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Posted by on Jan 26, 2009 in Media | 3 comments

Al-Arabiya TV Gets Obama’s First Formal Interview

You can just hear the outrage machines revving up to make a big issue out of this one — but it is in fact a good and symbolic gesture if Obama is trying to reach out to Muslim countries and parts of their populations that had written the U.S. off:

As special envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell heads off to the region to begin work on negotiating a cease fire between Israel and the Palestinians, President Obama has sat for his first formal TV interview with the Arabic cable TV network Al-Arabiya, ABC News has learned.

The interview was taped this evening and is set to air at 11 pm ET, as Mitchell is in the air and on his way to the region.

Based in Dubai, Al-Arabiya estimates that it has a potential audience exceeding 23 million in the Gulf region.

Reaching out means just that. If he in fact is trying to show that, as he said in his inaugural, he is open to talk to all sides, then it is a good move. The reason: by putting out an olive branch, Obama may be able to isolate more moderate forces in the Middle East and upset Al Qaeda even more than they are already by his election. Because he’s a new President with none of Bush’s hubris (in the eyes of many in the Middle East) he can talk directly to Al-Arabiya’s huge audience, which doesn’t have firm perceptions about him yet. On the other hand, Obama’s choice for his first formal interview could be viewed with distrust in Tel Aviv and among some in the U.S. Jewish community.

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  • Silhouette

    Well, plenty of jews (unknowingly) voted for Bush with his family money coming from aiding the Nazis in WWII via his granddaddy Prescott Bush. So they should be able to stomach Obama going around with an olive branch in the region in an open manner.

  • Warning from Robot B9: Barack Obama has chosen to give his first formal television interview, after becoming President of the United States, on Arab television. Warning! Warning! Danger! Will Robinson! Read it at,

  • valwayne

    Obama received 80% support from the gay community and almost his first act as President Elect was to invite a man to give the innvocation at his inauguration who thinks that gay civil rights are equivalent to incest and pedophilia! Obama received 80% or higher support from the Jewish community and his first interview as President is with a TV station that would like to see Israel destroyed and would have no problem with a 2nd holocaust. And I have no doubt that both communities are falling over themselves letting “The ONE” know how much these little acts of symbolism are fine with them. If George Bush had had 1/2 Obama’s political skills he would have left office with 70% approval ratings. Obama is really really good!!!

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