PBS ombudsman Michael Getler dinged News Hour co-anchor Gwen Ifill Thursday after Ifill tweeted out a zinger Wednesday apparently aimed at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The tweet, simply, "Take that, Bibi," linked to a report on growing support for the Obama administration's Iran deal among Democratic members of Congress.
Getler called the quip "inexcusable" and a "self-inflicted wound" for PBS. He said that when contacted, Ifill said she was simply summarizing the opinion of the Twitter account she was linking to. Getler did not buy it.
"[T]o personalize it by saying, 'Take that, Bibi' is, in my book, inexcusable for an experienced journalist who is the co-anchor of a nightly news program watched by millions of people over the course of any week," he wrote.
Getler praised Ifill near the end of the post as "a highly experienced journalist, very quick, alert, knowledgeable and with an engaging on-air personality," but gave her yet another slap on the wrist.
"It is not the first time that I have written about Ifill and tweets," he wrote, referencing an exchange from several years ago when Ifill stuck up for a fellow journalist who was fired by Yahoo! News for a joke about the Romneys.
"PBS and the NewsHour are bigger than any individual, and tweeting does not appear to be a tool, in these cases, that is appropriate for maintaining credibility, which is the bedrock for news organizations," Getler added.