Obama’s speech: Who asked questions, who listened


I noted in a blog post on Friday that one refreshing Obama administration change from Bush administration policy was not to segregate Israeli from Arab journalists — Obama included the legendary Nahum Barnea among the six "regional" journalists he met with in Cairo after his speech.

Now we hear, via Ben Smith at Politico, that it was supposed to be eight — but Lebanese and Syrian journalists fled upon hearing Barnea was included.

Haram. Cowards. No other word for it.

There’s also a fascinating account from the White House of who was listening to the president’s appeal for closer U.S.-Muslim ties — and who was not. Here’s an excerpt:

The speech dominated the mass media of the Middle East in a truly unprecedented manner. It was carried live by all major 24 hour Pan-Arab news networks, Israeli networks, Western-operated Persian networks, and even the Iranian-operated 24 hour Arab news network Al-Alam. Not surprisingly, Hizballah-operated Al-Manar TV, HAMAS-operated Al-Aqsa TV, Iranian national television, and Syrian national television failed to carry the speech live. However, Pro-HAMAS Al-Quds TV carried the speech live and translated in full. The full transcript of the speech was printed in dozens of newspapers throughout the region including the top two Pan-Arab newspapers out of London, Al-Hayat and Al-Sharq Al-Awsat.

Recommended from JTA