NBC and CBS Hosts See Prisoner Swap As 'Good Sign' of 'Diplomatic Breakthrough' With Taliban

While all three broadcast networks provided critical coverage of the Obama administration's decision to exchange five Taliban terrorists for American soldier Bowe Bergdahl, Meet the Press host David Gregory and CBS This Morning co-host Norah O'Donnell both attempted to spin the controversial deal as brilliant diplomacy. [Listen to the audio]

Interviewing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Sunday's Meet the Press, Gregory argued: "This is potentially a good sign if you think about the future of Afghanistan....does this pave the way for perhaps a new round of negotiations with the Taliban directly between the United States and the Taliban about the Taliban's future in running Afghanistan?"

On Monday's This Morning, O'Donnell posed a similar question to terrorism analyst Juan Zarate: "This exchange represented a rare diplomatic breakthrough between the United States and the Taliban....What does this mean do you think for the future of Afghanistan, for the future of talks with the Taliban?"

Here is a transcript of Gregory's June 1 exchange with Hagel:

10:35 AM ET

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DAVID GREGORY: But this is potentially a good sign if you think about the future of Afghanistan. If Bergdahl was held by the Haqqani network, really the most hardened Taliban fighters who operate out of Pakistan, does this pave the way for perhaps a new round of negotiations with the Taliban directly between the United States and the Taliban about the Taliban's future in running Afghanistan?

CHUCK HAGEL [SECRETARY OF DEFENSE]: Well, it could, it might, and we hope it will present an opening. As you know, we have strongly supported an Afghan-led effort to come to an agreement with the Taliban. As you know, we had engaged with the Taliban up until 2012. They broke off those negotiations. We've had no formal relationship since then. So maybe this will be a new opening that can produce an agreement.

GREGORY: There is some blowback to what is being treated as very good news, the release of the prisoner.

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Here is a transcript of O'Donnell's June 2 exchange with O'Donnell:

7:10 AM ET

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NORAH O'DONNELL: Let me ask you, I mean, this exchange represented a rare diplomatic breakthrough between the United States and the Taliban. Fascinating to hear the special forces were on the phone with the Taliban negotiating all these details. What does this mean do you think for the future of Afghanistan, for the future of talks with the Taliban?

JUAN ZARATE: Well, you're right, Norah. It is an instance of a material, you know, event that results in the discussions that have been had with the Taliban for some time. The administration has been trying to get to this point for some time, since 2011. What this does at a minimum is it builds trust between the parties. And we'll see what happens now moving forward between the Taliban and the Afghan government, which was not a part of these discussions.

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— Kyle Drennen is News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Kyle Drennen on Twitter.