JOURNAMALISM  8:45 am June 6, 2012

We Need To Harsh on Barbara Walters For a Minute

by Kirsten Boyd Johnson

Here is a fun behind-the-scenes glimpse from the nauseating world of sycophantic television journalism*: leaked emails show that the normally-benign daytime tube fixture Barbara Walters tried to help a 22-year-old press aide to murder-hungry Syrian despot Bashar al-Assad obtain preferential treatment with the Columbia University Admissions Office shortly after Walters conducted her interview with Assad, which the aide helped to arrange. Conflict of interest much? Nah. This must be why Walters also offered to help the press aide, Sheherazad Jaafari, obtain a “journalism internship with Piers Morgan,” which then again sounds like such a transparently fake position that we might even hope Walters was trying to prank Jaafari.

*Journalism of any kind is not to be confused with “humor blogging,” a basic distinction that nonetheless eludes the crabby wingnuts who frequently write in to your Wonkette to notify us that our “reporting” is “biased.”

Nope, not a prank. Barbara Walters appears to have bonded quickly with the young upstart over… what, the common interest they share in speaking with bloodthirsty dictators for a living? Sure.

From the Telegraph:

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 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 résumé.” 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, [and] speaks five languages” and asked whether there was “anything you can do to help?” Prof Wald replied that he would get the admissions office to “give her special attention”.

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.

So let’s just say it sounds more like Barbara Walters was the one who got pranked here.

And yes, we know all of you are going “yeah, yeah get back to me when you’ve got basement party pictures of White House communications staff lined up to give spanks to a naked Jake Tapper and even then we decline to be scandalized,” but what is it, your birthday? [Telegraph]

 

Hola wonkerados.

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{ 86 comments }

memzilla June 6, 2012 at 8:49 am

Reading this, I haz Assad.

Infrogmation June 6, 2012 at 10:04 am

Yeah, but poor Syria *really* totes haz Assad.

Barb June 6, 2012 at 8:49 am

Barbara hasn't quite been the same since giving live reports from the Crimean War.

starfanglednut June 6, 2012 at 8:54 am

Crimean river.

Barb June 6, 2012 at 9:03 am

Goon one! : )

actor212 June 6, 2012 at 9:08 am

She did stellar work when David knocked Goliath out.

BaldarTFlagass June 6, 2012 at 8:51 am

Didn't know old Babs played for the other team. Likes that Arab poon, huh? Well, as they say, "the darker the berry, the sweeter the juice."

BaldarTFlagass June 6, 2012 at 8:53 am

"Miss Jaafari wrote a list of talking points advising that the “American psyche can be easily manipulated”

She got that right.

actor212 June 6, 2012 at 9:11 am

And wrong, since al-Assad failed to do that

Guppy June 6, 2012 at 9:17 am

I hear it played better in the original Russian.

Guppy June 6, 2012 at 9:13 am

Particularly the psyche of Barbara Walters, apparently.

actor212 June 6, 2012 at 9:16 am

I think in this case, it's pronounced "SYKE!"

chascates June 6, 2012 at 8:54 am

And good friend of Roy Cohn.

James Michael Curley June 6, 2012 at 9:37 am

'A friend of the devil is a friend of mine … '

EatsBabyDingos June 6, 2012 at 8:54 am

What kind of twee is Ms Jaafawi?

actor212 June 6, 2012 at 9:12 am

A wawch? A mapuh? A sycamowe?

Schmannnity June 6, 2012 at 9:27 am

Cypwuss?

anniegetyerfun June 6, 2012 at 9:27 am

HA! I had forgotten about that.

Mumbletypeg June 6, 2012 at 8:55 am

Congrats to Miss Jafaari — (for whom being "brilliant, beautiful, [and] speak[ing] five languages" wasn't enough) — for finally nailing down that surrogate-mother tongue.

JustPixelz June 6, 2012 at 9:54 am

"…brilliant, beautiful, [and] speak[ing] five languages…"

That partially describes me. I speak English.

starfanglednut June 6, 2012 at 8:56 am

crabby wingnuts who frequently write in to your Wonkette to notify us that our “reporting” is “biased.”

Congratulations, Editrix. You have risen to the level of Jon Stewart.

Pragmatist2 June 6, 2012 at 8:57 am

What has this got to do with Scott Walker?

Guppy June 6, 2012 at 9:14 am

Did you miss the "bloodthirsty tyrant" part?

deanbooth June 6, 2012 at 9:20 am

Don't talk about Scott Walker, Martha!

weejee June 6, 2012 at 10:20 am

/ reaches for the Walker Scotch for a mourning after salute.

ChernobylSoup June 6, 2012 at 8:58 am

I'm just impressed she listed "brilliant" before "beautiful."

ChernobylSoup June 6, 2012 at 9:02 am

I don't even want to know what Walters did to land that Pope JPII interview back in the day.

actor212 June 6, 2012 at 9:16 am

She dwessed wike an altaw boy to confuse the Pope

Estproph June 6, 2012 at 9:06 am

Baba Wawa got pwanked?!

BaldarTFlagass June 6, 2012 at 9:06 am

Tell you what, if I had as recessive a chin as Bassar al-Assad, I'd just grow a beard, rather than kill all my countrymen.

actor212 June 6, 2012 at 9:13 am

I thought that's what Jaafari was?

Guppy June 6, 2012 at 9:15 am

Nah, being clean-shaven is part of the standard uniform of Arab despots. It's their unspoken way of saying "At least I'm not Islamist!"

anniegetyerfun June 6, 2012 at 9:28 am

Recessive chins freak me out. Especially on incredibly rich people, who can afford to have new ones built as often as they get car elevators installed.

It just occurred to me that he has a chin; it's his jaw that is receding.

BaldarTFlagass June 6, 2012 at 9:41 am

Hell, even hillbillies from Alaska can afford new chins.

actor212 June 6, 2012 at 9:07 am

In fairness to the wingnuts, they don't really get humour.

StarsUponThars June 6, 2012 at 9:14 am

Or irony. Or compassion. Or laid.

Joey_Blau June 6, 2012 at 9:49 am

only hummers

Goonemeritus June 6, 2012 at 9:11 am

“Wonkette is biased”—-Crap I have been using it as my only source of news.

Dr_Zoidberg June 6, 2012 at 9:12 am

Still better than Faux News.

Guppy June 6, 2012 at 9:16 am

Ditto, but mostly because the "news" is too depressing otherwise.

Joey_Blau June 6, 2012 at 9:49 am

I have been using it as a study aid in my math class

Dr_Zoidberg June 6, 2012 at 9:13 am

'Journalmalism'.

Terry June 6, 2012 at 9:16 am

“journalism internship with Piers Morgan,”

Will Piers teach him how to hire guys to break into voice mail accounts?

Schmannnity June 6, 2012 at 9:19 am

Maybe she could spin off a Syrian-themed show from The View–A View To A Kill.

BigSkullF*ckingDog June 6, 2012 at 9:20 am

Guys do this kind of shit 20 times a day for young hot chicks. All this story does is confirm that Barbara Walters has a dick.

BaldarTFlagass June 6, 2012 at 9:20 am

I don't understand why anyone on the right would visit this site. I never visit rightwing sites, and wouldn't even if they had a funny one. Which they never will, because they are missing the "funny" chromosome. Which probably explains a lot.

actor212 June 6, 2012 at 9:22 am

Because they're paranoid bullies. They worry mightily that someone's talking about them, even more mightily that NO ONE talks about them

Terry June 6, 2012 at 9:28 am

Because some of the right wing sites give them cut-n-paste text to use to supposed counter any liberal, progressive, moderate, rational line of thought. They have to try to use them, I guess.

anniegetyerfun June 6, 2012 at 9:30 am

It has to be accidental.

PubOption June 6, 2012 at 11:09 am

Free Republic can be unintentionally funny.

LetUsBray June 6, 2012 at 9:49 am

Definitely missing some chromosome or other, in any case.

FlownOver June 6, 2012 at 9:51 am

Implied Palin Libel!

James Michael Curley June 6, 2012 at 9:25 am

Several years before the beginning of time (Internet Time) I moderated a forum on CIS and interviewed Ms Walters after she appeared at a foreign affairs seminar at my school. Speaking to her is like encountering a new English dialect for the first time – you have to listen in confusion for a few minutes before you start to understand that the language is English.

anniegetyerfun June 6, 2012 at 9:44 am

I've always been confused about her speaking. I have been told that the way she speaks is supposedly old-school Northeastern dialect from the early days of TV, but I saw her in a gasoline commercial from the 1950s, and she didn't sound like that at all (also, no one else EVER talked like she does, so it's not a dialect). It's like some late-onset speech impediment, and it grates my nerves.

Then again, so does Barney Frank. I love the guy, but can't listen to him talk.

BigSkullF*ckingDog June 6, 2012 at 9:50 am

she had a stroke but kept it secret, allegedly*

allegedly=I just made this up

BaldarTFlagass June 6, 2012 at 9:55 am

I think Prozac can cause the lisp.

James Michael Curley June 6, 2012 at 10:19 am

I remember that there was a so-called TV dialect but don’t remember much about it. Huntley and Brinkley were considered to be the prime examples and Walters started off there if I remember correctly.

prommie June 6, 2012 at 9:49 am

Its reverse Dutch, then?

James Michael Curley June 6, 2012 at 10:15 am

No she just sat there and avoided looking at the bill when it came.

Chichikovovich June 6, 2012 at 9:26 am

I have a hunch Sheherazad will be a success in American journalism, since it rewards the ability to spin out fantasy stories.

Guppy June 6, 2012 at 10:28 am

I'm not sure that only one a night is a sufficient rate, though.

Diabeetis June 6, 2012 at 9:28 am

Pity she couldn't get him to cry.

James Michael Curley June 6, 2012 at 9:28 am

Happy IPv6 Day! Your browser is doomed.

Guppy June 6, 2012 at 10:32 am

I've got IPv6 all the way up to my cable modem!

James Michael Curley June 6, 2012 at 12:12 pm

A couple doses of Kayopectate should help.

Doktor StrangeZoom June 6, 2012 at 9:29 am

Assad's national media is adept at shaping a single message sent down from its bosses, no matter how bogus or contradictory the claims. Ms Jafari clearly should have been trying for an internship with Fox.

anniegetyerfun June 6, 2012 at 9:29 am

I am going to start writing anonymous letters to Wonkette now saying that I don't believe that Jim has America's best interests at heart. Also freedom troops.

SorosBot June 6, 2012 at 9:29 am

But in the interview, was Walters able to make Assad cry?

Steverino247 June 6, 2012 at 9:34 am

"Mr. Assad, if you were a tree upon whom would you fall and crush?"

OneYieldRegular June 6, 2012 at 9:34 am

It's unfortunate that this came to light. I mean, she seemed like the perfect dormitory roommate for Gulmara Karimova.

MosesInvests June 6, 2012 at 11:14 am

Only if there's a webcam in there.

Beowoof June 6, 2012 at 9:48 am

Baba Wawa is a hard hitting jouwnalist. Her interwiews suck more than Piers Morgan. I never thought I would miss Warry King.

prommie June 6, 2012 at 9:48 am

Ah fuck it all, nothing now can ever gang to no guid.

Biff June 6, 2012 at 9:55 am

Anyone else think Assad looks like Walker?

JustPixelz June 6, 2012 at 9:56 am

"…crabby wingnuts who frequently write in to your Wonkette to notify us that our “reporting” is “biased.”

Maybe we just don't get the joke Fox is telling.

Job creators need tax cuts. HA HA HA.
Obama is a socialist. HEE HEE HEE
Sarah Palin is smart. HO HO HO.

mavenmaven June 6, 2012 at 9:59 am

"American psyche can be easily manipulated"
That's what Scott Walker's rich masters said when high-fiving each other over champagne this morning.

Estproph June 6, 2012 at 10:09 am

If only Gilda Radner were still around…

actor212 June 6, 2012 at 10:14 am

Rachel Dratch does a very good imitation of Radner doing Walters.

Wait….that didn't come out quite right

Estproph June 6, 2012 at 10:14 am

Or the entire media, for that matter…

Barbara Walters is a journalist HAHAHAHAHAHA!

Billmatic June 6, 2012 at 10:37 am

"'American psyche can be easily manipulated' if he were to make a limited expression of regret. "

Wow! Babs is right! This woman is a sharp!

MosesInvests June 6, 2012 at 11:18 am

OT-A salute to the brave men who went ashore in Normandy on this date in 1944, who by the way included James (Scotty) Doohan, of the Royal Canadian Army, and David Niven, Royal Army. True story-when Niven was talking to his troops on the ship the night before D-Day, he told them "It's all right for you chaps-you only have to land once. I shall have to do it again with Errol Flynn."

Ryy June 6, 2012 at 11:36 am

Walters described Miss Jaafari as “brilliant, beautiful, [and] speaks five languages”

So according to Barb 1/3 of the reason she's qualified is that she's hot? Does she give good hand jobs too Barb? Or….. Wait…… Are she and Barb thespians?

Chick-Fil-Atheist™ June 6, 2012 at 11:44 am

Man, I'm spankin' it thanks to that Jake Tapper visual.

owhatever June 6, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Wingnut note to Babwa…it's called a bribe.

Wile E. Quixote June 6, 2012 at 2:02 pm

“journalism internship with Piers Morgan,”

Isn't that kind of like claiming that working the counter at McDonalds is a "management track position"? Or is it more like claiming that being a half-term governor of Alaska and John McCain's VP choice qualifies you for the presidency?

ttommyunger June 6, 2012 at 11:00 pm

I wonder if Bab's breath still reeks of Kissinger's Scrot?

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