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September 4, 2015 12:09 pm

Ombudsman Says PBS Journalist Gwen Ifill’s ‘Take That, Bibi’ Tweet Was ‘Inexcusable’

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PBS anchor Gwen Ifill. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

PBS anchor Gwen Ifill. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The PBS ombudsman took NewsHour co-anchor Gwen Ifill to task on Wednesday over a White House Iran deal announcing retweet she vamped up with a seemingly personal note: “Take that, Bibi.”

The White House Twitter account created specifically to spread information about the pending agreement between the P5+1 powers and Iran to rein in the country’s wily nuclear program sent out a tweet that said, “With the #IranDeal, Iran’s [nuclear] program is significantly less dangerous. This is what the famous drawing looks like now,” along with an image mimicking the cartoon bomb drawing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu famously displayed before the U.N. general assembly indicating how close Iran’s enrichment program had brought the country to making nuclear weapons.

Ifill, who has 123,000 Facebook followers, included another message in her retweet, “Take that, Bibi [a widely recognized, benign nickname for the Israeli prime minister],” sparking an outrage that apparently flooded ombudsman Michael Getler’s inbox with a slew of angry messages.

As Netanyahu is an outspoken opponent of the Iran agreement — the prime minister, never shy of American politics, flew to Washington at republican Speaker of the House John Boehner’s invitation to declaim his qualms with the Iran deal — Ifill’s note was taken by web browsers as her own personal statement, rather than a reiteration of the White House’s, which she later said was her actual intention.

“One would have to lean way over backwards to give her the benefit of the doubt that she was simply shedding light on the administration’s view of portions of Netanyahu’s arguments. But to personalize it by saying, ‘Take that, Bibi’ is, in my book, inexcusable for an experienced journalist who is the co-anchor of a nightly news program watched by millions of people over the course of any week,” wrote Getler.

Because of her influence and wide following, Getler warned that such statements would do little for “maintaining the credibility” of her news organization. He noted this was not the first time Ifill had created a stir through Twitter — three years ago she tweeted in support of a colleague after he made inflammatory remarks, also drawing listener backlash.

Ifill has been with PBS since 1999, and notably moderated the 2004 and 2008 presidential debates. Despite the Ombudsman’s admonishment that “PBS and the NewsHour are bigger than any individual,” Ifill kept the tweet on her feed.

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  • News anchors should be fair and balanced. In Ms. Ifill’s case, she was biased towards a sitting Prime Minister, and in so explaining her position, she exposed herself as being an anti semitic dupe of the Left in this country. Fair and balanced means hearing all sides of the story and commenting objectively. In the case of PBS and NPR, there is no such thing as being fair and balanced. Only objectively a left wing approach that glorifies the most anti semitic President in US history.

  • Jesse Joseph

    Gwen finally showed her true feelings after all these years. She is on the side of the murderous Iran.

  • Florence

    Shame on her. There goes her professionalism. She is certainly not a professional but a small, petty person.

  • It is impossible to imagine a good reason for failure to fire Ifill. This type of personalization of perspective on the news should be considered intolerable. At the very least, she should make a public apology both to Netanyahu and to the public, for taking advantage of her position to express her unwanted opinion.

  • Fred

    It is a shame for Ifill to stoop that low. But as a PBS supported it is necessary to stoop low below the gutter. I did like her skill as journalist but raising ignorance to great heights ugh….

  • nelson marans

    She has always been anti-Israel so her remarks were not out of character. Unfortunately she has influence both in the liberal and black community

  • E Pluribus Wombat

    It’s silly to expect Gwen Ifill or any of PBS to adopt rhetorical stance short of the Nazis. They are hard core Obamadroids. What do you think they’re paid to say?

  • Yale

    When Iran takes the money and then renounces the JCPoInaction, it will prove that Netanyahu has been right all along.

    Will Ifill admit that she has been profoundly wrong?

  • harri

    she can try to whitewash it all she wants; bottom line, she hasn’t done her research, or if she has, she chooses to ignore Iran chanting “death to America”. so is she incompetent?, stupid? or a socialist collaborator to dismantle America and facilitate bombing of Israel and the U.S????

  • steven L

    Using the Obama shield!
    Shame on U!

  • SteveHC

    THIS is why I steadfastly refuse to watch or listen to PBS’s and/or NPR’s news broadcasts and related shows – their on-air staff are FAR too loose publicly displaying their own personal biases. INCREDIBLY unprofessional, and untrustworthy as news broadcasters.

    Not that any of this is new.

  • Just another reporter who wishes she could have worked for Der Sturmer. Oh that’s right, she does!

  • George Ouimette

    she needs to go.

  • enufizenuf

    Look, her allegiance is to her fellow African-Americans, especially the druggie in chief, and it’s certainly not to Jews. I mean a few of the ultra-liberal Jews in Georgetown are all right, but not to those racist Israeli types or their supporters in the US. She agrees with the Louis Farrakhan about them.

  • Susan Staehs

    Gwen Ifill,
    The Iran Nuclear Deal Lacks The Security That Is Needed To Protect The World. Isreal Is The only Democratic Country In The Middle East.
    I Thought PBS Is As Unbiased News Outlet.
    Politics, Party Lines And Color Issues Do Not Belong In The Iran Nuclear Deal. Shame on you for
    Your Personal Agenda

  • Carolebolotin

    It is totally inexcusable, but, unfortunately, predictable, that PBS has continued to employ this outrageous partisan newsreader!!! Unfortunately, I will NOT continue to watch PBS until they do the proper and ethical thing…FIRE IFILL!!!

  • Paul Grad

    Hill is yet another government propaganda hack. PBS Newshour is a worthless nightly dose of Obama-promoted garbage.

  • jack moss

    an inappropriate remark from someone who knows better

  • Pierette Winter

    I stopped watching the PBS news a while ago. Ifill disturbed me and her expressions when speaking about Prime Munister Netanyahu and Israel revolted me.

  • Shoshana Bryen

    And yet, despite the “inexcusable” nature of the tweet, she appears to have been excused. Or at least she remains employed.

  • Gwen Ifill, Shame on you. Your Anti-Semitism is showing.

  • Sam Harris

    Lets not get out of shape about this. It’s an off the cuff tweet.She’s a good journalist. Besides, not everyone is in love with Bibi.


    So what happens to the witch now ??

    A censure by the ombundsman should require at the minimum a public apology.

  • z

    PBS and the rest of the CIA media has lost all credibility long ago. Fake scripted theater narratives, fake holographic productions, fake “journalists”, all gov mafia propaganda all the time.

  • Jonah

    Credibility? What credibility? Her true motives are those of her master and we all know what he thinks of Israel. Could someone please warn Trump as he goes before CNN they intend to attack him with gotcha questions. Please give him some advice, tell him to bring in what use to be a junior senator who’s only answer to any question while in office was “Present”. Now he can answer all the questions, on trumps behalf, about all the Isis generals names, he knows them personally, all the terrorist groups by name, what territory’s they claim to hold, what weapons they possess, he also knows what weapons and the financing required for eliminating Israel…because he is seruptitiously funneling everything required for the destruction of Israel….he is meeting their needs. Now all Donald needs to know is that the he will have Netanyahu update him on the middle east Dellimma. Don’t get in a pissing contest with a bunch of Obama skunks.

  • Jack

    What a non story.
    I’m Canadian.
    If I was so thinned skinned as to be insulted because Americans don’t like a position I take on U.S. policy, or when they rejoice in their nations strengths, I should keep my mouth shut.
    Benji is thick skinned. He can take it.
    Besides, I am sure he loves the freedom the U.S. represents!
    First amendment says Gwen has the right to free speech.
    Deal with it.

  • David Epstein

    I listen to PBS all the time and to the various programs that Gwen Ifill has anything to do with. I have been finding her more and more troubling since I doubt that underneath it all she is not willing to give Judaism a fair shake.