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Barbara Walters: Assad interview

Barbara Walters attends the 2011 Queen Sofia Spanish

Barbara Walters attends the 2011 Queen Sofia Spanish Institute Gold Medal Gala at the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute in Manhattan. (Nov. 29, 2011) Photo Credit: Getty Images

Now this: Barbara Walters has an interview with Bashar Assad that'll air throughout the day tomorrow on various ABC programs, with the major outtakes on "Nightline." It's quite the coup although I guess we can all imagine how Assad will answer questions about the massacres he's inflicted upon his own people,  ABC describes the interview this way: 

Walters questioned the controversial Syrian leader about the Nov. 25 UN report, which recorded the human rights violations including the detention and torture of children in his country, and recommended for Syria to be referred to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. Walters also pressed President Al-Assad on his government’s violent crackdown on protesters, the impact of economic and travel sanctions against his country, calls for the president to step down, and whether he will allow Arab League monitors and foreign press free and unrestricted access to Syria.

All this certainly invokes a bit of TV history; Barbara's Mideast interviews of the '70s were effectively broadcast diplomacy as she and Walter Cronkite jostled for the big ones, and she -- as much as Walter -- secured them. This may be why Assad -- whose father, I image, was well acquainted with Walters -- chose her to do this instead of  Diane Sawyer. Here's a clip of Barbara, by the way, discussing the old days.

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