ABC cites Union Leader ‘bias’ after Trump editorial, cuts paper out of Feb. 6 GOP debate

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Via @realdonaldtrump on Twitter.
Via @realdonaldtrump on Twitter.

MANCHESTER, NHDonald Trump is taking credit for a recent move by ABC News, which has decided to “sever” ties with the New Hampshire Union Leader in advance of the scheduled Feb. 6 GOP debate at Saint Anselm College.

Series of Tweets posted by Trump on Sunday Jan. 10.
Series of Tweets posted by Trump on Sunday Jan. 10.

On Jan. 10 Trump Tweeted out to his 5.6 million followers that he “had the Union Leader “removed” from its position as a media partner for the ABC telecast, taking aim in particular at the newspaper’s publisher Joseph McQuaid.

A story published by Politico Sunday framed the situation as one that has  become increasingly “strained” between ABC and the Union Leader, ever since the Democratic debate in December, although the story did not elaborate on the particulars, citing only an unnamed source.

It also makes mention of a recent front page editorial written by McQuaid, which compared Trump to the fictional bully Biff from the “Back to the Future” movie series.

In response to the Politico story, the Union Leader also published a story Sunday about the falling out, quoting ABC News Vice President Robin Sproul who via email told McQuaid the reason for severing ties with the paper was to not appear “biased in favor of or against anyone on the debate stage.”

Union Leader front page, Dec. 28. 2015.
Union Leader front page, Dec. 28. 2015.

“We felt that the current war of words with Trump, coupled with the endorsement already made, put us in a difficult position — there was just too much distraction from what we need to accomplish in the debate,” Sproul wrote.

McQuaid was quoted in Politico saying he is “amused” by the move by ABC News, which he also called “spineless.”

“We are amused by ABC News apparently just discovering that we endorse candidates and write editorials. We have been doing both for many years and it has never been a problem with ABC or other debate sponsors,” McQuaid said.  “We consider ABC’s actions to be spineless. Between bowing to the DNC and Trump, ABC is more concerned about appeasing the parties and candidates than informing voters. The Union Leader will continue to serve Granite Staters by being a reliable source of information about where candidates stand.”


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About this Author

Carol Robidoux

PublisherManchester Ink Link

Longtime NH journalist and publisher of Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!