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[Editor’s note: To listen to Dr. Michael Widlanski on The Jamie Glazov Show, click here.]
Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Dr. Michael Widlanski, a specialist in Arab politics and communication whose doctorate dealt with the Palestinian broadcast media. He is a former reporter, correspondent, and editor, respectively, at The New York Times, The Cox Newspapers-Atlanta Constitution, and The Jerusalem Post. He has also served as a special advisor to Israeli delegations to peace talks in 1991-1992 and as Strategic Affairs Advisor to the Ministry of Public Security, editing secret PLO Archives captured in Jerusalem. He is the author of the new book, Battle for Our Minds: Western Elites and the Terror Threat.
FP: Dr. Michael Widlanski, welcome to Frontpage Interview. What inspired you to write this book?
Widlanski: Terror is the chosen weapon of war for the 21st century. And it is primarily a battle of the mind. Do the terrorists gain control of our head, or do we get into theirs?
The average citizen does not have the time to master Arabic, Farsi, or Islamic culture. The average Joe and Jane must rely on the gatekeepers of our minds—our media, our academia and our government-intelligence agencies. These public intellectuals should be our “best and our brightest,” but instead they became our worst and our dimmest. They sold us a politically correct and factually inaccurate ideology of idiocy, a doctrine of willful ignorance.
I have seen our supposedly best minds in academia, media and government “intel” actually aid terrorists by sins of omission and commission. And I felt it was time to call them out on it.
FP: What is the main argument of the book and who and what are its main targets?
Widlanski: The book talks about general performance, but it also gets “close and personal.” It examines the record of the leaders of our elites in media, academia and government—Columbia and Georgetown, The New York Times and CNN, the CIA, the FBI and the presidents. And also in other countries, too.
There are three elites that are responsible–the university community and its Middle East Studies programs that were hijacked by doctrines of political correctness and anti-American, anti-Western and anti-Israeli ideologies led by Edward Said, Noam Chomsky and John Esposito. These universities then produced generations of largely know-nothing media pundits and government intelligence officials who do not know the difference between Hamas and hummus.
We have to understand the methods and ideologies of the newest generations of terrorists, most of whom are Arab-Islamic terrorists. I have been an active student of the phenomenon inside several Arab countries and Israel as a reporter, soldier, Arab affairs expert, security official and now as a father of three soldiers.
FP: You say some pretty tough things about some important people and organizations. Please name them for our readers.
Widlanski: From Professor Edward Said of Columbia to John Esposito of Georgetown, from Eason Jordan, Christiane Amanpour, Robert Wiener and Peter Arnett of CNN to Arthur Sulzberger Jr., Tom Friedman and Maureen Dowd of the Times, and from George Tenet to Michael Scheuer at CIA. The list is of course much longer. Many of them have minimized, ignored and even concealed the problem, and occasionally fronted for terrorists. This is intolerable. My book names names, but it also offers policy solutions.
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