On Thursday morning, the major broadcast networks of ABC, CBS, and NBC were ebullient at the initial technical failures of Twitter Spaces for Governor Ron DeSantis’s (R-FL) 2024 presidential campaign announcement, seeking to kill DeSantis’s campaign and clear the GOP field.
Over five different segments, they barely touched on what DeSantis said and instead reveled in the “mess” that was “roundly mocked” and was a sign of “rough...waters” for his campaign against Donald Trump, who “[had] a field day.”
NBC’s Today was brutal. Co-host Hoda Kotb bragged in a tease of a “[r]ough rollout,” “troubled launch,” and “chaotic start to the Ron DeSantis presidential campaign, marred by technical glitches on Twitter.”
She added ahead of the first report that the server issues with Twitter left “the campaign scrambling on day one.”
National correspondent Gabe Gutierrez suggested DeSantis’s campaign has little in the way of interest and cheered Trump’s response:
Governor DeSantis’s team trying to brush this off, saying the candidate broke the internet, but other campaign launches on other platforms like YouTube and more traditional outlets typically have millions of eyeballs. This launch had several hundred thousand listeners. And so, former President Trump, Governor DeSantis’s main political rival, is having a field day, blasting the unusual campaign launch and calling it a disaster.
Further lampooning the nearly half-hour delay as “a rocky rollout,” Gutierrez completely ignored anything DeSantis said on policy.
“But his critics could hardly contain their delight,” he explained, “especially former President Trump slamming the Twitter announcement as a ‘disaster.’ Even President Biden tweeting a fundraising page, dryly pointing out, ‘this link works.’”
He continued to pummel DeSantis with attacks from the left and right even though he’s framed by the press as having little shot of victory (click “expand”)
GUTIERREZ: With the race in its infancy, Governor DeSantis trails Mr. Trump, the GOP front-runner, by more than 25 points in many polls, but DeSantis is well ahead of any other potential challengers for now.
NIKKI HALEY: He’s just an echo of Trump. I mean, I think that’s not what — that’s not what the American people want to see.
PROTESTERS: This is what democracy looks like!
GUTIERREZ: In Miami, a group of protesters gathered outside a DeSantis fundraising meeting in an upscale hotel. We spoke with one of his donors, who was in the room with other supporters as the glitches unfolded. [TO EBERHART] Because of the glitches in hindsight should he have stuck with a traditional announcement?
DAN EBERHART: I don’t think so. I think it’s who Governor DeSantis is. Look, he’s a bold leader willing to try new things and not going to do the cookie-cutter approach.
In the second hour, co-host Savannah Guthrie led into Gutierrez’s live shot by tut-tutting over the campaign for their “bumpy start.”
Over on the Disney-owned ABC, there was never any doubt as to whether Good Morning America would join in.
After co-host and former Clinton official George Stephanopoulos described the launch as “marred” and “riddled with technical difficulties,” chief Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl conceded DeSantis is “the most formidable Republican challenger to Donald Trump” with some “advantages.”
Aside from that, it was more of the same.
“[H]is plan to kick things off with a conversation with billionaire Elon Musk on Twitter was a mess...Riddled with technical difficulties, roundly mocked on conservative media, Fox News calling it a ‘disaster,’” Karl hyped.
Seeing as how a DeSantis victory would hurt his financially lucrative spot in the cottage industry of anti-Trump books, Karl tried to claim there was little interest in DeSantis:
DeSantis claimed the problems were caused because the audience was so large. But by the time he started, the app showed there were less than 300,000 people listening in, a tiny fraction of Elon Musk’s 140 million Twitter followers.
Socialist CBS Mornings co-host Tony Dokoupil came with jokes: “[I]t was billed as a great American comeback, those are the words of Ron DeSantis and you could set your clock by it, but you could not set your clock by that Twitter event.”
Correspondent Robert Costa opened with the framing of Team DeSantis as “disappointed by the technical glitches but they say the governor will plow ahead,” but quickly pivoted away to remark that “all this scrutiny and the criticism” DeSantis’s way was “a reminder of just how rough the waters are going to be in this campaign.”
Costa continued his portion of digging what the press view as a metaphorical grave for DeSantis 2024 (click “expand”):
COSTA: His rivals were quick to pounce. On Truth Social, former President Trump called the launch “a disaster” and President Biden tweeted a link to his fundraising site noting, “this link works.” On Twitter, a spokesman for the campaign said DeSantis “literally busted up the internet, Washington is next”, claiming he raised more than $1 million in the first hour, but DeSantis has a lot of ground to make up. In a new poll, Trump is dominating the Republican field with 53 percent support from likely GOP primary voters. DeSantis trails with 26 percent.
TRUMP CAMPAIGN AD: DeSantis was saved by the endorsement of President Trump.
COSTA: The Trump campaign also attacked DeSantis in new ads, showing how DeSantis previously supported the former President.
TRUMP CAMPAIGN AD: Isn’t it time DeSantis remembers how he got to where he is?
COSTA: Other candidates in the GOP field took on DeSantis, one saying he is imitating his former supporter-turned rival.
HALEY: The way he speaks, the way his hand gestures are, the fact that he’s moved his policies, all of it’s copying Trump.
Tossing back to Dokoupil, Costa warned that “the spotlight only gets brighter from here, and those Trump attacks will likely pick up speed”.
The liberal networks working to kill the DeSantis campaign and tag-teaming with DeSantis’s GOP rivals was made possible thanks to advertisers such as Amazon (on NBC), Ashley Homestore (on CBS), and Target (on ABC). Follow the links to see their contact information at the MRC’s Conservatives Fight Back page.
To see the relevant transcripts from May 25, click here (for ABC), here (for CBS), and here (for NBC).