PBS Journalist Slammed for 'Nasty' Tweet

Twitter users blast PBS journalist Gwen Ifill for writing 'Take that Bibi' after Obama secured necessary votes to ensure Iran nuclear deal.

Moshe Cohen,

Netanyahu presents his "nuclear bomb" graphic at the UN in 2012
Netanyahu presents his "nuclear bomb" graphic at the UN in 2012
Avi Ohayon/GPO/Flash 90

PBS journalist Gwen Ifill is under fire for a seemingly mocking tweet directed at Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Ifil's tweet - “Take that, Bibi” - was issued after reports emerged that US President Barack Obama had secured the necessary number of votes in Congress to ensure the passage of the Iran nuclear. 

It generated hundreds of protests and comments on her Twitter feed, with readers accusing her of bias, anti-Semitism, and “acting like a third grader.”

The tweet came after Maryland Democrat Barbara Mikulski issued a statement saying she would support the deal, which some have viewed as a landmark moment for Obama, apparently also Ifill. 

But while she may be a supporter of the deal, and a “fan” of Obama - one Twitter user called her “Obama's hagiographer,” over the complimentary picture of the president she gave in her book The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama - Ifill is supposed to be an objective journalist, critics said, especially given her position as the the host of PBS’s Newhour program.

Among the almost universally negatives responses to the tweet were: “Seriously? (Netanyahu's) country is in jeopardy and you thumb your nose at him? Shame on you!;” "She certainly revealed herself to be a jerk on that one!;” “A woman your age should have learned something about dignity;” and “Remind me again why you think you are a journalist. You think this was some kind of game?"

Ifill defended herself on Thursday, saying the tweet had been misunderstood; she had not been expressing her own opinion, she claimed, but what she imagined feelings in the White House and State Department were toward Netanyahu.

“As you may (or may not) have noticed in my subsequent tweet, I was calling attention to what the State Department was doing today,” Ifill wrote to the Washington Free Beacon, which asked her about the kerfuffle.

“Why do you ask? It was not a shot at Prime Minister Netanyahu, even though it has become apparent that, in certain circles, it was taken as one. I was calling attention to what seemed to me to be criticism directed toward him coming from State.”

I am a little surprised that, based on my actual record of covering these issues, that anyone would take it as anything more,” she wrote to the Beacon. “But I have discovered people who want to, can overinterpret [sic] anything, especially on Twitter."