The White House released a list of more than 60 attacks it felt didn’t receive adequate media attention last night, and an incident from Philadelphia made it. Donald Trump’s administration highlighted a January 2016 attack as not receiving enough attention, undoubtedly referring to the West Philly shooting of police officer Jesse Hartnett by Yeadon resident Edward Archer.
Archer told police he fired at Hartnett in the name of Islam and pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. Hartnett survived, and the FBI concluded Archer had no ties to terrorist cells after investigating the attack as a possible terror incident. Mayor Jim Kenney, who had just begun his tenure as mayor, caused controversy when he said Islam “had nothing to do” with the shooting, drawing blowback from then-presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio among others.
It’s not clear what Trump’s administration considers adequate coverage or whether it meant specific outlets didn’t give enough coverage of the shooting. We reached out to the White House and will update if we hear back.
For now, given that local media covered and continues to extensively cover the shooting’s fallout, we looked nationally to see how much coverage this Philadelphia incident received.
The New York Times
The newspaper Trump loves to hate featured at least three stories on Archer, including video of the shooting, a story about the shooting from two reporters on location in Philadelphia and an AP follow-up when the FBI concluded Archer did not have ties to terrorist cells.
The Washington Post
The Post had at least four stories, including details on the shooting when it occurred and the FBI’s investigation.
The far-right news outlet favored by Trump and his top adviser Steve Bannon — formerly the site’s Executive Chairman; actually, this was his title at the time of the shooting — extensively covered this, featuring at least seven stories. Breitbart had stories on the shooting, as well as several follow-ups on Kenney’s comments and the FBI investigation.
Based on web stories and transcripts from television spots, Archer was discussed around a dozen times. CNN covered details of the shooting and investigation, as well as blowback directed at Kenney by Rubio.
Fox News covered the story about as extensively as CNN but with less detail on blowback against Kenney and more on the FBI investigation and the health of Hartnett. Months after the incident, it featured an AP story on its website of Hartnett discussing how he survived.
MSNBC didn’t have as much coverage as Fox News or CNN — at least not that we were able to find. But Chris Matthews discussed the incident in-depth on “Hardball” with former Mayor Ed Rendell and a terrorism expert. He also featured comments from Ted Cruz condemning the attack.
National CBS, NBC and ABC all had extensive coverage of the shooting and featured some of their top talent discussing the story, such as Lester Holt. NBC even scooped local media with a story about how authorities were looking for other people connected to Archer (he has been the only one charged).