U.S. President Obama greets President-elect Trump in the White House Oval Office in Washington.
(photo credit: KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS)
NEW YORK – For all the sound and fury emanating from Israel over Barack Obama’s abstention at the UN Security Council last week, the story in American media has played less as a diplomatic crisis and more as a rare, savory public battle between the outgoing president and his successor, Donald Trump, who tried to stop the move.
Through the Christmas news lull, broadcast segments on the nation’s top stations highlighted the long and fractious history between Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the changes likely to come under Trump, whose son and choice for ambassador to the Jewish state have a warm relationship with the Israeli Right.
The New York Times ran on its front page on Christmas Eve a headline claiming that “niceties give way to turf war between Obama and Trump” over Israel, while CNN treated it as a partisan battle, airing debates between Democratic and Republican surrogates and pundits defending their political principals.
One CNN correspondent characterized the move as a “parting shot” by Obama against Netanyahu, with whom he has had a “rocky relationship” over the last eight years. That characterization dominated coverage by Fox News, which treated the move as objectively hostile to Israel.
Newspapers focused more on details of the resolution and on the diplomatic drama that surrounded its passage than did television networks, which turned to filling their news hole on Christmas Day with motivational holiday stories and live coverage of the death of British pop singer George Michael.