For a president who often accuses the media of promoting fake news, Donald Trump seems to have no qualms about fabricating stories when they suit his purpose. But what's more alarming, as John Oliver noted in the latest episode of Last Week Tonight, President Trump also has a knack for turning a blind eye to legitimate news stories that don't fit his narrative for America.
Oliver began the segment noticeably tired of having to talk about the president yet again. "The reason we have to start with him is that Trump dominates the news cycle the way a fart dominates the interior of a Volkswagen Beetle. There is simply no escape from him. Case in point, [Saturday] night Trump held a pointless rally in Florida and got roadblock coverage across cable news. And while his speech was mostly boiler-plate Trump...there is one thing he said while warning about the danger of refugees that caught people's attention."
Long story short, Trump suggested that Sweden had been a victim of a terror attack perpetrated by refugees on Friday night. Which was news to Sweden. After the rally, the Scandinavian nation had to ask U.S. officials what the president was talking about.
After learning that Trump was referencing a story that he saw on Fox News' Tucker Carlson Tonight, the Swedes offered to give the Trump Administration a crash course on their country.
We look forward to informing the US administration about Swedish immigration and integration policies. https://t.co/x5G3euOWRh— Embassy of Sweden US (@SwedeninUSA) February 19, 2017
But as Oliver pointed out, what's alarming about this story isn't that the president is woefully uninformed about global issues. Or that he continues to get briefings from cable news. What's shocking is that The Donald didn't address a recent bomb plot based in Florida -- where Trump was speaking.
Last week, authorities arrested Florida resident Mark Barnett who was allegedly planning to bomb Target stores along the east coast. The accused wasn't trying to protest Target or draw attention to a cause, according to authorities. They say Barnett figured that the explosions would make Target stocks plummet, which meant he could by them on the cheap and make a tidy profit.
But rather than address that homegrown plot, Trump turned the nation's attention toward incidents of terrorism around the world. So today's media have to be vigilant not only in questioning President Trump's claims but also in tracking stories that might get lost because everyone is focusing on The Donald's latest outrageous gaffe.