There is no doubt that the media is in a slump. Whether it be the botched Asiana Airlines pilot report, or the Pew Research poll that reveals only 28% of Americans believe journalists contribute to society, reporters have not been doing their best work as of late. And a recent Fox News interview conducted by the network’s Spirited Debate anchor Lauren Green has only contributed to this trend.
When interviewing religious scholar Dr. Reza Aslan about his new book, “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth,” Green repeatedly and insultingly questioned why Dr. Aslan, a Muslim, felt compelled to write a book about Jesus.
Her first question to the esteemed scholar was bluntly: “I want to be clear, so you’re a Muslim. Why did you write a book about the founder of Christianity?”
Dr. Aslan responded, evidently rattled: “To be clear, I am a scholar of religions with four degrees, including one in the New Testament and fluency in biblical Greek, who has been studying the origins of Christianity for two decades, who also just happens to be a Muslim. So it’s not that I’m just some Muslim writing about Jesus, I am an expert with a PHD in the history of religions.”
Aslan’s answer, although undoubtedly quite compelling, was not enough to convince Green of his motives, and she continued to question the root of his intrigue in Christianity throughout the interview.
Finally addressing the substance of the book, the anchor then cited one of Aslan’s critics, who, in an online op-ed article for FoxNews.com, claimed that the book is marred by falsities. The critic charges that these falsities are part of Islamic doctrine, and doctrine that he believes Aslan seeks to advance in his book rather than provide historical truth. In actuality, Aslan contradicts many Islamic teachings in his book, which, as an academic, he wrote with the intention of being historically factual.
Forced to continuously repeat himself throughout the remainder of the interview, Aslan insists that “this isn’t a Muslim opinion. This is an academic work of history, not about Christ or Christianity for that matter, it’s about a historical man who walked the Earth 2000 years ago in a land that the Romans called Palestine."
The interview's dialogue speaks for itself. It reveals the ignorance that too often pervades today's journalism and the pettiness with which the media is too often consumed. - Maggie O'Neill