NBC’s Andrea Mitchell Gushes John Kerry 'Doesn't Give Up Easily’; Touts Pizza Named After Him

On Tuesday, NBC’s chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell took time out of her NBC Nightly News report from Switzerland on the Iranian nuclear talks to hail Secretary of State John Kerry as someone who “doesn’t give up easily” and gush that a local pizzeria in the town where the talks are being held has decided to name “a pizza after him.”

Following a lead-in from interim anchor Lester Holt, Mitchell started by describing negotiators having the “weary look of college students pulling an all-nighter” and noted that “President Obama had said they wouldn't go past March 31st” but now will continue. It should be mentioned that, to her credit, she was the only network reporter Tuesday night to mention that fact.

After soundbites from White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest and senior Iranian negotiator Hamid Baidinejad, Mitchell reported that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov returned to talks Tuesday night after having left on Monday and promising to return only “if there were progress.”

Next, she outlined the major questions that have yet to be solved for a deal to be reached and then concluded with her praise for Kerry:

John Kerry doesn't give up easily, but if he doesn't get a nuclear deal, he has at least made his mark here. A local restaurant has named a pizza after him. Arugula, chicken, onion and bacon to go. Even if there is a deal tomorrow, the U.S. will not get the specific commitments – all of the specific commitments it had once hoped to get from Iran. That will make it harder to sell to critics who fear the administration is making too many concessions just to get a deal.

While there was no mention of a pizza, ABC’s chief foreign correspondent Terry Moran’s reporting from Switzerland for World News Tonight featured a similar paradox as Mitchell’s did between reporting and bias. In a short, 47-second segment, Moran first painted a grim picture for negotiations by declaring that “it feels like the wheels are coming off” as “[t]he French are threatening to leave in the morning” along with “the Germans.”

From there, however, Moran moved to provide spin for the American and Iranian sides with a historical argument as well as criticism for those against a deal: 

[B]ut the Americans are still at it. Why? They feel they’ve come so far down the field here, they don’t want to give up the progress they have made and think about it. Americans and Iranians haven’t spoken to each other for decades and they have been together for months, and they’re close and they know critics in both countries want to kill these talks and they feel it may be their last chance.

Over on the CBS Evening News, State Department correspondent Margaret Brennan outlined the steps that would need to be taken if a preliminary deal is reached: 

Well, Secretary Kerry will have to convince a U.S. Congress that’s in a mood to levy another tough round of sanctions on Iran to hold off some skeptical Republicans and Democrats want to be convinced that this deal’s going to have the desired effect of preventing Iran from building an atomic bomb. On the other hand, the Iranians have to convince hardliners at home that they gained more than they gave up to the West here and that message could make it even harder for Congress to swallow. 

The relevant portions of the segment from March 31's NBC Nightly News are transcribed below.

NBC Nightly News
March 31, 2015
7:10 p.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE CAPTION: Nuclear Deadline]

LESTER HOLT: The initial deadline has come and gone to nail down a framework for a nuclear deal with Iran, but the talks among the U.S., Iran and five other countries are going into overtime.

(....)

ANDREA MITCHELL: They had the weary look of college students pulling an all-nighter. The world’s top diplomats missing their own midnight deadline, but making enough progress, they said, to justify keeping at it till tomorrow. President Obama had said they wouldn't go past March 31st. Now, they are. 

(....)

MITCHELL: Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov left the talks yesterday, saying he would only return if there were progress. Tonight, he came back. In this final phase, the U.S. and Iran are leaning heavily on their nuclear experts. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, and Iran nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi, both from M.I.T., but it may take more than two nuclear physicists to solve these problems. What kind of nuclear research will Iran be allowed after the first ten years of an agreement? Will the U.N. sanctions be lifted in June as Iran demands or just suspended so they can be slapped back on if Iran cheats? John Kerry doesn't give up easily, but if he doesn't get a nuclear deal, he has at least made his mark here. A local restaurant has named a pizza after him. Arugula, chicken, onion and bacon to go. Even if there is a deal tomorrow, the U.S. will not get the specific commitments – all of the specific commitments it had once hoped to get from Iran. That will make it harder to sell to critics who fear the administration is making too many concessions just to get a deal.

The relevant portions of the transcript from ABC’s World News Tonight with David Muir on March 31 can be found below.

ABC’s World News Tonight with David Muir
March 31, 2015
6:42 p.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE CAPTION: High Stakes]

DAVID MUIR: And now, overseas to the developing headline from Switzerland at this hour. The U.S. and those high stakes nuclear talks with Iran. This evening, word from inside those meetings about tonight’s deadline. ABC’s chief foreign correspondent Terry Moran on whether there's any deal. Terry? 

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: High-Stakes Talks; Deadline Passes Without Nuclear Deal]

TERRY MORAN: Not tonight, David and that means negotiators have failed to meet their deadline and it feels like the wheels are coming off. The French are threatening to leave in the morning. So are the Germans, but the Americans are still at it. Why? They feel they’ve come so far down the field here, they don’t want to give up the progress they have made and think about it. Americans and Iranians haven’t spoken to each other for decades and they have been together for months, and they’re close and they know critics in both countries want to kill these talks and they feel it may be their last chance.

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