“America at a Crossroads” Program Series
Washington, DC | April 18, 2007 | www.adc.org | Premiering this week on the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) is a series of programs entitled “America at a Crossroads.” According to PBS, the series of programs “explores the challenges confronting the world post 9-11.”
The series began to air April 15 and will run until April 20. The programs, each about an hour in length, discuss topics ranging from the roots of Al Qaeda, the experiences of American soldiers stationed in Iraq, America’s Muslim community, Islam in Indonesia, to the history and current state of the Muslim Brotherhood. Eleven programs are in the first series and the rest of the series, 20 total programs, will be released later in the year, as some of those programs are still in production and post production.
In early January 2006, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) announced that 20 films were selected to receive production funding through the “America at a Crossroads” initiative. The films were selected from about 440 proposals submitted to CPB by producers from around the world in June 2004. According to a CPB press release, “the proposals underwent a rigorous review and selection process that drew heavily on the expertise and advice of an array of foreign, security, and civil liberties specialists, including expert readers and a distinguished advisory board whose members include senior policy makers from the past four Administrations.” It should be noted that CPB is a private, non profit corporation created by Congress in 1967 and is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. PBS, headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, is a non profit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation’s 354 public television stations.
Upon review of the program topics and discussion with some of the producers in the series, ADC offers the following comments. ADC Communications Director Laila Al-Qatami said, “ADC has worked with a few of the producers and is encouraged and welcomes their programs. However, we see cause for concern with regard to other programs in the series.” Al-Qatami continued, “Several, although not all, of the programs in the Crossroads series do not offer proper historical context and lack an in-depth analysis into Arab or Muslim perspectives. Unfortunately, we continue to see that US programs about Arabs and Islam fail to present a sustained, multi-perspective inquiry into how US foreign policy in the region impacts these communities, in addition to an examination of how Americans view these policies.”
ADC encourages its membership to contact PBS to voice their opinions, positive or negative, on any or all programs in the series. To send
comments to PBS regarding the program, click here: http://www.pbs.org/weta/crossroads/contact/index.html
The interactive website, which also includes a study/discussion guide for the series can be found here: www.pbs.org/crossroads
Check your local listings for exact times for the following programs, some have already aired.
Jihad: The Men and Ideas Behind Al Qaeda
Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience
Gangs of Iraq
The Case for War: In Defense of Freedom
Faith Without Fear
Struggle for the Soul of Islam: Inside Indonesia
Security Versus Liberty: The Other War