The world is in a kind of intellectual death spiral. When the flow of most-of-the-world’s information moved from print to television to the internet, it speeded up and trimmed down the information into ever-smaller, ever-simpler bits.
Those bits of real information were so refined that further refining them into bogus disinformation bits was easy. As easy as firing these bullet-points directly into psycho-graphically selected brains and watching simple false ideas go viral.
Here’s one: “Islam hates us!”
It is a most bitter irony that Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign smear is less false today, just 3 years later. Of course, that is because of the many hateful things President Trump has done to or said about Muslims and Islam itself from his ban on Muslim immigrants and refusal of responsibility to help refugees from the war in Syria, to his destruction of the cities of Mosul, Ramadi and Raqqa and his refusal of responsibility to help restore them, to his enabling the horrific Saudi war in Yemen and covering for the Saudi Prince who ordered the savage murder of one of the Islamic world’s best-known and most-respected journalists. I mean, you don’t have to be Muslim to hate that. But every poll says, respect and affection for the United States are dropping sharply in the Islamic world.
Lawrence Pintak is an award-winning journalist and scholar who has written about America’s complex relationship with Islam since 1980. He was the founding dean of The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University (2009-2016), was named a Fellow of the Society of Professional Journalists in 2017 for “outstanding service to the profession of journalism” around the world, and received the AEJMC Senior Scholar award in 2019. His latest book is America & Islam: Soundbites, Suicide Bombs and the Road to Donald Trump.
A former CBS News Middle East correspondent with a PhD in Islamic Studies, Pintak been called the foremost chronicler of the interaction between Arab and Western media. His books and articles focus on America’s relationship with the Muslim world, the role of the media in shaping global perceptions and government policy, and the future of journalism in a digital/globalized world.
He has won two Overseas Press Club awards and was twice nominated for international Emmys. Prior to WSU, Pintak served as director of the Kamal Adham Center for Journalism Training and Research at The American University in Cairo.