Fox News Doubles Down On Crusade Against Reza Aslan
As most of the internet has heard by now, Fox News Channel religion correspondent Lauren Green's interview with academic Reza Aslan, in which she repeatedly asserted that his status as a Muslim rendered his account of Jesus' life biased, went viral. In addition to bias, Green also accused him of disingenuously omitting the fact that he is a Muslim in his book Zealot, even though the author points out that he, unnecessarily, mentioned it within the first few pages.
Despite this embarrassing excuse for journalism, Fox News is defending itself from media criticism, labeling the ridicule directed towards Lauren Green's unprofessionalism as a smear campaign from the left.
On air, the America Live substitute host, Shannon Bream, welcomed conservative media critic Brent Bozell to defend the interview. Bozell claimed that Aslan must have been distorting his academic credentials on the grounds that he couldn't have read so many books, even though reading and writing is essentially what academics do for a living. Bozell also questioned his faith, stating that he must be a bad Muslim to defend himself solely as a scholar. Apparently a Muslim must wear his religion on his sleeve to practice his faith.
Off-air, Dan Gainor, from the right-wing Media Research Center, wrote an op-ed for Fox News claiming that the media should question the motives of Muslims, citing Anwar Al-Awlaki as an example. Gainor also asserts that because Islam, not Aslan's academic background in theology, factors into his reliability on the subject of Jesus, Green was justified in asking the question. Nonetheless, he conveniently ignores the fact that the entire interview revolved around repeating the same topic: interrogating Aslan about a Muslim's intentions of writing a book about Jesus.
See the rotten interview below:
Green, Bozell, and Gainor all conveniently forot that Fox News has featured Bernard Lewis, Frank Gaffney, and Andrew McCarthy to overtly criticize Islam without asking them how a Christian can give an unbiased account of Islam. Additionally, they also ignore the fact that it's perfectly ordinary for Christians, particularly academics, to question the veracity of Biblical scripture. They may have heard of a man called Thomas Jefferson, who omitted all references to Jesus' divinity and instead extracted the moral teachings of Jesus in his very own Jefferson Bible.
As any good scholar should, Aslan does not allow religious bias to influence his research. As he mentioned in the interview, not only does Zealot contradict Christianity's assertion that Jesus was the son of God, it also contradicts Islam in that it asserts the crucifixion is an historical fact.
At any rate, Green's interview and Fox News's desperate defense of her behavior seems to have been a boon for Aslan. Zealot is currently Amazon's bestseller and is number two on the New York Times's non-fiction bestseller list.