Trump says Seaside Park bombing was ‘underreported’ — but it wasn’t
Above: Body camera footage of Linden police encountering Seaside Park bombing suspect Ahmad Rahimi
President Donald Trump says the “very dishonest press” hasn't paid enough attention to all the terrorist attacks that have happened around the world — including one here in New Jersey.
The Seaside Park bombing in September was on a list the White House released Monday night of 78 such incidents that the president believes were underreported. Most of the attacks on the list happened outside the United States.
“The real point here is that these terrorists attacks are so pervasive at this point that they do not spark the wall-to-wall coverage they once did," White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said in a statement distributed to media.
The bombing in Seaside Park on that fall Saturday morning did not cause any injuries, but a bombing later that night in the Chelsea section of Manhattan injured 31 people. The events received extensive coverage by the state and region's media, leading TV newscasts and carrying the front pages of all the major newspapers for days.
Townsquare Media was one of the first outlets on the scene, as New Jersey 101.5 sister station 105.7 The Hawk was there to cover the military charity race, the target of the trashcan bombing.
News 12 New Jersey also was on the scene, covering the race while the explosion happened — and covered the aftermath for hours. Here's how one of their reporters on Tuesday reacted to the White House list:
New Jersey 101.5 broke into its weekend music format in order to update listeners with the latest breaking news:
- Trash can bomb explodes on route of Seaside Park military charity race
- FBI doesn’t know who set off Seaside Park bomb … Urge public: ‘Talk to us’
- Seaside explosion ‘clearly an act of terrorism,’ Christie says
New Jersey 101.5 was there when bombs were detonated at the Midtown Elizabeth train station and hours later when the suspect, Ahmad Khan Rahimi, was caught after a harrowing shootout with Linden police:
- CAPTURED! Man wanted in NJ, NYC bombings in custody after police shootout
- Men ‘walking on the side of the angels’ carried Elizabeth bombs 1,000 feet
- ‘I’m homeless’ — Video of moments before NJ police shootout with terror suspect
Our investigative reporters, meanwhile, went back through years of court and police records to tell a more complete story about the suspect and his family:
- He snapped during prayer: Rahami tried to beat sister with dumbbell, she told cops
- NJ terror bombing suspect’s mom was charged with beating and biting 7-year-old
- Family of NY/NJ bombing suspect sued city, claiming anti-Muslim harassment
National media organizations brought attention to the claim by the suspect's father that the FBI and federal terrorism investigators failed to adequately investigate his son:
New Jersey 101.5 was far from alone in providing extensive coverage. The New York Times, for instance, provided breaking news coverage the day of the explosion, reported on the investigation as it continued, explored suspect Rahimi's background and progression to an accused terrorist and spoke to community members about how the bombing affected their lives.
Breitbart News, formerly headed by current Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon, reported on the bombing as well — citing local coverage, including New Jersey 101.5's.
The Times is also one of several news organizations to provide breakdowns of their own coverage of the various incidents Trump alleged were underreported. USA Today published a similar list of 200 articles of its own Tuesday.
Our hosts led conversations about immigration and terrorism for days — and have revisited the topics several times since.
Afternoon host Jeff Deminski shared his thoughts about talking to his 11-year-old son about the news — "Why New Jersey can’t ignore terror anymore."
Dennis Malloy — "Immigrants are welcome, but don’t try and change us" — said the attack "illustrates how some immigrants and their view of our great country has changed."
Deminski — "Embrace the American culture or get out" — argued that "we have too many people coming to this country who hate being here. Too many people who are not embracing the culture."
Our coverage continued as Rahimi made his way through the courts on state charges of attempted murder of police and federal terrorism charges.
We had stories about his case a month before the presidential election:
And a week after Trump's victory:
And we're not done yet. We will continue to provide coverage as Rahimi heads to trial.
Below: Linden Officer Peter Hammer, who captured Seaside Park bombing suspect Ahmad Rahimi, is released from a hospital.
Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-438-1015 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.