Bozell Column: Fox vs. The Islam-Boosting 'Mainstream'
They may find it scandalous for someone to say so, but our secular liberal media are playing favorites with religion. They have a spoiled child, Islam. Journalists see Islam as a bullied, minority faith for brown people. Draw a cartoon of Mohammed with dynamite on his head, and you are the worst kind of trouble-making hater.
But write a book declaring that Jesus isn’t God? That’s not picking a fight or making trouble. That actually delights media elitists. They see America as too identified with Christian-nation “intolerance,” a bond that needs to be broken. Look no further than Lauren Green’s Foxnews.com interview with Muslim author Reza Aslan, who wrote a book titled “Zealot,” which wildly claims that Jesus wasn’t God, and (scriptural evidence be damned ) Jesus never said or thought that he was.
Green’s first question? “This is an interesting book. Now, I want to clarify: You are a Muslim, so why did you write a book about the founder of Christianity?”
That’s hardly a ridiculous question. It is actually the necessary first question. I have written a book charging that the liberal press stole the 2012 election. Were I to appear on CNN, would it not be correct to establish from the start that I am a conservative?
But liberals sniffed “bigotry” in Green’s open-ended question (which she asked several times and couldn’t get a straight answer). They sensed she was saying Aslan and Muslims should somehow be banned from writing about Christianity.
In responding to Green’s question, Aslan arrogantly lectured Green like she was a little girl, dismissing her question as impudent. He claimed “I am an expert with a Ph.D. in the history of religions...To be clear, I want to emphasize one more time, I am a historian, I am a Ph.D. in the history of religions.” That is emphatically false. The Ph.D was in sociology, something entirely different. He also has a Master of Arts in Fiction. That qualification seems more appropriate here.
In an interview on NPR’s “Weekend Edition,” Aslan had another “cringeworthy” moment that even NPR felt pressed to correct on its website: “Our guest incorrectly says the first Gospel, the Gospel of Mark, contains no statement of messianic identity from Jesus. In fact, in Mark 14:62, Jesus responds affirmatively when asked if he is the son of God.”
NPR didn’t say “inadvertently.” Not “mistakenly.” The word they chose – “incorrectly” – speaks volumes. Aslan was pushing a falsehood.
Reverse this media phenomenon: What if it were a Muslim who converted to Christianity claiming Mohammed wasn't a prophet? For starters, no one in today’s press would ever give him the time of day; or if they did, the first question would certainly be Lauren Green's question: Aren’t you biased?
The adjectives piled up to describe this interview filled a thesaurus of trash talk. MSNBC midday host Alex Wagner made a list of liberal blog babble: “It’s been called absolutely demented, cringeworthy, excruciating, breathtakingly incurious, a complete car crash, the most embarrassing interview Fox News has ever done.”
As she interviewed Aslan, Wagner boasted “Fox has revealed two biases; anti-Muslim and also anti-fact.” Fact-challenged Aslan announced his interview was a “jump the shark” moment marking the decline and fall of Fox News.
Soon, MSNBC will be number one?
A professor named Jeffrey Scholes exemplified perfectly the liberal superiority dance against “Christian privilege” on the blog Religion Dispatches. “Many of us want to see the scholar vs. the dilettante; the open-minded vs. the close-minded; the objective vs. the subjective; the facts vs. values.” These people actually believe liberalism is objective, and liberals deal in facts, unlike conservatives. He continued: “More to the point, the interview presents us with a real shot at projection: we finally get the chance to stick it to Fox News, especially as it shows itself to be less than ‘Fair and Balanced.’”
No one mocking Fox and Green gave them any credit for extending an interview to Aslan in the first place. And no one acknowledged the sad fact that Green is the only religion correspondent at a national TV news network. The boob-tube “news” crews don’t darken church doors and feel no need to have any expertise in any religion’s sacred texts or theology.
But Aslan can be hailed on every liberal outlet, with hosts shamelessly aiming to “juice” his book sales, as MSNBC’s Wagner put it. “Please do read the book,” she pleaded. In an interview on “The Daily Show,” substitute host John Oliver was over the top: “I loved this book,” he said in the first minute. At interview’s end, he repeated: “I absolutely love this book! You gotta get it....the fantastic Reza Aslan!”
This might be obvious, since mocking the divinity of Jesus Christ from Jon Stewart to “South Park” is the daily bread of Comedy Central. And mocking Mohammed is banned.