I’d rather not report on this story because I’m so in love with Barbara Walters, and anything that infringes on that love is heart-breaking. But since I’m a real “online journalist,” I will roll up my sleeves and do the dirty work. In short, Walters got herself in hot water for befriending the press aide of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, presumably to land an interview. Assad fired his aide shortly after the Walters interview, allegedly because he was unhappy with her hard-ball questions about his acts of violence. In a series of email exchanges that have now been exposed, Walters tried to land her a job at a news station and she also used her connections to pull some weight with the Columbia admissions board to ensure her entrance. Neither attempt worked, but it doesn’t look good for Walters, who has subsequently apologized for the “conflict of interest.” Unfortunately or fortunately in today’s world of journalism, you can’t cajole/bribe your way into an interview without getting caught. And that’s exactly what happened. Should I give her the benefit of the doubt and assume the aide was exceptionally qualified?