(Vol. 13 No. 3 July 2008) In the years after 9/11, the Bush administration repeatedly charged that the Arab media are biased against the United States. A cross-border survey of 601 Arab journalists found that much of the conventional wisdom that has shaped U.S. public diplomacy  policy toward the region lacks substance.Arab journalists see their mission as that of driving political and social reform  in the Middle East and North Africa. Iraq and Palestine fall well below such internal Arab issues as political reform, human rights, poverty, and education as priority concerns. They draw a clear distinction between U.S. policy and the American people; criticize the U.S. for failing to live up to its ideals, which they largely share; and exhibit skepticism about the role of  the clergy. Politically, half call themselves “democrats,” and they most closely identify with the pan-Arab region and the  broader Muslim world, not with an individual nation-state.

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By Lawrence Pintak

Lawrence Pintak is an award-winning journalist and scholar. He is a former CBS News Middle East correspondent and was founding dean of the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University (2009-2016). He was named a Fellow of the Society by the Society of Professional Journalists in 2017 for "outstanding service to the profession of journalism" around the world. Pintak is a contributor to ForeignPolicy.com, The Daily Beast, and other outlets. Read his articles at pintak.com. His books include Reflections in a Bloodshot Lens: America, Islam & The War of Ideas; Islam for Journalists (co-editor); The New Arab Journalist; and Seeds of Hate: How America’s Flawed Middle East Policy Ignited the Jihad. He holds a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Wales, Trinity St. David. Follow him on Twitter @LPintak.

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