Subject: Notes on the interview
Date: 07/12/2011 09:01
It was a pleasure talking to you today and we have a lot of work to do,
I checked ABC News channel website to follow up their advertisement about the interview with Mr. President, and I noticed the following:
1- Barbara Walters interviewed George Stephanopoulos (former political advisor of President Clinton and political anchor on ABC News channel) who asked her to talk about her interview [with Assad] and she insisted that the president was in denial towards what is happening in Syria.
2- Walters said that the situation in Damascus seemed usual but stressed that it is not the case in most cities and villages.
3- She spoke a lot on the “dictator’s” expression.
4- The interview and the reports included photos that were far clearer than the photos used by al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya channels. Barbara Walters voiced over all demonstration photos, shooting sounds, including images of Hamza al-Khatib and Ali Farazat.
5- She described the late president Hafez al-Assad as the “father dictator” and Mr. President as a “dictator by accident”.
I think that the interview should be recorded as it will be broadcast on ABC channel, maybe from our diplomatic staff in Washington and then we should comment on the coverage and advertising techniques on a TV program or through a statement by a media representative. It should differ from what Jihad Makdessy said today; he did a great job but he is linked to being the official spokesman of Foreign Affairs ministry so he focused on what has been said by the U.S. state department. Furthermore I think that we should focus on the media too.
Perhaps you have heard today of the U.S. state department official commenting on the interview before its broadcast. Herein below is the exact text (I transcribed it from the video.)
The following is the question and answer in English from the ABC news website.
BW: Do you think that YOUR forces cracked down too hard?
President: They are not MY forces. They are military forces that belong to the government. I don’t own them, I’m president. I don’t own the country…
BW: [interrupting] But you have to give the orders
President: No, no, no…
BW: Not by your command?
President: No, no, no… No command… There was no command to kill or be brutal.
As I have previously mentioned, the interview is on the website for those who want to verify the recording, the voice and the accent.
- It was clear that Barbara Walters worked on provoking the President
- The viewer will notice that the focus is on the context of the dialogue. The channel has carefully chosen the background to suggest that Walters is in the right.
- The President answers calmly to her.
- She repeatedly interrupted the President while he was answering the questions.
- When she asked “Not by your command?” the manner in which she said this suggested that Syria is in chaos.
(Translated from Arabic by Sarah Sfeir)