CBS, NBC Suggest Middle East Peace Plan a Ploy to Hedge Impeachment

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On Tuesday, President Trump along with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and his challenger Benny Gantz, together announced a new peace plan to settle the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It was a plan that guaranteed a two-state solution, but during their evening newscasts, CBS and NBC chastised the plan and suggested it was just a ploy to save Trump from impeachment and Netanyahu from corruption charges.

For something as important as peace in the Middle East, you would think the broadcast networks would dedicate a good chunk of airtime to discuss the plan, but you'd be wrong. ABC's World News Tonight let it slip by with just 27 seconds. CBS Evening News covered it for one minute and 56 seconds. And NBC Nightly News came in at one minute and 37 seconds.

“And it's been nearly three years in the making today, President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared together in the White House to unveil a plan for Middle East peace, but it's already been rejected we the Palestinians,” announced CBS Evening News anchor Norah O’Donnell.

White House correspondent Weijia Jiang kicked off her report by trying to malign their motives, stating: “For two leaders fighting for their political lives, there was no better time to announce a peace plan.

She added: “President Trump's impeachment trial was playing out on Capitol Hill while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had just been indicted on corruption charges hours earlier.” That was the only coverage impeachment got during their Tuesday evening’s newscast; completely ignoring the last day of President Trump’s defense.

 

 

Jiang also highlighted how Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas “slammed it as a conspiracy between the U.S. and Israel.” Of course, she failed to mention he was a glorified terrorist. But she did tout the fact “thousands of Palestinians filled the streets in Gaza City, burning pictures of Trump and Netanyahu and holding signs that read, ‘Palestine is not for sale.’”

Over on NBC Nightly News, anchor Lester Holt seemed to suggest the timing of the announcement was suspicious. “And as the impeachment drama unfolds, President Trump unveiled a controversial Middle East peace plan today alongside Benjamin Netanyahu, on the same day the Israeli prime minister was indicted back home,” he said.

Chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell was obviously peeved by the peace plan. “Two embattled leaders, one impeached, the other indicted, pitching a Middle East plan critics say is more about politics than peace,” she declared at the top of her report.

“Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu indicted for bribery and fraud, charges he’s denied, trying to win another term in March after two failed elections last year, today getting a big boost,” she added.

Mitchell went on to whine that, under President Trump, United States policies towards Israel actually recognized the facts: Jerusalem was Israel’s capital and they had a legitimate claim to the Golan Heights. “Now, as a sweetener to the Palestinians, he is offering billions in aid if they reject violence and recognize Israel,” she huffed as if it wasn’t good enough.

“But tonight, the Palestinian president said, ‘We will not kneel and we will not surrender,’” she hyped. Mitchell was also dismayed that the plan said: “Israel would control all of Jerusalem.”

The transcripts are below, click "expand" to read:

CBS Evening News
January 28, 2020
6:42:11 p.m. Eastern

NORAH O’DONNELL: And it's been nearly three years in the making today, President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared together in the White House to unveil a plan for Middle East peace, but it's already been rejected we the Palestinians. Weijia Jiang reports tonight from the White House.

[Cuts to video]

WEIJIA JIANG: For two leaders fighting for their political lives, there was no better time to announce a peace plan.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Today, Israel takes a big step towards peace.

JIANG: President Trump's impeachment trial was playing out on Capitol Hill while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had just been indicted on corruption charges hours earlier.

PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: It's a great plan for Israel.

JIANG: Mr. Trump sold his plan as the best bet for compromise to the 70-plus year conflict.

TRUMP: My vision presents a win-win opportunity for both sides.

JIANG: But the proposal, crafted by President Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, was considered dead on arrival since it was written without the Palestinians, whose president slammed it as a conspiracy between the U.S. and Israel.

The plan would allow for a Palestinian state only if they meet certain tests over time. Israel could continue annexing its settlements in the West Bank, and Jerusalem would be recognized as Israel's undivided capital.

Thousands of Palestinians filled the streets in Gaza City, burning pictures of Trump and Netanyahu and holding signs that read, "Palestine is not for sale."

[Cuts to video]

Tonight President Trump is holding a campaign rally in Wildwood, New Jersey, where thousands waited to get in, some since yesterday, despite the cold. Congressman Jeff van Drew will join the President on stage, because it's his district. Van Drew left the Democratic Party last month to join the GOP over impeachment. Norah?

O’DONNELL: All right, Weijia, thank you.

 

NBC Nightly News
January 28, 2020
7:09:34 p.m. Eastern

LESTER HOLT: And as the impeachment drama unfolds, President Trump unveiled a controversial Middle East peace plan today alongside Benjamin Netanyahu, on the same day the Israeli prime minister was indicted back home. Here’s Andrea Mitchell.

[Cuts to video]

ANDREA MITCHELL: Two embattled leaders, one impeached, the other indicted, pitching a Middle East plan critics say is more about politics than peace.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: They say it's the toughest deal ever to make.

MITCHELL: Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu indicted for bribery and fraud, charges he’s denied, trying to win another term in March after two failed elections last year, today getting a big boost.

PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: Mr. President, your deal of the century is the opportunity of the century.

MITCHELL: Completely shut out, the Palestinians. Protesting today in Gaza because the plan would give Israel more of their land. A future Palestinian state reduced to a patchwork connected by roads and tunnels. Israel would control all of Jerusalem with a future Palestinian capital on the outskirts of the city.

DENNIS ROSS (veteran Middle East negotiator): Well, obviously, a peace plan that has the acceptance of one party but not the other ultimately is not going to produce peace.

MITCHELL: The President had already moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, eliminated U.S. aid to Palestinian refugees, and endorsed Israel's claim to the Golan Heights. Now, as a sweetener to the Palestinians, he is offering billions in aid if they reject violence and recognize Israel.

But tonight, the Palestinian president said, “We will not kneel and we will not surrender.” Jordan also rejecting the plan as one-side. But the White House is betting the Palestinians have no cards left to play and sees this as good politics at home. Andrea Mitchell, NBC News.

NB Daily Events Trump Impeachment Middle East Israel/Palestine Bias by Omission Conspiracy Theories Labeling Broadcast Television CBS CBS Evening News NBC NBC Nightly News Video Lester Holt Andrea Mitchell Norah O'Donnell Weijia Jiang Donald Trump Benjamin Netanyahu

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