Tags: assad | walters | aide

Barbara Walters Apologizes for Trying to Help al-Assad Aide

By Martin Gould   |  

Barbara Walters has been forced into a humbling apology after she tried to use her influence to get Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s former press aide a high-profile job in the United States.
 
Walters asked both Columbia University and CNN to help Sheherazad Jaafari, after the strongman — whose government has been involved in a brutal crackdown on protesters — granted the 82-year-old television legend an interview.
 
Britain’s Daily Telegraph, which obtained Walters’ emails through a Syrian opposition group, said Jaafari, 22, had helped Walters get the interview with al-Assad last December.
 
The interview made worldwide headlines as al-Assad denied responsibility for the violence that has engulfed his country.
 
However, according to the New York Post, al-Assad felt “humiliated” by Walters’ questions and fired Jaafari for suggesting the interview.
 
In emails to both the Ivy League university and the cable channel, Walters said Jaafari — the glamorous daughter of Syria’s ambassador to the United Nations — was “brilliant, beautiful, and speaks five languages,” adding, “Anything you can do to help?”
 
Walters, the founder of the TV show ”The View,” told Jaafari it would be wrong for her to offer her a job in return for the interview, but she agreed to reach out to others.
 
Now though, Walters has apologized. “In retrospect, I realize that this created a conflict and I regret that.”

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