In the months after her exclusive interview last year with President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, Barbara Walters tried to intercede to get a television position for a former aide of his, who Ms. Walters acknowledged helped arrange the interview.
Ms. Walters, the longtime ABC News correspondent, issued a statement Tuesday apologizing for reaching out to contacts to seek an internship with CNN and admission at Columbia University for Sheherazad Jaafari, who had been a media adviser for Mr. Assad. Ms. Jaafari, 22, is the daughter of the Syrian ambassador to the United Nations.
Ms. Walters turned down a request to intercede on behalf of Ms. Jaafari to secure a job at ABC News, saying that to do so would represent a conflict of interest. But Ms. Walters wrote in another e-mail that she had reached out to contacts at CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight” to have Ms. Jaafari hired as an intern, and to Richard Wald, a former ABC News colleague, to help her gain admission to Columbia. Mr. Wald, who is now a professor at the Columbia School of Journalism, had once been the second-ranked executive at ABC News.
The approach to the Piers Morgan show went both to Mr. Morgan and his producer, Jonathan Wald, who is Mr. Wald’s son.
The absence of action took place even though the e-mails, according to The Telegraph article, included encomiums from Ms. Walters about “how terrific” Ms. Jaafari was and that she was brilliant, beautiful and a speaker of five languages.
The background of the meeting with the Syrian president, which Ms. Walters referred to in her statement as “hard hitting,” was that she had chased an interview with Mr. Assad for some time and in the process cultivated a relationship with Ms. Jaafari’s father, Bashar Jaafari, who is the United Nations ambassador from Syria.
One longtime television news executive, who insisted on not being identified commenting on a rival news organization’s employee, said the circumstance was far from unusual in a business where favors are often requested on behalf of contacts.
“It’s a little ugly to see how the sausage is made to land these big interviews,” the executive said, adding that the favors appeared to be the result of an association established by the interview, not a quid pro quo for it.
FP: If you have not figured out yet the incestuous and utterly corrupt behavior of the Western elites: media, government, business.
This is from an Adam Kredo post-mortem on the Democratic Congressional primary in New Jersey's reconstituted 9th Congressional district.
Other activists said the race proves that mainstream, pro-Israel Democrats no longer have a firm place in the party.
“It means there’s no room for a Steve Rothman in the Democratic Party anymore,” said one pro-Israel activist who is closely following the race. “There’s no room for someone who stands up for Israel and who is willing to defend Israeli policies and actions.”
Rothman and Pascrell fought to outflank one another as the most progressive nominee—except when it came to the Jewish state.
An Arabic campaign poster supporting Pascrell that surfaced in the days before the election urged the “Arab diaspora community” to “elect the friend of the Arabs” and billed the race as “the most important election in the history of the [Arab] community,” according to a WFB translation of the sign.
Pascrell waged a charm offensive in the Arab community, campaigning alongside a Hamas sympathizer and others who have expressed hostility towards Israel.
He also held a high profile event at a local mosque where he was joined by Rep. Keith Ellison (D., Minn), a prominent ally of the fringe group J Street and the first Muslim member of Congress.
I've been arguing that pro-Israel Democrats no longer have a place in the party since Ned Lamont beat Joe Lieberman in the Connecticut US Senatorial primary six years ago. But now, with the help of far Left bloggers like Daily Kos and ThinkProgress, the Lamonts and Pascrells of the World have become the center of the Democratic party.
FP: If given the opportunity, The Arabs will slowly turn the US anti-Semitic just like they refreshed the dormant anti-Semitism in Europe.
Tomorrow, June 6, will be the 68th anniversary of the D-Day invasion at Normandy and Pastor John Hagee used his sermon this past Sunday to reflect upon the sacrifices made on this day ... and also to tell atheists to get out of America "if our belief in God offends you" because they are not wanted and won't be missed while also calling on Congress to "outlaw the practice of witchcraft and Satanism in the US military, lest we offend the God of Heaven":
FP: This is why I always thought that Israel should be very careful about evangelical support. When support of Jews by Christians gets very intense, I am wary.
Take Bob Smith, a student at a public university in the United States. This past semester, he spent just 25 to 30 minutes each week on an online science course, the time it took him to take the weekly test. He never read the online materials for the course and never cracked open a textbook. He learned almost nothing. He got an A.
His secret was to cheat, and he's proud of the method he came up with—though he asked that his real name and college not be used, because he doesn't want to get caught. It involved four friends and a shared Google Doc, an online word-processing file that all five of them could read and add to at the same time during the test.
Although the syllabus clearly forbids academic dishonesty, Mr. Smith argues that the university has put so little into the security of the course that it can't be very serious about whether the online students are learning anything. Hundreds of students took the course with him, and he never communicated with the professor directly. It all felt sterile, impersonal, he told me. "If they didn't think students would do this, then they didn't think it through."
A professor familiar with the course, who also asked not to be named, said that it is not unique in this regard, and that other students probably cheat in online introductory courses as well. To them, the courses are just hoops to jump through to get a credential, and the students are happy to pay the tuition, learn little, and add an A.
"This is the gamification of education, and students are winning," the professor told me.
FP: The minute online learning was introduced I knew this is exactly what was going to happen. It’s not enough that the regular education system has been going down the drain, the online version will practically kill it off. And not just because of cheating. It is not conducive to learning, particularly for today’s students, as the highlighted text indicates.
Michael Curtis: The Real Purpose of Boycotts
Melanie Phillips: A Jewish pathology
Megan McArdle: Considering Elizabeth Warren, the Scholar
Jonathan Schanzer: The Brothers Abbas