The Shmooze

Barbara Walters Tried To Get Assad Aide a Job

By Renee Ghert-Zand

  • Print
  • Share Share
Joella Marano via Wiki Commons

As if Barbara Walters’s exclusive soft-ball interview with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad last December wasn’t bad enough, now there is word that the 82-year-old host of “The View” has inappropriately used her influence to further the career of one of the brutal dictator’s closest aides.

The Telegraph reports that Walters tried to help Sheherazad Jaafari, the daughter of Syria’s UN ambassador, get a spot at the Columbia School of Journalism and an internship with CNN’s Piers Morgan show. When Syrian opposition activists got a hold of email exchanges between Walters and Jaafari, 22, they confronted Walters with them, and she admitted that she had been acting with a conflict of interest and apologized.

The young Jaafari apparently advises Assad on Western media issues, and she met Walters when the ABC journalist began lobbying for an interview with the Syrian president. It was Jaafari who had written, “[The] American psyche can be easily manipulated” in talking points for her boss prior to the interview with Walters. Jaafari’s father, Bashar Jaafari, had been acquainted with Walters for seven years prior to the two women’s establishing contact with one another.

By all accounts, Walters seems to have taken a shine to the young and attractive Jaafari following the Assad interview and stayed in touch with her, even calling her “dear girl,” and signing her messages with “Hugs, Barbara.” The young woman referred to the veteran American journalist as her “adopted mother.”

Walters did make some calls to people in power, but in the end Jaafari neither enrolled in Columbia nor took any job with CNN. In apology for her actions, Walters explained: “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 realize that this created a conflict and I regret that.”


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Sheherazad Jafari, Barbara Walters, Bashar al-Assad

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.