ABC and NBC Hit Netanyahu’s Reelection: ‘Not A Triumph for U.S.-Israeli Relations’

On Wednesday, ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today repeatedly criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu despite his resounding victory on Tuesday night with ABC’s Alex Marquardt insisting that “this is not a triumph for U.S.-Israeli relations.” 

In a brief report, Marquardt did describe the “stunning victory for Netanyahu, a landslide that none of the polls had predicted” but made sure to note that “there’s a lot of disappointment at the White House this morning, realizing they have to try to work with Netanyahu for the next two years, a man who has been such a thorn in their sides.” 

The ABC reporter went on to rehash how “the White House also infuriated with Netanyahu's speech to Congress just two weeks ago” before insisting that his reelection will hurt relations between the United States and Israel:

A man who has been such a thorn in their sides and that is unlikely to change any time soon with Netanyahu this week coming out against a Palestinian state after the Obama administration has worked so hard on a peace process.  

On NBC's Today, Andrea Mitchell bemoaned how as a result of Netanyahu’s landslide victory “[i]nstead of a tie that might have forced Netanyahu to moderate some of his hardline stances, he now has a clear majority, clear sailing, to form a government.” 

The NBC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent went on to criticize Netanyahu for dropping his support for a Palestinian state, and argued that such a position would make relations with the Obama administration “poisonous”: 

Now this also means that the relationship with President Obama is going to be more poisonous because on Election Day, Netanyahu appealed to his voters to come out, saying that the Arab-Israelis were coming out in droves and he also said that foreign money from the U.S., from the State Department was financing his opposition. That’s only going to make it even harder to get along with President Obama. 

Mitchell used similar language to describe Netanyahu during Tuesday’s Nightly News, calling his lack of support for a Palestinian state a “last minute threat that could destroy any chance of a peace plan.” 

In contrast to the strong rhetoric used by ABC and NBC to describe Netanyahu, CBS This Morning actually featured supporters of the Israeli Prime Minister and reporter Barry Petersen only briefly mentioned how his victory was seen as a setback for the Obama administration: 

This is a tough break for President Obama. Netanyahu wants to torpedo the American-led effort in an Iranian nuclear weapons deal and he now says he opposes a separate Palestinian state, a major stumbling block in any Mideast effort at peace.

During Tuesday’s CBS Evening News, Petersen struck a much harsher tone when detailing Netanyahu’s surprising victory and made sure to mention how some in Israel have referred to him as a “racist” for opposing a two-state solution: 

Peace will be hard. Netanyahu is opposed to a Palestinian state. His chief opponent Herzog says he would support it, and all the other parties have their own differing views. I have to say, Scott, not a lot of optimism on this front.

See relevant transcripts below. 

ABC’s Good Morning America 

March 18, 2015

AMY ROBACH:  Overseas a major election shocker this morning with major implications here at home. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has mounted a surprise comeback, pulling off what appears to be a resounding win. ABC's Alex Marquardt is here to explain what this means for Mideast peace process and U.S. nuclear talks with Iran. Alex, good morning. 

ALEX MARQUARDT: Good morning, Amy. This is a stunning victory for Netanyahu, a landslide that none of the polls had predicted. You can be sure there's a lot of disappointment at the White House this morning, realizing they have to try to work with Netanyahu for the next two years, a man who has been such a thorn in their sides and that is unlikely to change any time soon with Netanyahu this week coming out against a Palestinian state after the Obama administration has worked so hard on a peace process. Of course, the White House also infuriated with Netanyahu's speech to Congress just two weeks ago. So while Netanyahu is savoring his victory this morning this is not a triumph for U.S.-Israeli relations. 

 

NBC’s Today 

March 18, 2015

MATT LAUER: Another major story getting attention in Washington, also around the world today. A resounding victory for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his country's closely watched election. So what does it mean for the U.S. and President Obama? Andrea Mitchell, NBC’s Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent is in Tel Aviv. Andrea good morning to you. 

ANDREA MITCHELL: And good morning, Matt. Well Netanyahu not only won, but won big. The opposition leader conceded to him this morning. Instead of a tie that might have forced Netanyahu to moderate some of his hardline stances, he now has a clear majority, clear sailing, to form a government. What does that mean? Well, first of all, in the closing days of the campaign, he came out against the creation of a Palestinian state.

The celebration last night was raucous in his headquarters even before the votes were counted. They know what this means because he said he is against a Palestinian state. That is a clear reversal of decades of Israeli commitments to the U.S., including Netanyahu’s own commitment to President Obama.

Now this also means that the relationship with President Obama is going to be more poisonous because on Election Day, Netanyahu appealed to his voters to come out, saying that the Arab-Israelis were coming out in droves and he also said that foreign money from the U.S., from the State Department was financing his opposition. That’s only going to make it even harder to get along with President Obama. It also vindicates Republican congressional leaders for inviting him to appear in Congress. And this is going to become a big issue for 2016 candidates, notably Hillary Clinton so it has a big effect on America. Matt and Savannah?

LAUER: Andrea Mitchell in Tel Aviv. We talked about just a couple of weeks ago when Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke to Congress that the relationship between the president and the prime minister was at an all-time low. 

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: And now they are stuck with each other for another couple of years.

LAUER: Exactly right.  

NBDaily Foreign Policy Israel/Palestine ABC Good Morning America CBS CBS This Morning NBC Today Andrea Mitchell Barry Petersen Alex Marquardt

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