President Donald Trump has been severely critical of the news media for doing what he called a poor job of covering instances of Islamic terrorism not only in the U.S. but around the world.

The White House released a list late Monday of 20 terrorist attacks “executed or inspired” by ISIS, many of which Trump spokesman Sean Spicer said were not give sufficient coverage by the national media.

“You have seen what happened in Paris and Nice. All over Europe, it’s happening,” Trump told military leaders at the U.S. Central Command. “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. They have their reasons, and you understand that.”

One of the first news agencies to counter Trump’s allegations was the BBC, which on Tuesday ran a compilation of all its stories about the terrorist events on the administration’s list.

But as many terrorism experts told WND, it’s not the amount of coverage given to a specific event that counts but rather the type of coverage.

A classic example of that can be found by comparing and contrasting the coverage that two news agencies – WND and the BBC – gave to a brutal machete attack at the Nazareth Mediterranean Restaurant one year ago in February 2016 that left four patrons wounded, one critically.

In the BBC story, there is no mention of the words Islam, jihad, Muslim, refugee or immigrant. Every one of those words applied to the attacker, Mohamed Barry, who was a Muslim immigrant from the West African country of Guinea, as pointed out in the WND story.

“Trump is absolutely correct. The point is not that they ignore the stories, but they deliberately conceal and/or misrepresent the aspects of them that make it clear that they’re Islamic jihad attacks,” said Robert Spencer, editor of Jihad Watch.

One notorious example of this is the Orlando massacre, Spencer said.

“Mainstream news outlets claimed that he was a conflicted gay man lashing out at other gays,” he said. “This was outright disinformation: The FBI later announced that there was no evidence that he was gay, no gay apps on his phone, etc. Few outlets published his actual remarks, making it clear that he was killing for ISIS and Islam. The coverage of terrorist incidents in general in the establishment media deliberately misleads the public.”

One terrorist event not included on the White House list was the Chattanooga shooting in which Mohammad Abdulazeez killed five unarmed U.S. servicemen at a Navy recruiting center in July 2015. It took five months for the Obama Justice Department to declare the attack was an act of terrorism, and very little mainstream reporting was done to keep the attack in the national spotlight during those five months of silence by the DOJ. In other words, no pressure was placed on the administration to admit the obvious terrorism connections while the attack was still fresh in the minds of the news-consuming public.

Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez (Photo: Fox News screenshot)
Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez 

Then came the University of California at Merced knife attack in November 2015 by a student there, Faisal Mohamed, whose parents emigrated to the U.S. from Pakistan.

The BBC did not report on the obvious jihadist markings in the attack, which wounded four people and would have been worse if a brave construction worker and officer had not intervened. The FBI waited four months to declare the attack an act of terrorism, disclosing that Mohamed had links to ISIS and had visited radical websites. Many national news agencies never covered the original attack.

The BBC published a brief article on the incident after the FBI report came out, but by that time few Americans were paying attention. At least the BBC covered the FBI’s belated findings. Most establishment media companies did not.

Faisal Mohammad was an 18-year-old student at UC-Merced.FaisalMohammad was an 18-year-old student at UC-Merced.

The British-based BBC often provides more coverage of terrorist attacks than its U.S. counterparts, ABC, CBS and NBC, said Phillip Haney, retired Homeland Security officer who for more than 13 years screen immigrants and refugees for connections to terrorism.

“Let’s say that in terms of scope of coverage the BBC is actually correct that they were ahead of the others,” Haney told WND.

“Even with the broader scope of coverage the BBC, as deficient as it is, it’s still better than the American journalistic coverage. During my time on the inside with DHS, it seemed like the Daily Mail, another British news outlet, would always come out with information within minutes if not hours, well ahead of American media, so why do we have to look into foreign media sources to find pieces of the story that you won’t find here?”

When it came to the San Bernardino attack by Syed Farook and his immigrant wife, Tashfeen Malik, the BBC, like CNN and most of the other establishment media outlets, covered the story predominantly within the leftist meme of “gun violence,” glossing over or ignoring the more pertinent theme of Islamic jihad. The BBC, in its report Tuesday, linked back to its San Bernardino coverage, which included a major sidebar linking and comparing the San Bernardino event to other stories about “gun violence.”

It’s exactly this type of broad contextual reporting, which the media are so good at when it comes to “gun violence,” that critics say is missing on the topic of Islamic terrorism.

An example of this came on Nov. 28, 2016, when a Somali refugee and student at Ohio State University goaded fellow students to exit a science building by pulling the fire alarm. Then he rammed his vehicle into them, got out and stabbed as many as possible. He injured 11 before he was shot dead by police. The obvious similarity of this attack and another just two months earlier in St. Cloud, Minnesota, were striking. Both attacks were carried out by a Somali Muslim refugee, both using knives against a civilian soft target. Yet almost none of the reporting by the mainstream media drew the parallels.

Rather, the BBC’s main article detailing the attack in San Bernardino on Dec. 11, 2015, starts out like a story about a “mass shooting” crime, not an Islamic jihadist attack. The word “Islam” does not even appear until the eighth paragraph.

The fact that Farook had recently traveled to Saudi Arabia was not mentioned until the 10th graph.

In the 14th graph, we find out that Farook and Malik had been “radicalized” for some time, but the BBC fails to inform its readers how or by whom this “radicalization” occurred. Do Muslims just wake up one day and decide to kill? Where does this inspiration come from? Silence on that issue is the unwritten code of conduct for mainstream news reporters.

And here’s the kicker. The reader must continue reading down to the 21st paragraph to find where the BBC has buried the most important news information. It is here that readers are finally told:

“U.S. officials have told the media Tashfeen Malik pledged allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State (IS) group on Facebook.”

Readers further learn that the U.S. government “did not pick up on extremist messages posted online when Farook and his wife began chatting.”

Haney, co-author of the book “See Something Say Nothing,” said it’s the point of emphasis that counts, not the volume of coverage.

“Look at what they choose to emphasize. It’s obvious the way they lay out the article on San Bernardino that they don’t really want to emphasize the Islamic aspect of the story,” he says. “Why didn’t they just put all that factual information into two or three paragraphs at the very beginning?”

As a former counter-terrorism officer at Customs and Border Patrol in DHS, Haney was involved in many of the cases on the White House list.

“I was there for the Boston bombing, Chattanooga shooting, Fort Hood massacre, Time Square bomber, and I saw the way these stories were reported,” he said.

He said it took him 10 minutes using open sources on his laptop to connect Orlando shooter Omar Mateen to a mosque in Fort Pierce, Florida, which has ties to the extremist group Tabliqui Jumaat.

Haney said the idea of “self radicalization” popularized in the U.S. media is largely a myth.

“I definitely agree with what Trump said, because I saw it first hand. I saw the way the coverage of these events was skewed by the ‘countering violent extremism’ narrative and the prevailing tendency to initially report that there was no link between mainstream Islam and terrorism,” he said.

And whenever someone in Congress wanted to get serious about Islamic terrorism, they were brutalized in the media, Haney said.

He cites the case of Michele Bachmann, Louie Gohmert and several other members of Congress who wanted to investigate the Muslim Brotherhood’s infiltration of the Obama administration in 2012.

“The way they covered that story, they reacted with the same level of political hysteria as they did when Trump issued his executive order temporarily banning travel from seven countries,” Haney said. “Mike Rogers [former Michigan GOP congressman], John Boehner [former House Speaker] and Sen. John McCain attacked the five members of Congress with hysterical fury. They were conspiracy theorists, they were biased, they were Islamophobic, racist, unnecessarily targeting wonderful people like Huma Abedin. And it was widely covered that way by the mainstream media.

There was never any analytic, thoughtful, step-by-step reporting, I wonder if it is true, could it be true, and what is it the inspector general’s role to investigate?”

By contrast, Haney points to how quickly the inspector general lurched into action when Trump implemented his executive order.

“Within a day or two of the order being implemented, the inspector general launched an investigation,” he said. “Whereas, in 2012, they couldn’t find the wherewithal to inspect five members of Congress alleging deep involvement of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Obama administration. So, Trump is right; they are biased. The other thing they always say is, ‘Let’s be careful not to jump to any hasty conclusions,’ and then that’s it, they leave you hanging. And by the time they revisit the story, you forget what the plot of the movie has been and what you were watching to begin with.”

A familiar pattern

Whether it was San Bernardino, Chattanooga, Columbus or Orlando, Haney says the “automatic, reflexive response, by the media was to say, ‘We don’t have any evidence of a foreign terrorist link,’ or they say upfront it is linked to ISIS, which allows people to come to a false conclusion, that there is either no foreign link to terrorism or it’s just those ISIS guys, so we must be OK because it’s just some kooks who got radicalized on the Internet and got affiliated with this nasty group called ISIS.”

The media over the last eight years have increasingly considered off limits any reporting on mosques and their involvement in terrorism.

“The radical message, it’s often affirmed here in the mosques. That’s the big question that is never asked or investigated, that maybe some of the mosques right here in the United States are really the source of some of the so-called radicalization,” Haney said. “That is the danger. Trump is right. He’s not always eloquent in the way he says it, but he’s right.”

Below is the White House list of terror attacks it said were planned or inspired by ISIS.