Barbara Walters: Past Her Prime, No Longer Respectable, Needs to Be Fired

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Barbara Walters Interviews Her Friend, the Murderous President Assad

In the cozy, nepotistic world of national, broadcast journalism (think: Liz Cheney, Luke Russert and Chelsea Clinton), ancient broadcast personality Barbara Walters, has broken every rule of decency.

Emails seen by The Daily Telegraph reveal Walters tried to help Sheherazad Jaafari, the daughter of Syria’s UN ambassador, secure a place an internship with Piers Morgan’s CNN program and a seat at Columbia University.

When confronted with the damning emails, the 82-year-old broadcaster admitted a conflict of interest and expressed “regret” for her actions.

Miss Jaafari, 22, was a close adviser to Mr. Assad and was at his side as Syrian troops stepped up their campaign of killing and repression. She would speak to him several times a day, sometimes calling him “the Dude” in her adopted American accent and was sometimes the only official in the room when he did interviews with Western journalists.

Jaafari, whose father — Bashar Jaafari has known Walters for around seven years, and began dealing with the broadcaster late last year as ABC News lobbied for an interview with Mr. Assad.

Walters’s interview in December – the first with an American TV network, made headlines around the world after Mr. Assad denied he was responsible for the crackdown which had already resulted in more than 9,000 civilian deaths in Syria. The emails show that, after the interview, Miss Jaafari and Walters stayed in close contact.

When Miss Jaafari returned to New York she reached out again to Walters, whom she referred to as her “adopted mother”. In return, Walters called her “dear girl” and sometimes signed off “Hugs, Barbara”.

They pair met for lunch at the Mark Hotel on Manhattan’s Upper East Side in late January, where Miss Jaafari apparently asked for a job at ABC News. Walters said she refused but offered to use her contacts to help her in other ways.

Shortly afterwards, Walters emailed the young Syrian saying: “I wrote to Piers Morgan and his producer to say how terrific you are and attached your resume.” She also asked whether Miss Jaafari was still planning on applying to Columbia University and offered to help.

A week later, Walters emailed Richard Wald, a professor at the Columbia School of Journalism and the father of Jonathan Wald, Morgan’s executive producer.

Walters described Miss Jaafari as “brilliant, beautiful, speaks five languages” and asked whether there was “anything you can do to help?” Professor Wald replied that he would get the admissions office to “give her special attention”.

Wald said that he was told Miss Jaafari had not applied and so he did not intervene on her behalf. He added: “I would ask the admissions office to give special attention to anyone with a recommendation from Ms. Walters or anyone else in Journalism.”

Ultimately, Miss Jaafari did not get the internship nor a place at Columbia.

Walters was one of only a handful of Americans invited to a private party hosted by the ambassador in March 2011, the same month that the uprising against the Assad regime began. The only other journalist on the guest list was a reporter from Press TV, Iran’s state-owned television channel. Walters did not attend the event.

Barbara Walters, currently the host of ABC’s The View, a daytime talk show geared toward women and current events has enjoyed a half-century long career, Walters has interviewed many of the biggest figures in American politics and culture.

In a statement, Walters said: “In the aftermath [of the Assad interview], Ms. Jaafari returned to the US and contacted me looking for a job. I told her that was a serious conflict of interest and that we would not hire her. I did offer to mention her to contacts at another media organization and in academia, though she didn’t get a job or into school. In retrospect, I realise that this created a conflict and I regret that.”

Miss Jaafari was part of a young circle of aides who advised Mr. Assad to speak to the Western media as evidence of atrocities mounted. When he agreed to the interview with Walters in December, Miss Jaafari wrote a list of talking points advising that the “American psyche can be easily manipulated” if he were to make a limited expression of regret. Miss Jaafari did not respond to phone calls, texts or emails.

Barbara Walter’s actions don’t merely have the appearance of impropriety, they are very essence of impropriety. It is clear that Miss Walters is well past her prime, is no longer a respectable journalist and needs to be fired by ABC News.

This entry was posted in Assad, Barbara Walters, Braindead Media, International News, News and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Barbara Walters: Past Her Prime, No Longer Respectable, Needs to Be Fired

  1. Joe in Colorado says:

    Barbara Walters’ lack of judgment exposes her for what it is: a doddering sycophant who has over stayed her welcome. I agree with you, she needs to be fired by ABC News. Her presence at ABC undermines their brand.

  2. Marcus Ybanez says:

    Miss Jaafari wrote, “American psyche can be easily manipulated.”

    Really, Miss Jaafari? Not this American. I see you for exactly who you are. I think your daddy’s boss is a mass murderer and you’re are nothing but a vicious princess beholden to a Nazi-like killer.

  3. Brigadoon says:

    Baba Wawa is old and senile. She needs to be living in an assisted living facility with a shawl over her frail, bird-like legs. But certainly not interviewing brutal dictators for ABC.

  4. Jim says:

    How disgusting. On every level, a gigantic misfire for Ms. Walters. Yep, time for her to go and float off into the sunset of senility.

  5. Rachel says:

    Walters was once a trailblazer for women entering electronic journalism. No other female reached had achieved her level of accomplishment. It’s a sad end to a once remarkable career. But at 82, she has sold whatever scruples she had and now “regrets” laying down with a dictator.

  6. Harry says:

    “I regret….” That’s all Barbara Walters could muster? She’s a disgusting human being.

  7. Matteo says:

    Hey Baba Wawa, does this make you smile? You dumb bitch.

    Syrian Activists: New Massacre in Hama

    Activists say pro-government militia and security forces have killed at least 78 people, including children, in Syria’s central province of Hama.

    Some of those killed in the village of Mazraat al-Qabeer were stabbed to death, the activists said, and at least 12 bodies had been burned. Some activists who spoke to Reuters said at least 40 of the victims were women and children.

  8. Pechanga says:

    Nope. Still not willing to give Barbara Walters a Get Out of Free card.

    She used her influence in a classic quid pro quo to help Sheherazad Jaafari get a leg up in one of America’s imminent Ivy League universities and for employment at CNN. This outrageous stunt was the price she was willing to pay for “the get” — the Assad interview. Walters is a whore.

  9. Randy Arroyo says:

    If Walter was willing to do this for a lousy interview with Assad, I wonder what she would be willing to do if she could travel back in time to interview Hitler? Maybe give Goebbels a blow-job? She’s the essence of unscrupulous.

  10. fran says:

    Walters is of Jewish descent…. one would think there would be a heightened sensitivity to genocide.

  11. Bobalismus says:

    Oh, dear. Look at that headline: “Barbara Walters Interviews Her Friend, the Murderous President Assad.” I can see a measured and objective bit of analysis coming. Yeah, right.

    Even in the face of this scathing and impolite piece (Senile? Aged? Really?) I appear to be missing the point. What is the objection here? That Walters helped someone she knew? Is that unusual? As a longtime veteran of the broadcast biz, I’ll tell you that you’re nuts if you don’t use contacts. Or… Is it the rash and brash statements of a 22 year old? In fact, she is right. We are easily manipulated, as witness that almost 50% of the 99% voted for Romney, and that FOX News continues to enjoy its ratings advantage. We’re suckers before a laughing world and we deserve to be told about it. Was she supposed to persuade Assad, that beast, to stop and give up power? Don’t see that happening.

    This is, in my opinion, a piece of character assassination, a gotcha worthy of AM Radio. I am not a fan of Walters though I do respect what she accomplished in a man’s world at the time. I respect Liz Trotta for the same reason, though I loathe her political FOX BS and remember her fondly when she was sane. She also broke great ground for women. I just don’t see the fuss here, or the cause for attacking Walters on the basis of age, which is simply shitty, rude and desperate on the part of this author and those who feel the need to disagree with ad hominem slurs about her age. Those of us who get there will not want to be treated this way.

  12. I’ve often noticed that when people cannot think of a sensible and valid criticism to make they usually and frequently throw the age slur out to denigrate the person. And, the word senile is a favorite one so loosely used.

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