Trump says media failed covering St. Cloud mall attack

President Trump said on Monday he thinks the news media have failed at reporting terrorist attacks.

Speaking to troops at an Air Force base in Florida, the president said news organizations “have their reasons, and you understand that.”

A reporter followed up later in the day and asked White House press secretary Sean Spicer for examples of a terrorist attack the news media has not reported on. Spicer promised to provide a list.

Here’s the list:

The St. Cloud, Minn., mall stabbing is on the list of purportedly underreported terror attacks.

Here’s what happened there: Dahir Adan, carrying a knife and dressed in a security uniform, attacked 10 people at the Crossroads Center shopping mall.

An off-duty cop fatally shot him, and the FBI investigated the whole thing.

MPR News reporters and dozens of other local and international journalists spent a great deal of reporting on the incident and its fallout.

Here are some headlines:

‘Hero’ cop stops knife-wielding attacker’s rampage at St. Cloud mall

St. Cloud chief: ‘Lone attacker’ drove mall stabbing rampage

FBI takes lead on St. Cloud mall stabbing investigation

‘This is what St. Cloud looks like’: Students rally for unity after mall stabbing

St. Cloud mall attacker buried; family demands thorough probe

After a week, more questions, few answers in St. Cloud mall attack

And that wraps most of MPR News’ first-week stories. We kept on the story after that too.

Spicer did add a little explanation of Trump’s remarks: “[The president] 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.”

The Trump administration has admonished the Fourth Estate for many months, often for reasons that don’t square with the facts.

Last week, top Trump aide Kellyanne Conway cited a 2011 “massacre” in Bowling Green, Kentucky. “Most people don’t know that because it didn’t get covered.”

That’s because it never happened.

News organizations overall tend to give significant attention to terrorism, especially when an attack happens, both domestic and foreign. The Associated Press, for example, is working in 263 locations around the world.

Forty-eight journalists were killed last year while doing their jobs, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Most of them were covering politics.

  • Rob

    I hope Melissa McCarthy does another turn as Spicer soon…

  • Will

    I think Trump is right on this one, there were very few follow up stories and even your final follow up stories had many questions to be answered. Who was his contact in ISIS? Was that ever answered? I think we got a little too close to the election and I know that the national media tended to drop the story after a day or so beyond the actual attack…it was just a bit too helpful for Trump to dwell on that story…BTW, I could probably copy and paste 3 times as many stories on Trump’s temporary ban from MPR than your 8 or so stories you found.

    As you can see the proportion of stories is not equal (this is just what I could find in 5 minutes), I didn’t even copy and paste all those talk radio shows we heard on MPR in the past week or so. In one case there were Minnesotans stabbed and attacked in a terrorist attack, a man stood up and stopped the attacker. For MPR that’s not as important (by story proportions) as a temporary slow down or stoppage to reevaluate current immigration vetting from 7 failed states. M stands for Minnesota if I remember correctly and we’re supposed to get more local coverage so the story coverage shouldn’t even be close, it should be all about the knife attack that happened in Minnesota…10 to 1 but as we can see the proportion is skewed against Trump’s actions…how many stories did MPR have on Obama’s order in 2011, maybe 1 (if so I couldn’t find it 10 pages deep in my searching)? Thanks for pointing these things out because it’s nice to show the bias when we can see it clear as day!

    • Rob

      YAWN. The U.S. administration implementing an unconstitutional ban on hundreds of thousands of travellers from many different countries is a way bigger story than a demented knife-wielding attacker at an outstate Minnesota shopping center.

    • Archer Mouse

      I wonder why the NPR network reports on sweeping national legislation that affects the entire country more than a guy injuring 10 people in a small town shopping mall in Minnesota.


      • Will

        I’m talking about MPR, want me to include NPR stories too? I could post another few dozen stories from NPR too…but that would simply reinforce my point so I doubt you want me to do that. No, I’m talking about Minnesota Public Radio, you know where the stabbing happened.

        BTW, NPR should cover the Trump order more so than the stabbing here in Minnesota, but the reverse should be true with MPR covering the stabbing here versus a national issue like the executive order. See what I’m saying?

        • Rob

          I see what you’re saying but I don’t buy it.

    • MPR had an entire team focused on St. Cloud case. Also, the Somali terror connection stories and investigation in Minneapolis outnumbers almost every other story of the past 10 years.

      That said, your notion that because MPR is in Minnesota, a local story by default is a bigger story than a national story based solely on geography is just an awful editorial position. More often that not, however, the national stories are localized. That’s certainly been the case with Trump’s order too, as it should be.

      Further, your editorial standard ignores how all of these stories are actually connected. Where does the stabbing story end and the executive order story begin? Nowhere. They’re all part of the bigger picture.

      Big pictures are hard for people. Fortuntely, professional journalists know how to cover them.

    • // M stands for Minnesota if I remember correctly and we’re supposed to get more local coverage so the story coverage shouldn’t even be close,

      This is an incorrect assumption.

      It also ignores the difference between a breaking news story and the coverage thereof, and the deeper story behind it (which is completely aligned with the MPR mission). As St. Cloud appeared to be a case of someone radicalized, one would have to include all the MPR stories about the problem of radicalization and the influence of ISIS propagdanda in assessing that coverage. MPR is absolutely unparalleled in that task, though it requires research with more integrity than a previously held opinion and five minutes of Googling.

      It also ignores the fact that the breaking news aspect of the St. Cloud case lasted for almost two weeks (highly unusual for the breaking news portion of a story), and that MPR also pulled an editor from the rotation to assemble a team over that period with a group of reporters whose sole purpose was working on one story. That’s VERY unusual .

      Google doesn’t tell you that so when people who don’t know what they don’t know rely on five minutes of “research” to confirm previously held opinions, well, garbage in. Garbage out. And thank God the people who work for this organization are more proficient at these things.

      Where is the link (contact) between ISIS and the radicalization of young men in our area? Good question. Did you miss the MPR coverage of the recent terror trials? Pity. It was incredible.

      If you’re an MPR member, you should inquire about a tour of the place so you can learn more about how news is made.

      • Will

        MPR did a great job on coverage of the ISIS recruitment in Minneapolis, I’ll give you that.

  • Ken Rowe

    Instead of saying that “it never happened” why not actually reference the case she was referring to where two Iraqi refugees were sent to prison for their terrorist activities.

    • Will

      I do have to question the obsession the media has with the “Bowling Green massacre”, remember when Obama accidentally said he was Muslim and then corrected himself? Focusing on a misstep and misspoken phrase when it was later correct is unfair and dishonest; it was dishonest when the talk radio people and InfoWars conspiracy theorists did it with Obama and it’s wrong that the mainstream media is now doing it with Conway.

      • SoZo
      • She is an accomplished media professional, and one must assume she knew exactly what she was doing.

        • Will

          She can be an idiot some times.

      • ellie

        This may explain why I’ve never heard Obama admitting he’s a Muslim from a reputable news source:
        Maybe someone could fact check the fact check if they’re interested, but it appears to be an instance of guerrilla editing, not actual fact.

        • Will

          Um, I was referring to time when Obama said “my Islamic faith” and a reporter corrected him, that is 100% fact and what happened, I am not referring to edited videos.

          • Ralphy

            Obama said “you are absolutely right that John McCain has not talked about my Muslim faith”.
            The interviewer said “your Christian faith”.
            To infer an equivalence to this statement and Kellyanne Conway’s premeditated statement regarding the Bowling Green massacre is intellectually dishonest.

          • The actual transcript of the interview explains why Obama said “Muslim faith.” The question he was answering was about whether McCain had pinned the — obviously incorrect — innuendo that he was Muslim.

            In fact when Stephanopoulos “corrected him” he began to explain why he just said “Muslim faith”, when Stephanopoulos interrupted him again.

            STEPHANOPOULOS: You mention your Christian faith. Yesterday you took off after the Republicans for suggesting you have Muslim connections. Just a few minutes ago, Rick Davis, John McCain’s campaign manager, said they’ve never done that. “This is a false and cynical attempt to play victim.”

            OBAMA: You know what? I mean, these guys love to throw a rock and hide their hand. The…

            STEPHANOPOULOS: The McCain campaign has never suggested you have Muslim connections.

            OBAMA: No, no, no. But the — I don’t think that when you look at what is being promulgated on Fox News, let’s say, and Republican commentators who are closely allied to these folks–

            STEPHANOPOULOS: But John McCain said that’s wrong.

            OBAMA: Now, well, look. Listen. You and I both know that the minute that Governor Palin was forced to talk about her daughter, I immediately said that’s off limits. And–

            STEPHANOPOULOS: But John McCain said the same thing about questioning your faith.

            OBAMA: And what was the first thing the McCain’s campaign went out and did? They said, look, these liberal blogs that support Obama are out there attacking Governor Palin.

            Let’s not play games. What I was suggesting — you’re absolutely right that John McCain has not talked about my Muslim faith. And you’re absolutely right that that has not come–

            STEPHANOPOULOS: Christian faith.

            OBAMA: — my Christian faith. Well, what I’m saying is that he hasn’t suggested–

            STEPHANOPOULOS: Has connections, right.

            OBAMA: — that I’m a Muslim. And I think that his campaign’s upper echelons have not, either. What I think is fair to say is that, coming out of the Republican camp, there have been efforts to suggest that perhaps I’m not who I say I am when it comes to my faith — something which I find deeply offensive, and that has been going on for a pretty long time.

          • Ralphy

            Thanks Bob.
            The search I did pulled this video clip, which is where I took my quote.


          • Right. All the videos were edited to remove the context. I’m sure it was just an oversight.

      • Ralphy

        The Obama – Muslim statement never happened. Except in a widely circulated, heavily edited “fake news” video.

        Conway made her statement on at least two other occasions, as reported by CBS, testing the wasters and setting the stage for making the statement to a national audience. Conway knew exactly what she was saying, and why she said it.

        What she did not intend was to get caught in a lie, and pointing out how well the US security apparatus did its job.

      • Sam M

        She misspoke twice and when I read and heard her remarks the way she described how she misspoke doesn’t jive.

        I know it’s hard having every word you say parsed but sometimes we do need to hold accountable.

      • Rob

        I don’t remember Obama accidentally claiming to be a Muslim, because he never did. What else ya got?

  • Katie Ploetz- Sanchez

    The Orlando Pulse Nightclub is on this list. Are you kidding me? That was international news. Brussels is on this list, that was on BBC, CNN, in the NY Times. Paris 2015 is on this list…seriously…these are just a few that immediately stand out. But if I had to go down line by line, I am sure I could find many more. This is just another example of Trump trying to create a new history to force his narrative to fit his wants.

    • Ralphy

      …San Bernadino, Boston, Garland …
      I do notice that there is not one terrorist attack perpetrated by white people on the list. Perhaps those get too much coverage, in the opinion of Trump and his circle.

  • The news standard that Trump apologists seem to want is something like Limbaugh or Fox News, where these stories are flogged over and over, mixed with plenty of editorializing – but that is not the journalism we want if we are really seeking to be informed. Who has the time to listen to hours of that bloviating when there is real information from reliable news sources out there? I sure feel that I can think for myself, given the facts – and they can keep their obsessive screeds.

  • MrE85
  • MrE85

    This slander against the press has got old Joe fired up, too.

  • ellie

    Have we considered that maybe these stories weren’t covered in the media sources that the Trump team rely on?

    • Anna

      That’s a good point, Ellie. Trump only reads print media as in the major newspapers/magazines, WSJ, NYT, LA Times, WP, Time, Newsweek, etc. or he’s watching the TV news giants like CNN, Fox, CBS, NBC, and ABC

      They would need a major recycling bin if Trump were to get a subscription to every newspaper and magazine that still has print available.

      By the time the print copies are on the newsstands, the story has traveled millions of times around the world via the Internet and 24/7 news channels.

      Trump doesn’t use the Internet except for his Twitter rants. He doesn’t use email either. He claims it’s not secure and I suppose he’s right to a point.

      Oh! God. Did I just say that?

      Of course he’s got Sean Spicer to spoon feed it to him if he misses anything leaving out the credible bits.

      • emersonpie

        You’re almost certainly right about what he reads, but does anybody seriously think Trump came up with this list himself?

        • Anna

          The fact that he used the 7 countries from Obama’s original order in 2015 tells the story and here I thought he chose those countries because he doesn’t have business interests in them.

          Foolish me. He’s dumber than he looks.

          He’s like the boss that steals the credit for everything his subordinates do having done absolutely none of it himself.

          His minions will grow tired of that very quickly.

          What’s the saying? “Better to remain a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

          I think Trump would be wise to take that one to heart.

    • MikeB

      This is propaganda by the head of state. It is a strategy of delegitimization, those who are in Trump’s way.

      And, it’s a way of saying you do not report this they way we want, therefore you are ignoring it.

  • jon

    So now that there is a written list is there any way for the press to sue the white house for libel?

    I don’t think they will… but such actions after trump promised to open up libel laws his whole campaign would be just wonderful.

    • No, it’s not a feasible possibility and the media has other things to do.

      Look at the big picture. The president appears to be undermining faith in anything that provides check and balances. The Fourth Estate, congress, and the judiciary.

      Keeping focused on big pictures requires ignoring the noise of sycophants.

      • jon

        I get that.

        I wouldn’t think the press as a whole is into the idea of making themselves the story…

        But If Trump keeps up his alternative facts spin machine he will be facing libel suits at some point… If he isn’t already.

      • MikeB

        Sycophants and trolls. So easy to get sidetracked by shiny distractions.

      • Rob

        Several good articles in the Guardian today on all the undermining going on.

      • Heb Ienek

        The President is saying what 1/2 the country is thinking. It’s what got him elected.

        • No doubt. Look, the guy isn’t stupid. He conducted a great campaign and understood the desire for change, particularly running against a status quo candidate. People didn’t want the status quo.

          People want someone to blame for their woes. Whether it’s Congress or the media or the judiciary. He understands that . He’s not stupid.

  • MrE85

    I’m interested in the mysterious reasons professional journalists have for suppressing this information. He did assure us there were reasons. Tell us more, sir.

    • Henk_sg

      They aren’t, whatever “reasons” there are are all in Trumps head.

  • One of the reasons it might SEEM to President Trump, who lived in New York, that St. Cloud didn’t get the attention it deserved is that at the same time, there were separate bombings in New York City.

    • Will

      Yes, that’s true, it was a scary time. But where are the human sob stories about the stabbing or the bombing? That’s where the media can push their narrative.

      • Mike Worcester

        The St. Cloud Times covered extensively the stories of the victims of the Crossroads Mall attacks. So did most of the MSP media.

        • Will

          Name one victim off the top of your head.

          • Mike Worcester

            Okay, if you insist, Ryan Schleip, from Willmar MN.

          • First of all, NONE of the victims in the St. Cloud attacks received life threatening injuries. Second, every victim who wanted to talk to the media, found more than willing journalists who wanted to talk to them. Every. One.

            The chattering class’s attempt to guess the reality of journalism ignores the #1 thing that drives journalists: a great story. The St. Cloud incident was a great story.

            But let’s not make it 9/11. It wasn’t. The coverage was reflected that.

          • Heb Ienek

            “First of all, NONE of the victims in the St. Cloud attacks received life threatening injuries.”

            Oh well, that’s different then.

          • I see your point but it’s misplaced. It doesn’t make the attack any less signficiant for the reasons exhaustively stated. What it does explain, though, is why there have been no recent followup stories on how they’re doing.

            When you have life threatening injuries, you have a story to follow on an ongoing basis: their recovery. We see that, of course, with the Boston Marathon bombing.

            Their stories got told — except for the one who didn’t seek medical attention. Telling them again isn’t really a barometer of anything.

            Focusing on the big picture of radicalization is a proper and proportional response.

          • Heb Ienek

            Yeah, I get you and don’t have an argument against it. Personally, while I certainly do think the media a) is biased as hell and b) has a personal bone to pick with Trump, I don’t think this particular issue is that big a deal.

            In my opinion, Trump really needs to pick his battles; but he seems to have a lot of energy, he is sitting in the White House and I’m not.

      • // the human sob stories

        What’s a human sob story? And why do you choose to use that language to describe them?

  • Will

    I think the terrorism stories are not covered for as long or as in depth as political issues that many in the media oppose. For example, where are the sob stories where Cubans were turned away with Obama’s “wet foot, dry foot” policy change??? I’m seeing media outlets (including APM) actively pursue stories by asking people to tell their tales about Trump’s EO but no similar request from Cubans who were hurt by Obama’s order (also where were those stories in 2011 from Iraqis???). It’s a matter of creating a narrative, why no follow up stories from those who were stabbed in St. Cloud? How are they doing? What do they think about terrorism? They were stabbed by an ISIS recruit, if the media wanted to continue to cover the story they could but it doesn’t help with their narrative so it’s fine to not do weekly/monthly follow ups.

    • Kudos for your starting your conclusions with “I think.”

      • Will

        I’m not going to state my beliefs as facts. I see too many in the media doing that. Would saying I believe be better?

    • KTN

      Look at a map. Cuba is pretty far from Minnesota, but, Cuba is really close to Miami. Maybe read the Harold to find those human sob stories you seem so obsessed with.
      The travel change for those leaving Cuba did not stop anyone, it merely puts those people on equal footing as other mmigrants. No more special treatment for those refugees. Seems right doesn’t it.

  • NorthMn

    I haven’t seen coverage of the aftermath of the St Cloud and Orlando attacks, other than human interest stories about the terrorists. Where are the victims? Where are all of the Dateline NBC style interviews with the victims? How are they doing now? What do they think? Anyone with a brain in their head knows that there are hundreds of ISIS sympathizers in Minnesota, but the media here has no interest in finding them, just the same old brain dead illogical liberal spin spin spin. Mn media, CAIR, pretty much the same agenda.

    • // but the media here has no interest in finding them

      Your declarative sentence ignores the fact that literally thousands of hours of reporter time has been spent on this very question, resulting in dozens of hours of reporting on it, including multiple-reporter staffing of the terror trials by reporters.

      One can only make this sentence if one ignores the facts, or intentionally does not ask the questions necessary before making such a statement.

      But, thanks for the advice on how to do journalism, the foundation of which is asking questions and seeking facts FIRST.

  • Paulc

    Maybe I missed it but nobody is going to call out the change of language? The President said “It’s gotten to a point where it’s not even reported, and in many cases the very, very dishonest press doesn’t even want to report it.” and then Spicer et. al change that to inadequate coverage? One major press fail, imo, is not pointing out that the admin just moved the goal post.

  • Mike Worcester

    To address the coverage of the Crossroads Mall attacks — Maybe the NY Times was not on the case right away, but rest assured there was not crickets by more local media ( St Cloud Times, Forum Communications, MSP t.v., etc.). For days afterwards we learned a lot about the attacker and his victims. The Times in particular did an excellent job being thorough and being patient as city and federal officials did their jobs.

  • Richard

    If Trump didn’t read or didn’t understand his own executive order that replaced the Joint Chiefs with Steven Bannon, then I wonder who might be spoon feeding him his news? Any guess?

  • Aaron

    Not enough coverage? I was sitting in Athens, Greece watching the mall that I frequented as a student of SCSU on the BBC!

    • Heb Ienek

      BBC: British Broadcasting Company. I think Trump is referring to US media, but I could be wrong.

    • Will

      How many follow up stories did you see on that incident from the BBC?

  • Al X

    The attacks that got the least coverage were those that happened to none westerners. Another interesting aspect of this list is the difference in outcomes when a knife was used versus a gun. Just saying. And finally… not a single one of these attacks were committed by Syrians (country on the list) while many were committed by Saudis (not on the list).

  • ellie

    The BBC has weighed in on which attacks they covered:

    It’s an extensive list, with links to coverage.

  • AmiSchwab

    in europe i’ve read about almost all of them. trump’s pouring
    on some alt-facts again

  • MrE85

    This nonsense is not setting well with the Fourth Estate.

  • Will

    Did we all fall for Trump’s game? Here we are discussing numerous terrorist attacks the day his executive order is going to court which will be justified based on these attacks. This is headline news because many in the media are so eager to prove Trump wrong, while playing into his hands.

    • We’re pretty much discussing one. But the reason it’s news is because it is. News.

      Two states availed themselves of their rights in the justice system and the order will get its day in court. The news media will tell you what happened.

      This, as I like to say, is a feature of our country; it’s not a bug. This is the system at work.

      You can always change the channel.