Reza Aslan Comments On His Notorious Fox News Interview
Just a week ago, religious scholar and author Reza Aslan’s interview on Fox News became one of the most viewed videos being passed around the internet. His 10-minute interview on FoxNews.com with Lauren Green was meant to be about his new book Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, but Green repeatedly turned the course of the interview to why a Muslim like Aslan would write a book about the founder of Christianity. Failing to acknowledge Aslan’s scholastic credentials, a Master of Theological Studies degree from Harvard Divinity School and has been studying Jesus for 20 years, Green continually brings up Aslan’s potential bias as a Muslim writing about Jesus, at one point citing a quote from Taylor Cain that Aslan’s book is the same as a Democrat writing a book about why Reagan was a bad Republican, to which Aslan countered with,
Well, it would be like a democrat with a PhD on Reagan who has been studying his life and history for two decades writing a book about Reagan.
Appearing on “Piers Morgan”, Aslan admitted that he was embarrassed by the interview, speaking of the problems for a scholar to defend why he/she is qualified to speak on a subject,
“There’s nothing more distasteful than an academic having to like trot out his credentials. You really come off as a jerk when you do that. It was very hard not to keep mentioning that I’m actually qualified to write this book, so let’s talk about the book instead.”
And though he was embarrassed by the course of the interview, Aslan spoke with respect about his interviewer,
“I just want to say, I completely understand where Lauren Green is coming from. I kind of feel bad for her. The truth of the matter is that when you write about religion like I do, you’re writing about something that people take very seriously,” he explained. “A lot of people, whether it’s Muslims or Christians or Jews or what have you, feel sometimes that academics like myself are attacking their faith, attacking their very identity. But nothing can be further from the truth.”
Not surprisingly, Fox News has defended the interview, saying that this was merely a controversy brought up by the liberal media. Conservative media critic Brent Bozell appeared on Fox News to praise Green’s interview questions and claims that Aslan was misrepresenting his academic credentials.
Here’s a few questions to consider…
1. Is Fox News (or any major news outlet for that matter) being hypocritical by accusing someone else of being biased?
2. Would the same interview tactics have been taken if it were a Christian scholar writing a book about Mohammed?