PBS’s Gwen Ifill Stands By ‘Take that Bibi’ Tweet

Gwen Ifill / Twitter
Gwen Ifill / Twitter
• September 2, 2015 3:48 pm


Gwen Ifill, the host of PBS’s Newhour program, defended herself from criticism after taking heat for sending a tweet that many users interpreted as a shot against Israeli Prime Minister Benjain Netanyahu.

Ifill retweeted a message from the State Department’s official pro-Iran deal Twitter account claiming that the recently inked accord would significantly reduce Iran’s ability to produce a nuclear weapon.

"Take that, Bibi," Ifill wrote in a message sent with the State Department’s tweet.

Multiple users on Twitter quickly pushed back against Ifill’s message, claiming she was unfairly targeting the Israeli prime minister and revealing a pro-Iran bias.

When asked to clarify her tweet on Wednesday, Ifill defended herself and asked whether a Washington Free Beacon reporter was familiar with how Twitter works.

"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 in an email, explaining that she was attempting to highlight what she believed was the State Department’s view. "Why do you ask?"

When pressed to specifically explain the reference to Netanyahu, Ifill told the Free Beacon: "Since I was retweeting a Marie Harf tweet, perhaps that got lost in translation. You know how retweets work, right?"

After being informed that the Free Beacon was familiar with the mechanics of Twitter and again asked to explain her tweet, Ifill claimed that she did not intend to take a shot at the Israeli prime minister.

"No it was not a shot at Prime Minister Netanyahu, even though it has become apparent that, in certain circles, it was taken as one," she wrote. "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 added "But I have discovered people who want to, can overinterpret [sic] anything, especially on twitter. Thanks for reaching out. Gwen."

It is not the first time Ifill has been in hot water for taking what critics have described as a cheap shot at Netanyahu.

In March, Ifill was criticized for taking a swipe at Netanyahu during his speech before Congress, the Daily Caller reported.