The liberal media continued to act as promoters of Donald Trump on Wednesday as ABC’s World News Tonight and NBC Nightly News devoted over six minutes to Trump accusing Ted Cruz of “stealing” the Iowa caucuses while the CBS Evening News spent only 35 seconds on Trump and Ben Carson lashing out at Cruz.
Among the most intense moments was ABC’s Republican correspondent Tom Llamas clashing with Cruz during a press conference using Trump’s talking points about the Cruz campaign supposedly using “a dirty trick to confuse voters” into not voting for Carson (due to a report that he would be leaving Iowa to go home to Florida).
ABC continued its dithering over Trump as anchor David Muir led with Trump’s quarrels and proclaimed that there was a “new battle just six days before the New Hampshire primary” with “Trump blasting Ted Cruz, saying she stole Iowa using, quote, ‘dirty tricks’ and then Cruz, shooting back.”
“Donald Trump saying Cruz misled voters by hinting to them that Ben Carson might be getting out of the race, even though that was not the case,” Muir hyped.
Llamas read portions of a Cruz campaign e-mail at the center of the Carson controversy and soundbites from Trump and Carson before video of Llamas asking Cruz if he would “fire or suspend anyone in your campaign for putting out misinformation.”
Cruz responded that he wouldn’t and turned the tables on Llamas by invoking the liberal media as the confrontation escalated:
REPUBLICAN SENATOR TED CRUZ (Tex.): No, we're not going to scapegoat anybody and I would note that the news story that our team passed on was true and accurate. CNN reported it and, in fact, Ben did go to Florida instead of New Hampshire, or South Carolina, and so, you got to understand —
LLAMAS: Was it a dirty trick to confuse voters?
CRUZ [to LLAMAS] Is it a dirty trick to pass on your news stories? You’re in the news business. Would you think it was a dirty trick if I was forwarding an ABC story? Or is it a dirty trick to pass on CNN’s story.
Following Llamas, there was an eight-second brief on Senator Rand Paul (Ky.) dropping out of the 2016 race but ABC then gave another full story to Trump as chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl ruled that these complaints Trump has raised about Carson and the Iowa caucus results are “absolutely not” going away.
“If there is one thing that we have learned about Donald Trump, it's that when he strikes a nerve, when he gets a rise out of one of his opponents, he continues to hammer and hammer and hammer away at it. He certainly has gotten a rise out of Ted Cruz on this,” Karl declared.
Over on NBC Nightly News, anchor Lester Holt noted that Cruz “is busy barnstorming through New Hampshire with a wind at his back and apparently a target on his back” (mostly from Trump and Carson). Correspondent Hallie Jackson set the scene on Trump’s latest diatribe this way:
While Republicans push ahead in New Hampshire, Donald Trump's looking back to Iowa, sparking a new feud with the man who beat him there. “Ted Cruz didn't win Iowa,” Trump tweeted, “he stole it.” Adding “either a new election should take place or Cruz results nullified.” It's one of Trump's harshest attacks, less than 48 hours after one of his most gracious moments.
NBC devoted two minutes and 32 seconds on the GOP race, but one minute and 58 seconds of that went to Trump’s newest quarrels with his opponents with the remaining time footnoting Paul and Rick Santorum leaving the GOP field but also Jeb Bush’s awkward plea for the audience at a campaign event to “please clap” after a line in his stump speech brought only crickets.