ABC’s WNT Hypes ‘Mount Trump Erupting’ By Giving Him Over Half Its GOP Coverage

Despite coming in second place and nearly falling to third in Monday’s Iowa caucuses, Donald Trump was still the dominant focus of the GOP segment on ABC’s World News Tonight with well over half of the four-minute segment devoted to the “Mount Trump erupting” on Twitter on Tuesday because he “never surrenders ground.”

Anchor David Muir started the newscast by briefly alluding to Senator Ted Cruz’s victory but shifted gears to Trump “firing off tweets tonight, a picture of him headed to New Hampshire a short time ago and what he's now saying about his second place finish in Iowa, arguing it was a long shot, great finish.”

Republican correspondent and Sunday anchor Tom Llamas took a similar path by also footnoting Cruz’s three-point win but only in the context of having defeated Trump and moving onto Trump’s “very short” speech and boasted he was “the man who always brands himself a winner sounding like a gracious loser.”

Giving Trump and his Twitter account all the attention in the world, Llamas rambled with multiple direct quotations from the billionaire’s tweets whining about his loss:

But today on Twitter, Mount Trump erupting, complaining about unfair media coverage of his, quote, “long-shot great finish in Iowa,” saying quote, “because I was told I could not do well, I spent very little there.” and finally, knocking the voters themselves, saying, “I don't believe I have been given any credit by the voters for self-funding my campaign. Not worth it.” Now, one of Trump's old tweets back in focus. “No one remembers who came in second.” Today, Cruz painting Trump as a candidate coming unhinged who can't be trusted. 

In the one minute and 46 seconds that didn’t pertain to Trump, Llamas used much of it to repeatedly promote the argument by Republican Governor Chris Christie (N.J.) that Republican Senator Marco Rubio (Fl.) should be referred to as “the boy in the bubble.” Llamas was shown moments later confronting Rubio after playing the clip in question from Christie:

LLAMAS [TO RUBIO]: Governor Chris Christie called you “the boy in the bubble,” suggesting that you are a very delicate candidate and you have not yet been tested. What do you have to say to that?

RUBIO: Well, look, Chris has had a tough couple of days, right? He's not doing very well. He did very poorly in Iowa and sometimes when people run into adversity, they don't react well and they say things maybe they'll later regret.

Muir returned to speak live with Llamas to round out the first segment by directing Llamas to elaborate on Trump:

And Tom joins us live from New Hampshire from the Donald Trump event tonight and Tom, Donald Trump now reminding everyone, he's been spending his own money on this campaign and Trump adamant that a second place finish was a major victory.

Llamas spun that since “Trump never cites a flaw and never surrenders ground,” his side reiterated that “they are much confident in New Hampshire than Iowa” due to national campaign manager Corey Lewandowski’s strong New Hampshire roots plus how Trump has “much more elected leaders behind them in New Hampshire than they did in Iowa.”

Tell the Truth 2016

For those interested in keeping score, the GOP segment by correspondent Major Garrett on CBS Evening News included 48 seconds for Trump in the larger two-minute-and-22-second piece.

NBC Nightly News featured two reports on the Republicans with correspondents Hallie Jackson on Cruz/Trump and Gabe Gutierrez on Rubio. The two segments combined for three minutes and 56 seconds but only one minute and 23 seconds of that concerned Trump and his Hawkeye State loss.

The transcript of the segment from ABC’s World News Tonight with David Muir on February 2 can be found below.

ABC’s World News Tonight with David Muir
February 2, 2016
6:31 p.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE CAPTION: Race for 2016; 7 Days to New Hampshire]

DAVID MUIR: And we begin tonight with the next battleground now, New Hampshire just seven days away and tonight, a new three-way battle taking shape already. Senator Ted Cruz, fueled by his first place finish in Iowa. Donald Trump, firing off tweets tonight, a picture of him headed to New Hampshire a short time ago and what he's now saying about his second place finish in Iowa, arguing it was a long shot, great finish and many now pointing to what could be new momentum for Senator Marco Rubio. Many late deciders in Iowa going with Rubio, who had a strong third place finish. The Republicans and their big debate this weekend on ABC, the night before the Super Bowl, but the game on the ground in New Hampshire is well under way. Chris Christie tonight calling Rubio “the boy in the bubble.” ABC's Tom Llamas, leading us off. 

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: 7 Days to New Hampshire; Three-Way Battle; Cruz, Trump, Rubio Fight for the Top]

TOM LLAMAS: Tonight, a three-way race for New Hampshire. Senator Cruz beating Donald Trump in Iowa. 

REPUBLICAN SENATOR TED CRUZ (Tex.): Let me first of all say, to God be the glory. 

LLAMAS: Trump's speech, very short. Just three minutes long. 

DONALD TRUMP: Thank you very much. I love you people. I loved you people. 

LLAMAS: In Iowa, the man who always brands himself a winner sounding like a gracious loser. 

TRUMP: Iowa, we love you. We thank you. You're special. We will be back many, many times. In fact, I think I might come here and buy a farm, I love it. 

LLAMAS: But today on Twitter, mount Trump erupting, complaining about unfair media coverage of his, quote, “long-shot great finish in Iowa,” saying quote, “because I was told I could not do well, I spent very little there.” and finally, knocking the voters themselves, saying, “I don't believe I have been given any credit by the voters for self-funding my campaign. Not worth it.” Now, one of Trump's old tweets back in focus. “No one remembers who came in second.” Today, Cruz painting Trump as a candidate coming unhinged who can't be trusted. 

CRUZ: Six weeks ago, Donald Trump was saying everyday that I was his friend, that he loved me, that I was terrific, that I was nice and now I’m an anchor baby. 

LLAMAS: But it's not just Trump. Cruz will also have to get through Senator Rubio, who finished a surprisingly strong third. 

REPUBLICAN SENATOR MARCO RUBIO (Fl): I think Ted's been very calculated and will say or do anything to get a vote. 

LLAMAS: Rubio sounding a lot like a first-term Senator who got a big boost from Iowa. Here's Rubio last night. 

RUBIO: So, this is the moment they said would never happen. 

LLAMAS: And here's Barack Obama in 2008. 

THEN-CANDIDATE BARACK OBAMA [in 2008]:They said this day would never come. 

LLAMAS: The President's former speechwriter tweeting that Rubio “could have at least thanked Obama for the opening line.” As Rubio rises, his opponents on the attack. Governor Chris Christie calling him “the boy in the bubble.”

REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE (N.J.): You know who the boy in the bubble is up here, who never answers your questions, who is constantly scripted and controlled because he can't answer your questions. [SCREEN WIPE] It's time for him to man up and step up and stop letting all his handlers write his speeches and handling him. 

LLAMAS [TO RUBIO]: Governor Chris Christie called you “the boy in the bubble,” suggesting that you are a very delicate candidate and you have not yet been tested. What do you have to say to that?

RUBIO: Well, look, Chris has had a tough couple of days, right? He's not doing very well. He did very poorly in Iowa and sometimes when people run into adversity, they don't react well and they say things maybe they'll later regret. 

MUIR: And Tom joins us live from New Hampshire from the Donald Trump event tonight and Tom, Donald Trump now reminding everyone, he's been spending his own money on this campaign and Trump adamant that a second place finish was a major victory. 

LLAMAS: And David, that's because Trump never cites a flaw and never surrenders ground, but tonight the campaign says they are much confident in New Hampshire than Iowa for two main reasons. First, Trump's campaign manager has worked in this state in politics for years. He even lives here. He knows the state inside and out and second, they have much more elected leaders behind them in New Hampshire than they did in Iowa. David? 

MUIR: Alright, we’ll see. Tom Llamas with us. Tom, thank you.

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