Hey listen, Mr. President: It’s not always about you. Sometimes, D.C. is just a city in which newsworthy city things happen and have nothing at all to do with the comings and goings of the federal government and its leaders. But try telling that to national news organizations, who’ve made noting the proximity to the White House and/or “the nation’s capital” a cliché in District coverage.
Here are a few of the most egregious cases. It’s by no means exhaustive, and we’re not including events directly relevant to White House security, including that recent drone crash on the lawn. We’re also collecting examples on Twitter at @BlocksFromTheWH, so if you come across any good ones, give us a mention.
Push the buttons on the graphic to reveal the details.
1. What: An explosion! “Two men seriously injured from boiler explosion on K St. NW, 3 blocks from White House” (ABC 7 News)
Where: .4 miles away
When: Jan. 18, 2015
Why the White House shouldn’t worry: Just a boiler exploding, folks, move along.
2. What: Stabbings! The assaults at Pennsylvania Avenue NW bar McFadden’s happened “eight blocks from the White House in the nation’s capital.” (Reuters)
Where: .9 miles away
When: Dec. 27, 2014
Why the White House shouldn’t worry: Nothing suggests the assailants intended to stab their way down the street afterwards.
3. What: Religious iconography! “[Just a] little over a mile from the White House,” the Indonesian embassy erects a Saraswati statue. (Press Trust of India)
Where: 1.1 miles away
When: June 10, 2013
Why the White House shouldn’t worry: Just some statuary. Bonus points to news organizations who noted in their headlines that Indonesia is a Muslim country.
4. What: A terrorist! Ahmed Abu Khatallah, accused mastermind of the 2012 Benghazi attacks, appears in court “less [than] two blocks from the U.S. Capitol” (Wall Street Journal) or “just a mile from the White House.” (France24)
Where: 1.2 miles away
When: July 8, 2014
Why the White House shouldn’t worry: He’s already in federal custody.
Where: 1.9 miles away
When: Oct. 3, 2014
Why the White House shouldn’t worry: It turned out it wasn’t Ebola.