Walters Sorry for Trying to Score Job for Assad Aide
She tried to help Syrian leader's media adviser find job, university place
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 7, 2012 12:02 AM CDT
Walters has apologized for her efforts on behalf of an Assad aide who helped arrange an interview with the Syrian leader.   (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)

(Newser) – Barbara Walters has apologized for trying to find a job and a spot at an Ivy League university for one of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's aides. Emails obtained by the Telegraph reveal that the veteran ABC journalist struck up an ill-advised friendship with Assad media adviser Sheherazed Jaafari as she arranged her interview with Assad in December. Walters told Jaafari, the 22-year-old daughter of Syria's UN ambassador, that she couldn't get her a job at ABC, but offered to help her in other ways.

"I wrote to Piers Morgan and his producer to say how terrific you are and attached your résumé," Walters told Jaafari. Her email to CNN described the Syrian as a "sensational young woman." Walters also wrote to a former ABC exec, now a professor at the Columbia University School of Journalism, seeking to help Jaafari gain admission. Walters says she now realizes her efforts created a conflict and she regrets it, although she notes that her efforts did not result in a job or university place for Jaafari. Jaafari, the Telegraph notes, advised Assad with talking points for the interview, writing that the "American psyche can be easily manipulated" with a limited expression of regret.