White House: St. Cloud mall stabbings on list of attacks that 'did not receive adequate attention'

Dahir Adan injured 10 people during the stabbing spree at St. Cloud's Crossroads Center mall.

President Donald Trump, speaking to service members at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida, said terror attacks were happening "all over" Europe, but not being reported by the news media.

"And in many cases, the very, very dishonest press doesn't want to report it. They have their reasons, and you understand that," Trump said, according to CNN.

Following those comments, the media asked White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer for a list of terror attacks the president was referencing. Spicer provided a list of 78, which was tweeted out by CNN's Kevin Liptak, and noted most "did not receive adequate attention from Western media sources."

On the list was the stabbings at the Crossroads Center mall in St. Cloud.

Ten people were injured before an off-duty officer shot and killed the knife-wielding attacker. Authorities released surveillance footage, and said the attacker – Dahir Adan – asked victims if they were Muslim and was heard yelling “Allahu akbar” and “Islam Islam" while in the mall.

How it was covered

The stabbing occurred on a Saturday night, and was quickly picked up locally by abunchofnewsoutlets.

Sunday it began to work through the national organizations. But it did overlap with another large violent incident that day: The bombings in New York and New Jersey. So here are the front pages of three big, notable, national news sites from Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016, (thanks to the WayBack Machine's internet archive):

CNN Sunday night read "3 attacks on US soil," with the St. Cloud mall attack sandwiched between the New York City and New York/New Jersey explosives stories.

The Guardian also had the St. Cloud attack on its front page Sunday, though below the East Coast explosions that injured 29.

Fox News also featured the St. Cloud mall attack, plus the NY/NJ incidents.

The New York/New Jersey explosions are also on the list Spicer produced, by the way.

Searches during that time

Meanwhile, Google saw a huge spike in traffic starting Sept. 18 for the terms "Crossroads mall," "St. Cloud," and "mall stabbing" in its news section.

So even if people weren't aware of the details, they had heard enough about a Crossroads mall stabbing in St. Cloud that they went to Google News to learn more. And that interest came from across the U.S., with people in states like California, Georgia, Maine, Washington, Tennessee and more looking up those terms.

It seems unlikely, based even just on the sources linked above, that those people searching would have been met with insufficient stories about the mall attack from U.S. news outlets.

Now remember, Spicer and the White House have only argued they think "most" of these incidents "did not receive adequate attention from Western media sources."

So there's some wiggle room. They could feel that the St. Cloud mall attack truly did get insufficient coverage, even if the coverage was as widespread, accessible, and oft-searched as it appears.

The Trump administration has not shied away from criticizing the media since taking office.

Next Up