In This Review

Reflections in a Bloodshot Lens: America, Islam, and the War of Ideas
Reflections in a Bloodshot Lens: America, Islam, and the War of Ideas
By Lawrence Pintak
University of Michigan Press, 2006, 192 pp
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"What should the public be told in wartime?" U.S. Admiral Ernest King was reportedly asked during World War II. "Tell them nothing," he replied. "When it's over, tell them who won." That option, tempting for any beleaguered bureaucrat, was not feasible then, and it is even less so in today's world, characterized as it is by instant communications controlled by no single power. But that does not mean that governments will not resort to some combination of co-opting the media when possible while discrediting them when not. Today, Pintak argues persuasively, that effort has succeeded rather too well with the U.S. media, who have often let themselves become "patriot journalists." Meanwhile, the U.S. government has failed miserably with such ham-fisted efforts as trying to rein in the Arabic television network al Jazeera. Pintak, while quick to note that the basic problem is with U.S. policies, not perceptions, points out the many ways in which U.S. statements and explanations of actions exacerbate the situation.