Ask Romney This: What Will You Do About the Middle East? (CJR.org)

(Oct. 10, 2012) Over the final month of the campaign, CJR will run a series of posts under the headline “Ask Obama This” and “Ask Romney This,” suggesting questions that reporters should pose to the presidential candidates. The first installment focused on President Obama and his jobs plan. This one on Mitt Romney and foreign […]

Indonesia can teach Egypt about post-revolution generals and politics (The Seattle Times)

JAKARTA (March 24, 2012) — “We warned them about trusting the military.” The topic of the conversation was Egypt, but the speaker was no anti-Supreme Council of the Armed Forces activist or Western human-rights worker. She was a top adviser to the vice president of Indonesia, a country that knows a thing or two about […]

Lawrence Pintak on the Arab Media Revolution: A CJR Podcast

“Autocratic Arab governments have long controlled news and information with an iron hand, writes Lawrence Pintak in the cover story of CJR’s May/June issue. “No more. They try to do so in 2011, but competing versions of reality seep in—and out—through every electronic pore.” In this podcast, Pintak expands on his cover story, “Breathing Room: […]

Tweets from the Revolution (Dateline: Overseas Press Club)

(June 2011) “I was attacked today when I tried to protect some foreigners.” The Facebook message arrived in my inbox early afternoon Pacific time. It was evening in Cairo on Feb. 4, the pivotal “Day of Anger” that would ultimately lead to the downfall of the regime. The young woman who sent the message was a […]

English Lesson: The Moment Has Arrived for Al Jazeera English, Except in the US

[This is a sidebar article to the May/June 2011 cover story, “Breathing Room: Toward a new Arab media,” which you can read here.] Back in November 2008, I skewered Al Jazeera English’s live coverage of election night in the US in an article for CJR.org. “It was a bit like watching a local college TV station try […]

Breathing Room: Toward a New Arab Media (Columbia Journalism Review Cover Story)

(May/June 2011) Before there was Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or even Al Jazeera, there was Hama, Syria. It was 1982 and an anti-government protest was put down with ferocious violence. The Syrian government simply destroyed whole sections of the city, leaving at least ten thousand people dead. But the slaughter went unreported in that closed society. […]

Egypt Through My Students’ Eyes (CJR.org)

(March 2, 2011) “I was attacked today when I tried to protect some foreigners.” The Facebook message arrived in my inbox early afternoon Pacific time. It was evening in Cairo on Feb. 4, the pivotal “Day of Anger” that would ultimately lead to the downfall of the regime. The young woman who sent the message […]

The Al Jazeera Revolution (ForeignPolicy.com)

 (Feb. 2, 2011) As darkness fell on Tahrir Square the night of Feb. 1, a giant makeshift TV screen broadcast Al Jazeera’s live coverage of the Egyptian uprising to the enthusiastic crowd. The channel would later transmit Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s speech, in which he announced that he would not stand for reelection but would […]

The Opportunity and Peril for the U.S. in Egypt’s Rebirth (The Seattle Times)

(Feb. 4, 2011) “The birth pangs of a new Middle East.” That was how then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice described Israeli bombing of Beirut during the 2006 war with the Shiite militia Hezbollah, which left more than 1,000 dead. Arab television juxtaposed that quote with a photo of a newborn baby, torn from its mother’s womb […]

Arab Media Revolution Spreading Change (CNN.com)

(Jan. 31,2011)  Egyptians have overcome their fear of the police state. It is a seminal moment in the history of the Arab world’s largest and most influential nation. The upheaval underscores a grim reality for authoritarian regimes the world over: The electronic dam has burst and with it, their ability to control the flow of […]