White House Defends John Kerry; Calls for Media ‘Perspective’ on Terrorism

Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Dipu Moni and US Secretary of State John Kerry speak at the US State Department May 17, 2013 in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

The White House did not criticize Secretary of State John Kerry, after he suggested that the media should “stop covering terrorism so much” during a press conference in Bangladesh.

When questioned for a response to Kerry’s comments, White House press Secretary Josh Earnest cited the president’s own media coverage preferences when it came to the subject of terrorism.

“The president still talks about [terrorism] a lot and we talk about the significant resources that are invested in protecting the American people, both at home and around the world,” Earnest said. “I think the president wants to make clear that it’s also important for people to have some perspective.”

Kerry’s comments about the media align with President Barack Obama’s own criticism of the media.

In November 2015, Obama criticized the media for focusing too much on the Islamic State and terrorist attacks like the one in Paris.

“One of the things that has to happen is how we report on this has to maintain perspective, and not empower in any way these terrorist organizations or elevate them in ways that make it easier for them to recruit or make them stronger,” Obama said during a press conference in Malaysia.

In October 2015, Obama demanded news organizations compare the deaths caused by terrorism to the victims of gun violence.

“[T]ally up the number of Americans who’ve been killed through terrorist attacks over the last decade and the number of Americans who’ve been killed by gun violence, and post those side-by-side on your news reports,” he challenged. He argued that over a trillion dollars and entire federal agencies were dedicated to prevent terrorism, but not preventing gun violence.

In December 2015, Obama noted disdainfully that he wasn’t watching enough cable news to appreciate how worried Americans were about terrorism.


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