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Reflections in a Bloodshot Lens: America, Islam and the War of Ideas

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ISBN-13: 978-0745324197
ISBN-10: 0745324193
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Editorial Reviews


Pintak provides a provocative and sophisticated appraisal of the flawed lenses through which Americans view the Muslim world. He cuts through the naivete that infects the conventional wisdom about the relationship between the West and Islam. This fine book should stimulate some much-needed thinking about the dangers the U.S. public and policy makers face because of their simplistic world view. -- Philip Seib, Lucius W. Nieman Professor of Journalism, Marquette University; author of Beyond the Front Lines: How the News Media Cover a World Shaped by War. A compelling and long-needed work. Pintak shows that ideas are weapons too, jump-starting the reader with a jolt of reality needed to understand the Arab and Muslim worlds from their perspective. Had this book been available and studied before our invasion of Iraq, perhaps no one in or out of the Administration would have believed it would be a short exercise. -- Charles A. Krohn, Former Deputy Chief of Public Affairs, U.S. Army Pintak combines the keen eye of an experienced journalist with [a] sharp intellect. [He] is not afraid to demolish entrenched mythologies. -- Hisham Melhem, Washington correspondent, an-Nahar newspaper (Lebanon) and host, Al-Arabiya TV's Across the Ocean An acute, informed and timely insight into colliding worlds of perception which dominate the global agenda. -- Jim Muir, Middle East correspondent for the BBC and others

About the Author

Lawrence Pintak is a veteran foreign correspondent who has reported from more than 40 countries. As CBS News Middle East correspondent in the 1980s, he covered the birth of modern Islamic terrorism in Beirut. He writes frequently on terrorism, the Middle East and Southeast Asia for a variety of publications.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Pluto Press (March 20, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0745324193
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745324197
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,992,006 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lawrence Pintak is founding dean of The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University. A former CBS News Middle East correspondent, Pintak has reported for many of the world's leading news organization from more than 60 countries.

Pintak has been called "the foremost chronicler of the interaction between the Arab and Western media worlds." He has been much in demand by news organizations around the world for commentary on the role of media in the Egypt revolution (see blog for links). He recently created "Covering Islam in America," a free, online course (

A veteran of more than 30 years in journalism, Dr. Pintak specializes in the role of media in shaping policy and the perceptions of policy; the intersection of media, religion and conflict; and the impact of technology, culture and globalization on journalism.

Middle East Journal described his 2006 book, Reflections in a Bloodshot Lens: America, Islam & the War of Ideas (2006), as "an example of the best of contemporary journalism" and Amb. William Rugh, author of Arab Mass Media, said Pintak's latest book, The New Arab Journalist: Mission and Identity in a Time of Turmoil, is "a must read for anyone interested in media and in Arab politics.

Prior to his current post, Pintak spent four years as director of the Kamal Adham Center for Journalism Training and Research at The American University in Cairo, where he ran the only graduate journalism degree in the Arab world and a variety of training programs for professional journalists. He also created the online publication Arab Media & Society(, several internet resource sites for Arab civil society and media and the first "virtual newsroom" in Second Life.

As CBS News Middle East correspondent in the 1980s, he covered the Iran-Iraq War, the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, the rise of Hezbollah and the birth of modern suicide bombing - including the 1983 destruction of the Beirut U.S. Marine barracks. In the 1990s, he reported on the overthrow of Indonesian President Suharto for The San Francisco Chronicle and ABC News. He has received two Overseas Press Club awards and two Emmy nominations.

His columns and op-eds appear in The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Daily Star Beirut, The Daily News Cairo, Arab News, Gulf News, Tempo (Indonesia), The Jakarta Post, Al-Shurooq Egypt, the Turkish Daily News and other newspapers in the Middle East and Muslim world, along with Columbia Journalism Review online, Newsweek.,, and a variety of U.S. and European outlets. His articles are at

Pintak has served as editor of an alternative weekly newspaper, editorial director of a major internet news site, and strategic communications consultant to a variety of governments, NGOs, industry groups and news organizations around the world. Previous books include Seeds of Hate: How America's flawed Middle East policy ignited the jihad (2003) and Beirut Outtakes: A TV Correspondent's Portrait of America's Encounter with Terror (1988).

Personal website:
Twitter: @lpintak

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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Metallian on April 20, 2008
Format: Paperback
As far as I'm concerned there are far too many biased books on this important subject of US foreign policy and the impact that the mass media corportation have on public and especially US opinion. The author shows with concise logical arguments and insightful examples how "news reporting" is done in the USA, especially with regard to anything that's considered Arabic or Islamic. Its interesting to find out for example that ever since the clash of the US government with the Barbari pirates back in the 1820s that the images constructed of that region and its people were extremely biased. Later when the US became a world and Superpower after the 2nd World War, the mass media outlets virtually began a tacit conspiracy to construct a image of Arabs and Moslems as weired, backward and irrational people, that blindly followed their "aggressive, and expansionist" religion: Islam. The cultural biased disposition can be seen anywhere in the US or for that matter in the West, whether on TV, in newspapers or on the radio. Only the Internet provided a somewhat more balanced account, due to its decentralized natured.
Pintak does an excellent job (especially as an American) who tells us vividly that the atmosphere and response to 9.11. was preprogrammed, since the US public has been conditioned, ever since the end of the Cold War to see everything islamic as alien, dangerous and subversive, if not downright terror bound. He calls this propensity and almost habitualized way of acting by Americans as referring to the Others. It was also thus, no coincidence that after the sudden demise of the Soviet Union, many government officials and especially the military industrial complex in the US was desperately looking for a new enemy to replace asap the former well serving enemy image of the S.U. and communism.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Avidreader on April 9, 2014
Format: Paperback
The ignorance, the psychopathology, the monumental hubris of Lawrence Pintak...where to begin? Well, to try keep it short, I'll address just a couple of major points to give you an idea of the standard of this work. Pintak claims that the US "created" an opponent in Islam after the Cold War, just to have an enemy which would help give the US an identity it would otherwise lack (!). So, courtesy of Pintak, meet the new verb "to Other" - "This Othering is the basis of the order for us to be Us, we need to create Them."

Now, in an internet age, one would think that someone with pretensions of being a public educator (journalist) might have done a little research about Islamic ideology and Islamic practice in a book devoted to discussing Islam and the US. But either Pintak is a liar, or incredibly lazy (journalists pre-internet could rarely be challenged on their fabrications and are renowned for laziness), as he seems to know nothing of significance.

Here are some important facts Pintak neglects. Islam - meaning "submission" - was invented by Muhammad (who incidentally Pintak hails as the "Prophet") as an *explicit* declaration of war on humanity.

See Bukhari 2, 25: Allah's Apostle said: "I have been ordered (by Allah) to FIGHT AGAINST the PEOPLE until they testify..that MUHAMMAD is ALLAH'S APOSTLE

2, 26 Allah's Apostle was asked, "What is the best deed?" He replied, "To believe in Allah and His Apostle (Muhammad). The questioner then asked, "What is the next (in goodness)? He replied "To participate in JIHAD (religious fighting) in Allah's Cause"

Yeah, like all cult-founders, a humble guy. Peace-loving too. Next, Muhammad as quoted in his Koran:

9.29 FIGHT THOSE who believe not in Allah...
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Format: Paperback
The actions and reactions of the U.S. before and after 9/11 has done little to improve its standing in the world, especially in Muslim-populated nations around the world, and Reflections In A Bloodshot Lens: America, Islam And The War Of Ideas probes the basic differences between perceptions of Americans and Muslims around the world. It comes from a veteran CBS news correspondent with strong connections to these world communities, reflects his journalistic experience, and proves a strong survey of not only American and Islam ideas, but how misreporting has emphasized differences.
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