Networks Waste Nearly 10 Mins on Trump Boycott; Barely Preview Actual GOP Debate

In the latest sign that the liberal media loves the candidacy of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, the “big three” of ABC, CBS, and NBC devoted nearly 10 minutes of their Thursday evening newscasts to capitulating to the “master of stealing the show” in Trump but only one minute and 29 seconds for previewing the actual debate with the top seven candidates that don’t include Trump. 

Overall, that works out to the Trump coverage being over six times the size of the time given to the debate. This comes on top of the six minutes and 31 seconds spent on the Democratic campaign as the scandal-ridden Hillary Clinton continues to battle the socialist Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont. 

Leading the way for Trump was ABC’s World News Tonight as anchor David Muir, Republican correspondent Tom Llamas, and former Clinton administration official/ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos used four minutes and 11 seconds of airtime to express their glee at Trump’s “long simmering feud” over Fox News versus just 31 seconds for the actual debate.

Following Muir’s lengthy open, Llamas’s segment obsessed over Trump’s interview with FNC’s Bill O’Reilly that took place nearly 24 hours ago as Trump “kept bashing [Megyn] Kelly” as O’Reilly attempted to convince Trump to change his mind. 

The lone soundbites from Trump’s opponents focused exclusively on reacting to Trump’s boycott and the media coverage surrounding it (without Llamas admitting that he himself has contributed to this circus). 

Stephanopoulos joined Muir on set after Llamas’s piece from Iowa and continued to ironically explain how Trump has the establishment, liberal media in the palm of his hand: 

If Trump were a normal candidate, this would be a deal-breaker. It would raise questions about temperament, it would raise questions if you’re afraid of a tough debate? But there's a real risk here. Here's the calculation. What does he get in return? Control. He controls the news cycle before the debate, controls it during the debate, controls a lot of it after the debate and he eliminates a risk, as well.

Meanwhile, CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley made quite the understatement when he told viewers before going to chief White House correspondent Major Garrett (whose piece mirrored that of ABC’s Llamas): “Donald Trump is a master of stealing the show, but this time he's aiming to run away with it.”

Pelley made sure to inform those watching before going to the Democratic race that CBS’s digital network CBSN “will be carrying tonight's Trump event.” For CBS, the network spent a scant 27 seconds looking ahead to the primetime debate but two minutes and 16 seconds for Trump.

Tell the Truth 2016

NBC Nightly News reserved the entirety of its two-minute-and-43-second opening segment to Trump as national correspondent Peter Alexander touted the Trump event: 

Tonight should be the Republican's final showdown before the Iowa caucues. Instead, Donald Trump's no-show is stealing the spotlight. The front-runner staging his own primetime event to raise money for veterans, going head-to-head on TV with the news debate just three miles away. Even drawing a pair of his underdog opponents, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum. 

Describing Trump as “defiantly positioning himself as the dealmaker in chief,” Alexander noted how a number of veterans groups have already been contacted about receiving proceeds from the money raised at the Trump event. 

Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd gave NBC the lone 32-second preview of the actual FNC debate, but not before spending more precious time analyzing the Trump boycott and if there’s any ramifications for the billionaire:

Not from anybody that's thinking about supporting Trump and that’s probably good news for him. Look, he has figured out a way to steal the spotlight from this debate before it started and there's already a lot of rumors around here that he may figure out how to steal the spotlight after the debate is over. That maybe he shows up in the spin room, or he figures out a way and that's been his camp in nutshell is he figures out how to almost pull the rug out from under his opponents. 

Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck is the Managing Editor of NewsBusters for the Media Research Center