Barbara Walters Apologizes for Trying to Help Syrian Dictator's Aide In America
ABC’s Barbara Walters will do most anything to score a big interview. Now, she’s been forced to apologize for trying to help a former aide to Syrian President Bashar Assad land a job or get into college in America in exchange for her Assad interview last December. Sheherazad Jaafari was a press aide to Assad and daughter of Bashar Jafaari, the Syrian ambassador to the United Nations. Last October, UN Ambassdador Susan Rice and the U.S. delegation to the UN walked out on a Jafaari speech.
Walters said in a statement issued Tuesday she rejected Jaafari's later request for a job at ABC News, saying it was a conflict of interest. But she said she contacted people on Jaafari's behalf and "I regret that." London’s Daily Telegraph acquired some of the friendly e-mails of Walters, like this one to Jafaari:
Dear Sherry: I wrote to Piers Morgan and his producer to say how terrific you are and attached your resume. I am not sure if they have an opening. Are you still planning to apply to Columbia School of Journalism? Do you want me to do anything on that? Do let me know your plans when you return from Syria. Be safe. Hugs.
Walters had written to Richard Wald (a former ABC News executive) at Columbia:
Hi there. This young woman, whose resume is attached, is the dtr of the Syrian Ambassador to the U.N. She helped arrange my interview with Assad. She is only 21 but had his ear and his confidence. I have recommended her as an intern to your son [Jonathan Wald] for Piers Morgan. She is applying to Columbia School of Journalism. She is brilliant, beautiful, speaks five languages. Anything you can do to help? And how are you anyway?
The Telegraph also quips that Jafaari was "Syria's Kim Kardashian."