CNN Belief Blog Attacks O'Reilly's Jesus Book 'Flubs,' But Came to Muslim Author Reza Aslan's Defense

CNN's routine marketing lie is that they're the centrist network that doesn't take sides. In July, CNN's Belief Blog promoted Muslim creative-writing professor Reza Aslan's book about Jesus. CNN contributor Stephen Prothero wrote a Fox News-"correcting" article titled "What Reza Aslan actually says about Jesus" and they published Aslan's own piece on "Why I Write About Jesus."

But when it came to Bill O'Reilly's book "Killing Jesus," CNN's Belief Blog posted an article titled "Five things Bill O’Reilly flubs in 'Killing Jesus'". Oh, yeah, CNN never takes sides. The author is a liberal author named Candida Moss, who has written a book attacking the "myth" that  the early Christians were persecuted by the Roman Empire. She mocked O'Reilly's grasp of facts: 

"The Holy Spirit may have inspired 'Killing Jesus,' but he didn’t fact-check it." She proclaimed it was a "flub" that O'Reilly can't decide whether Jesus was political (leftists say he was, that he was a leftist). The weirdest "flub" that Moss indentified was that the Christian apostle Paul wasn't a Christian:

According to O’Reilly, Paul was “a former Pharisee who became a convert to Christianity.” Paul was not a Christian; he was a Jew who moved from one branch of Judaism to another.

He never uses the word Christian. It seems that the early members of the Jesus movement referred to themselves as followers of “the Way.”

The word Christian wasn’t used until the end of the first century C.E. The first generation of Jesus' followers lived and died as Jews.

MRC’s Ken Shepherd pointed out that Acts of the Apostles (11:26) says of Barnabas and Paul: “And they conversed there in the church a whole year; and they taught a great multitude, so that at Antioch the disciples were first named Christians.” Many scholars believe this book was written before the end of the first century.


Moss's book "The Myth of Persecution" carries dust-cover blurbs from a laundry list of religious leftists, from Desmond Tutu to Sister Simone Campbell to Robin Meyers, author of "Why The Christian Right Is Wrong." At The Daily Beast,  Moss engaged in the expected Fox-bashing, since they don't understand Jesus was the First Socialist:

Jesus died because he was a rabble-rouser who disturbed the peace and challenged the authorities. Jesus didn't die for our W2s.

Even if Jesus's actions had been all about taxes, he died protesting a skeletal taxation system that privileged the rich....

There’s no mention of the free health care offered by Jesus and his followers or the insistence that the wealthy give away their possessions.

The single most consistent social teaching in the New Testament is that Christians must support the poor, widows, and orphans, but this hardly gets a mention in Killing Jesus.

According to Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, “the first rule of media bias is selection.” Perhaps O’Reilly was squeezed for space.

[HT: Nathan Roush]

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis