,” tempered his message, arguing that he was focused on ensuring that it is well funded.

“We strongly support NATO. We only ask that all of the NATO members make their full and proper contributions to the NATO alliance, which many of them have not been doing — many of them have not been even close,” he said.

–IANS