Today President Trump told a military audience that terrorist attacks were so common that the press barely even reports them anymore. “In many cases, the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it. They have their reasons, and you understand that.”
Asked about these mystery attacks, Sean Spicer said at a press briefing, “We’ll provide a list later.” And he did! But it was plainly ridiculous, including lots of attacks that were not just covered, but massively covered. The complete list is below. In order to provide a metric that Trump can appreciate, I’ve highlighted seven of the best-known attacks and provided their Google search scores as a percentage of the Google score for Trump’s inauguration:
And now for the $64 question: WTF? Why would Spicer release such an obviously laughable list? I’m not one for 11-dimensional chess, but the answer seems pretty obvious to me.
Just think for a second. What are we all talking about tonight? A great big list of terrorist attacks. Would we be talking about terrorists if Spicer had released this list merely as evidence that there are lots of terrorist attacks in the world? Of course not. That would be a yawn. We’re talking about it solely because it’s so stupid. That’s what got it a lot of attention.
Is this deliberate? Or just an instinctive animal cunning on Trump’s part? Beats me. But unlike most of us, Trump doesn’t care if lots of people think he’s an idiot. He just doesn’t have the instinct for shame. What he cares about is getting everybody talking about a big list of terrorist attacks, and he knows that to do that he has to give us all a reason to talk about them. If the price of that is some mockery, that’s a trade he’s willing to make. Mission accomplished.