Who Knew?

How Al Arabiya Landed Obama

Surprised that Obama gave his first presidential interview to Arabic news network al Arabiya? You’re not alone: Al Arabiya was surprised, too. Time reports that Hisham Melhem, the journalist who interviewed Obama, first heard from the White House on Sunday regarding an undisclosed “major interview.” Assuming he’d be meeting newly appointed Middle East envoy George Mitchell, Melhem was pleasantly surprised at 9 a.m. on the day of the interview when WH officials called to offer the president’s first post-inauguration interview. The interview was a ratings boon to the Saudi-financed network, which, during the recent Israel-Palestine conflict, has lagged behind its more radical competitor, al Jazeera.